Iowa Governor encourages comment to EPA to defend RFS

By Holly Jessen | November 20, 2013

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has jumped in the fray, defending the renewable fuels standard (RFS).

Just days after the U.S. EPA released its proposal for the 2014 renewable volume obligations, Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds went live with a new website, protecttherfs.com, where they are collecting comments in support of the RFS, which will be sent to the EPA. “Washington, D.C. bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the stranglehold of big oil, have issued a ruling hoping to slash the amount of renewable fuel in America’s energy portfolio,” the website says. “Not only will this terrible decision from the federal government increase America’s dependence on foreign oil, it will also hurt American families by decreasing the value of commodities, increasing prices at the pump, eliminating thousands of jobs and sink the cost of corn below the cost of production.” 

Visitors that sign the petition and leave a comment can choose to post their comments and initials on the website. Several pages of comments have already been posted and are viewable by clicking on “see what others are saying.” Those that have commented so far have not only been from Iowa, but also other states like Illinois and Nebraska.

On Nov. 15, the day the proposal came out, Branstad and Reynolds both vowed in a statement to join the fight in protecting the RFS. They called it a misguided and dumfounding decision by the EPA. “Why the Obama administration would side with the big oil companies over Iowa’s homegrown renewable fuels is baffling,” said Branstad. “The EPA has turned its back on rural America, and our economy and family farms will suffer as a result. Corn prices have already dropped to the cost of production, and this will likely further squeeze corn producers and negatively impact income growth in rural America. We have more than 50 ethanol and biodiesel plants in Iowa, and these EPA reductions would negatively impact thousands of Iowa jobs. This debate isn’t over. I will lock arms with our agricultural groups, our family farmers, leaders from both parties, and Iowans in fighting for Iowa’s homegrown, reliable, and safe renewable fuels. I encourage Iowans to officially comment to the EPA.”

Reynolds said the proposal undercuts progress made by the RFS to date. “This is the latest example of just how out of touch Washington, D.C. has become that big oil is rewarded for bad behavior,” she said.

Branstad also plans to attend an Iowa Renewable Fuels Association event set for Friday, Nov. 22 at Lincolnway Energy. It is organized to “Defend the RFS” and highlight the negative impacts of the proposal to reduce the RFS levels for 2014.

Also in attendance will be Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa; Lincolnway Energy CEO Erik Hakmiller; Absolute Energy CEO Rick Schwarck; Gary Haer, vice president of sales and marketing for Renewable Energy Group Inc.; Troy Wilson, DuPont Industrial biosciences regional business leader; Roger Zylstra, an Iowa Corn Growers president and Lynnville farmer; and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. 

Branstad and Reynolds’ support for biofuels isn’t new. On Oct. 14, they announced a new biofuels pilot program called “Fueling Our Future.” It will redirect federal and state funds to install more blender pumps around the state.