EPA Hears from Kansas Biofuels Supporters Again

Biofuels Supporters Tell EPA “Don’t Mess with the RFS” Again at KC Hearing

Kansas Corn Growers Association leaders joined ethanol supports from several states to tell EPA to follow the law in determining the 2017 renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS)  EPA held a field hearing about n Kansas City on Thursday.  EPA was urged to follow the law and make more ethanol available to consumers in next year’s fuel supply. A similar hearing was held in Kansas City last June on EPA’s RVO recommendations for 2014-2016.

Ken McCauley, KCGA board member and National Corn Growers Association past president told the EPA panel that it should simply follow the law and stop limiting market access for ethanol. KCGA board member Brian Baalman also testified on behalf of Western Plains Energy, a northwest Kansas ethanol plant. Wichita fuel retailer Cheryl Werth, and Lawrence fuel retailer Scott Zaremba were also among several Kansas biofuels supporters who testified.

“It is a fact that Kansas net farm income today is lower than it was in the mid-1980s when farms were going bankrupt. Farmers invested and helped build the ethanol industry to provide an additional market for corn, to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and yes, to help the environment. We would have a more robust market for ethanol and for corn today, if EPA would stop lowering the ethanol levels in the RFS law,” McCauley said.

East Kansas Agri Energy ethanol plant CEO Jeff Oestmann said EPA cannot hamper market access for conventional biofuels if it hopes to expand advanced biofuels.

“When it comes to domestic renewable fuels, we don’t need less. We need more. And that’s exactly what the RFS passed by Congress has outlined. Advanced biofuels are coming fast—but we cannot hamper this growth by reducing our nation’s commitment to the traditional ethanol industry that has created these opportunities for all of America,” Oestmann said.

Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, and president of the National Corn Growers Association, highlighted the investment in fuel infrastructure over the past year in partnership with USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership.

“NCGA and our state corn associations helped match [USDA] funds, making an overall investment totaling more than $200 million. These are real dollars going toward real investments to help provide consumers a more affordable and cleaner fuel option at the pump,” said Bowling. “The EPA and this Administration made a pledge to the American people to become energy independent by developing American-based energy sources such as corn ethanol. Farmers responded by growing enough corn for all of our needs. Businesses responded by investing in production infrastructure across rural America. As a result of these government promises and private efforts, the U.S. is able to sustain a prosperous renewable fuels industry. Now it’s up to EPA to deliver on its promises.”

Also testifying at the hearing were Nebraska Governor Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, Missouri Director of Agriculture Richard Fordyce, Crappie Masters TV co-host Brian Sowers, former Iowa State Rep. Annette Sweeney, and farmer-leaders from a dozen state corn grower associations. All told, more than 100 people testified in support of raising the volume of ethanol and other renewable fuels.