The National Farmers Union (NFU) and the North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) have responded to comments made by U.S. Representative Kevin Cramer (R-ND) suggesting that the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) should be allowed to expire in 2022. The two farmer organizations noted that the #RFS has a positive impact on rural economies, especially those in Rep. Cramer’s home state of North Dakota. For several years, North Dakota saw a major oil fracking boon. Although the industry has peaked and since declined, fracking continues in the state.
NFU and NDFU send a letter to Rep. Cramer encouraging him to consider biofuels’ critical contribution to U.S. energy independence, national security, and the nation’s rural economies. The ethanol industry “adds more than $300 million annually to North Dakota’s economy and $42.4 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product,” the groups state in the letter. However, the groups note, in recent years the RFS has not been able to perform to its full potential due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) setting biofuel volumes lower than required by statue for several years in a row.
“In light of these setbacks, volume obligations beyond 2022 are even more important, since ethanol refiners will need to make up for lost time to overcome the unfair and monopolistic chokehold on consumer transportation fuels,” the organizations write in the letter.
With the recent downturn in the farm economy, the organizations say there were especially troubled by Rep. Cramer’s advice to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Allowing the RFS to expire fails to align with Mr. Trump’s previous acknowledgement of the benefits of fair access to markets for ethanol.
“From the farm to the gas pump, the RFS has created opportunities for farmers, local economies and consumers across the country. Unfortunately, undercutting volume obligations has created an unbalanced market, favoring branded oil companies over the American farmer and the rural consumer,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “I encourage Representative Cramer to support family farmers and rural communities and reconsider his position on allowing the RFS to expire.”