House legislation would weaken Renewable Fuels Standard


The National Corn Growers Association and American Coalition for Ethanol today urged members of Congress to oppose legislation introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Jim Costa (D-CA) that would significantly weaken the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The bill, termed the “RFS Flexibility Act,” would reduce the corn-starch ethanol portion of the RFS by as much as 50% if corn supplies on an arbitrary date fall below a predetermined stocks-to-use ratio.

ACE Executive Vice President Brian Jennings said the bill would reverse significant gains made by the RFS and harm American consumers.

“The U.S. ethanol industry is an integral part of job creation and economic opportunity throughout rural America,” NCGA President Garry Niemeyer said.  “This legislation would put progress made by the ethanol industry in jeopardy and we are asking members of Congress to oppose its passage.”

The RFS came into effect in 2005 and was reauthorized and expanded with strong bipartisan support in 2007.  Since that time, the RFS has provided America an avenue to produce a home-grown renewable fuel that provides an alternative to foreign petroleum.  The RFS allowed for expansion of the America ethanol industry and created market certainty.

“The RFS is the single most effective policy enacted by Congress to increase supplies of domestic, affordable and clean biofuel and reduce foreign oil imports,” said Jennings.  “Not only would this legislation retreat back to when foreign oil comprised more than 60 percent of U.S. demand and increase fuel prices, it would once again require taxpayers to subsidize the production of cheap corn merely to benefit meat packers and grocery manufacturers.”

In today’s environment, the ethanol industry creates distillers grains, an important corn co-product used as a high protein animal feed.  In 2010, distillers grains produced by the ethanol industry displaced the need for 1.2 billion bushels of corn for the livestock industry.

“The ethanol industry is saving money for American consumers and producing jobs during a difficult financial time,” Niemeyer said.  “The American farmer continues to meet the growing demand for corn as food, feed, fuel and fiber even when facing difficult years.  We hope members of Congress will vote against a piece of legislation that will be a backwards step for our country’s fight for energy independence.”

“The RFS already provides the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ‘flexibility’ mechanisms to reduce the schedule.  If grocery manufacturers, meat packers, and integrated livestock conglomerates have legitimate evidence of inadequate corn supplies or extreme high prices they should prove it by making a credible case to EPA.  Absent that, this is nothing more than a politically-motivated attack on the farmers and small businesses that comprise the ethanol industry and who deliver a safe and affordable product to American motorists every day,” Jennings said.

Sources: NCGA & ACE