For 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the federal law that helps get domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning corn ethanol blended in the nation’s fuel supply. Cutting the RFS will slash the price of corn well below the cost of production. Farmers will then plant less corn, which in a bad crop year can cause significant harm to all users of corn. Every dime drop in the price of corn removes nearly $1.5 billion from the U.S. economy.


We are very proud of the response of our growers and allies to the EPA’s proposal earlier this year. Nearly 200,000 people responded to the EPA’s public comment opportunity to oppose the reduction proposal. Another effort we spearheaded had nearly 10,000 farmers calling the White House directly about this. We’ve never seen so much grassroots interest in a particular issue in the history of our organization.


Energy Security


The fact that gas prices rose so sharply recently due to the Iraq situation demonstrates clearly that we need to do more to move toward energy independence. Every gallon of higher-octane domestic, renewable ethanol produced means one less gallon of higher-cost gasoline we need to produce from foreign nonrenewable fossil fuels.


Environmental Benefits


The Renewable Fuel Standard is a principal driver of the reduction in emissions that is taking place with the use of biofuels. By 2022, for example, corn-based fuels (corn ethanol and stover cellulosic fuels) will offer a 60 percent reduction in carbon intensity – a total annual emissions savings of 90 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (GHG) equivalent compared to petroleum-based fuels. Under current blending requirements (2013), corn-based fuels already save 40 million metric tons in the United States.


Recommended Action: NCGA urges the EPA to withdraw its proposed reduction in the Renewable Fuel Standard, and Congress to oppose efforts to weaken or repeal the standard.