Iowans were pleased to hear from Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and Governor Terry Branstad during the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit. The two focused their remarks on one very important policy for Iowa: the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The legislation is under attack by Big Oil and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a step back for the country when they released their proposed 2014 renewable fuel volumes for the RFS.
Reynolds noted that Midwesterners are passionate about the RFS. “From our farm fields to our Main Streets to our Legislative Chambers, Iowans understand how important it is to maintain a strong RFS,” said said.
There are tremendous benefits that currently flow from the RFS explained Reynolds, including: diversifying our nation’s energy portfolio and reducing our reliance on overseas oil; giving consumers lower cost choices at the fuel pump; and, raising family incomes and driving growth in rural America.
“We need to let people know that the ethanol industry supports more than 38,000 jobs and the biodiesel industry supports 62,000 jobs. We need to let people know that this one proposed rule by the EPA would directly jeopardize an estimated 37,400 ethanol jobs and 7,500 biodiesel industry jobs,” said Reynolds.
She stressed that the 2014 RFS proposal would place an unnecessary hardship on families throughout Iowa and throughout rural America. That one purposed rule would place an unnecessary hardship on families throughout rural America.
Listen to Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds remarks: Kim Reynolds Remarks
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad continued the call to continue the course of the RFS. He noted that in 2012, during the drought, corn prices were $8 a bushel, but now they are actually close to $4 a bushel. “The EPA’s proposed rule would result in corn prices below the cost of production and a reduction in agriculture land values. In addition, the misguided proposal would hurt farm equipment dealers, manufacturers and would cause significant loss of jobs throughout rural America.” Branstad was Governor of Iowa during the Farm Crisis of the 1980s and said he will never, ever, forget the challenges endured during those times. He stressed that the last thing that we ever want to see again in our nation is another Farm Crisis.
He also noted that critics claim that the RFS has driven more acres into production and increased fertilizer demand, but the truth is quite the contrary. Fertilizer use has significantly declined in recent decades thanks to improved technology and precision in farming, and total cropland planted to corn in the US in the 1930’s was 103 million acres and in 2013 it was 97 million acres.
Another bright spot in Iowa, said Branstad was retailers support of biofuels as well. Many retailers offer biodiesel as well as have blender pumps that can sell E15, E30 and E85. “In some cases in Iowa, E85 can be anywhere from fifty cents to a dollar cheaper per gallon than regular gasoline. When consumers have the choice, like they do in Iowa, they choose ethanol and other biofuels. The oil companies are preventing fuel choice in other parts of the country and consumers lose, paying much more for fuel.”
Ultimately the Governor believes that the EPA will make the right decision and increase the renewable fuel volumes for 2014.
Listen to Iowa Governor Terry Branstad remarks: Terry Branstad Remarks