IFB launches action request on EPA vehicle emissions proposal



Illinois Farm Bureau issued an action request Thursday, calling on FB Act members to explain to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the severely negative economic impacts that proposed stricter vehicle emission limits would have on rural communities and American farmers.  

Proposed in April, the EPA rule would mandate up to two-thirds of new 2027 through 2032 U.S. model years of light- and medium-duty vehicles, such as passenger cars, trucks and SUVS, be electric by 2032. Half of heavy-duty vehicles sold would need to be "zero emission."

It represents the strictest limits ever proposed by EPA and largely serves as a defacto electric vehicle mandate, one that would lower gasoline usage by 32 billion gallons and translate to a loss of 1 billion bushels of corn per year by 2032.

"We believe when we see the language in this proposal that the Biden administration is really making its position clear on renewable fuels," Lauren Lurkins, IFB director of environmental policy, told RFD's Profit Watch. 

"This (issue) is a very important one because it's taking away that consumer choice and really limiting the role of renewable fuels in the foreseeable future," Lurkins said, adding that Illinois commodity groups are also concerned about the regulations.

If finalized, the proposed tailpipe emissions standards would effectively incentivize and force the auto industry to prioritize further development of electric vehicle battery technology over liquid fuel advancements, like corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel.

While renewable liquid fuels support Illinois, Iowa and the other Corn Belt states that together grow 11 million acres of corn each year, the production systems behind electric vehicles are lacking nationwide as the United States has a single lithium mine.

That lack of domestic production, therefore, enables foreign countries — many are hostile to the United States — with supplies of minerals needed for battery production. 

EPA's emissions proposal further ignores the low-carbon aspect of biofuels like high-blend ethanol and biodiesel, and disincentivizes the auto industry from further developing vehicle technologies that reduce emissions and decarbonize transportation fuels. 

And in forcing the industry's hand away from vehicles powered by internal combustion engines, Lurkins said, EPA is forcing the hand of consumers toward vehicles powered by electric batteries and inhibiting the marketplace from identifying the most efficient, lowest cost method to lower vehicle emissions.

The proposed emissions regulations also fail to recognize the disproportionate gap in electric vehicle infrastructure in rural communities, where access to charging stations is limited.

The forced shift in demand away from liquid fuel vehicles could also above all lead to a major decline in demand for corn and soybeans, causing negative impacts to healthy grain markets, which Illinois farmers rely on to keep their operations profitable.

A link to the action request can be found at https://p2a.co/M1MPKHm. Members can also text "EV" to 52886 to join the request. The request will be live until July 5, when a comment period on the proposed rules closes.


Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.