IFB Director: EPA proposal 'half-way measure at best'

Dennis Green, a farmer from Lawrence County and Illinois Farm Bureau District 13 Director, testified during the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing on proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Here’s how the RFS affects his farm – in his own words.

"Our farm, started by my grandfather, includes our youngest son and his family. He, like many young people around the Midwest, is working to continue the family farm.

The Lincolnland Agri-Energy LLC, located 25 miles north of our farm in Crawford County, opened in 2005. Lincolnland was built to provide a new market for corn in the area, new jobs for the community, and to produce corn-based ethanol for fuel. At the time Lincolnland opened, its goal was to produce 40 million gallons of ethanol fuel.

Today, the plant is turning 21 million bushels of corn into 60 million gallons of ethanol. Lincolnland is close to producing 3 gallons of ethanol from a bushel of corn, continuing to improve the efficiency of the plant in converting corn to ethanol.

U.S. EPA’s excessive granting of small refinery exemptions (SREs) the last three years without a shifting of the waived gallons of ethanol has effectively reduced the gallons as established by RFS 2 to be blended each year. This is causing reductions in the prices ethanol plants can pay for corn, funds available for capital improvements in the ethanol plants, and, in some cases, the closing of ethanol plants.

It appears that the EPA is more concerned with small refineries than ethanol plants.

The proposal put forward by the EPA to shift the waived gallons is a half-way measure at best.

Instead of using the 15 billion gallon biofuel level as called for in the RFS 2, EPA is using a lower level from the Department of Energy, which may result in the lowest use of corn for ethanol production since the 2015-16 marketing year.

A simple solution would be shifting the waived bushels from the SREs (small refinery exemptions) to larger refineries, a gallon-to-gallon swap. I am not asking the EPA to go beyond the gallons that are in the RFS 2. I am only asking that the EPA meet the requirements.

I am told that ethanol is the cheapest and best way for fuel and auto manufacturers to meet clean air and mileage standardsIf that is true, why has this administration sought to reduce the use of ethanol?

Biofuels are a win-win for America, for farmers, for rural economies, for replacement of non-renewable fuels with renewable, and for cleaner air.

Do the right thing – comply with the law and fulfill the administrations promise to farmers and ethanol producers."

Editors note: Duncan is one of the Illinois Farm Bureau members who testified during last week’s RFS hearing. FarmWeekNow.com plans to feature additional testimony throughout this week. Read additional coverage here