(Posted Fri. Nov 1st, 2013)
Nov. 1: This week, 169 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy urging her to use the agency’s authority to reduce the volumes of ethanol mandated in the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard. The National Corn Growers Association strongly disagrees with the letter, which uses outdated and incomplete information in making its case, to disparage corn ethanol with allegations of negative economic and ecological impacts.
“NCGA’s more than 40,000 members stand firmly in disagreement with the actions urged by the 169 House members who signed onto this letter,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “Furthermore, we strongly disagree with the claims upon which their argument is based. The Renewable Fuel Standard has not only achieved but often exceeded the economic, environmental and energy security goals outlined at its creation. Adjusting the volumes of corn ethanol in the 2014 RFS would negatively impact the economy and environment by depriving Americans of the domestic jobs generated by the industry and of the GHG reductions increased ethanol volumes produce. I urge the Administrator to act in the best interest of Americans by refusing to reduce the volume of ethanol in the 2014 RFS.”
For the full letter, click here.
While the letter specifically cites corn prices as an example of the economic harm caused by the RFS, this allegation proves untrue in light of current corn prices and does not take the variability of yields due to extreme weather conditions in 2011 and 2012. After peaking in the summer of 2012, corn prices have fallen dramatically and now sit near the same level as they did prior to the expansion of the RFS enacted in 2008. The most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture projections for the 2013 corn crop, issued September 12, indicate that America’s farmers will produce a record 13.8 billion bushels this year thus ensuring supply can meet the demands currently outlined in the RFS without negatively impacting other corn markets.
Additionally, the letter falsely alleges corn ethanol fails to meet the environmental goals as set out in the RFS. Global ethanol production and use is estimated to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 110 million metric tons, according to energy experts. This is the equivalent of taking more than 20 million vehicles off the road. In fact, in the last 30 years, corn production has improved on all measures of resource efficiency, by decreasing per bushel: land use by 30 percent, soil erosion by 67 percent, irrigation by 53 percent, energy use by 43 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by 36 percent.