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Biofuel advocates rally for higher blends

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

The nation’s leading biofuel advocates spoke out on 9 June at an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) field hearing on proposed 2017 targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Surrounded by supporters from across the country, they urged the EPA to make more ethanol and other biofuels available to consumers in next year’s fuel mix.

“A strong RFS means more jobs here at home, greater energy security, and a cleaner environment,” said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. “The biofuels industry supports more than 852 000 American jobs and creates fuel we need to help our country become energy independent. It also stimulates investments in states like Nebraska, where we are on the forefront of research, development, and infrastructure for first and second generation biofuels.”

“Missouri is the proud home of six majority farmer-owned ethanol plants, providing a vital market for our crops and affordable fuel options to our consumers,” said Richard Fordyce, Missouri Director of Agriculture. “As a fourth generation farmer, I know how important these jobs are to our community. It is vital that the EPA aim higher to ensure the continued growth of America’s domestic energy supply, protect economic growth, and meet the environmental objectives of the RFS.”

“The EPA’s proposed targets would needlessly undermine America’s most successful clean energy program,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “At a minimum, we must hit the statutory levels set by Congress to slash US dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money at the pump. From any objective standpoint, the choice should be simple – more clean, American energy and less foreign oil.”

“Our call to action has never been more important,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Ethanol is an earth-friendly biofuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and displaces chemicals in gasoline that form potent carcinogens when burned. Most importantly, ethanol offers consumers affordable options and a choice at the gas pump. It’s vital that the EPA meet the statutory biofuel targets for America’s 2017 fuel mix.”

“Farmers, along with the ethanol industry and US Department of Agriculture, have invested millions in new ethanol pumps and fuel infrastructure so that drivers can access affordable, renewable fuel choices,” said Chip Bowling, President of the National Corn Growers Association. “Now it’s up to the EPA to deliver on its promises. We have the resources to meet all our needs, spur investment in rural communities, and create more high-tech jobs.”

“The ethanol market provides financial stability to our family farm and guarantees that we can pass on our traditions to future generations,” said Chris Soules, Iowa farmer. “American consumers are winners from this policy, too. Protecting choice at the pump means offering consumers a clean, homegrown, and less expensive product. Ethanol emits 40 - 90% less carbon emissions than the toxic additives it replaces in gasoline. I urge EPA to issue a final rule at statutory levels to keep this policy on track.”

“By protecting America’s domestic energy producers from manipulation, the RFS allows communities in the heartland to flourish,” said Annette Sweeney, Iowa farmer and former State Representative. “Thousands of family farms like mine are helping to provide consumers with clean, affordable options that saved drivers anywhere from US$0.50 to US$1.50 a gallon when prices last peaked. The time is right to move forward, not backward.”

“100% of the winners on our tournament trail use an ethanol blend in their tanks because they take pride in using the best equipment and the best fuel,” said Brian Sowers, co-host of Crappie Masters TV. “For many anglers, having better choices at the fuel pump is all about protecting lakes, rivers and other recreational waterways. Ethanol helps to reduce the pollutants that fossil fuels leave behind, preserving the environment and marine life for future generations to enjoy.”

Supporters who could not testify at the hearing are urged to submit comments to the EPA by 11 July, when regulators will start writing a final rule.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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