INDIANAPOLIS — David Howell of Middletown joined other biofuels stakeholders in Washington, D.C., to testify at a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to cut by 10 percent the amount of corn ethanol required under the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard.

More than 30 farmers from across the country, including Howell who represented Indiana Corn Growers Association, explained how this proposal will affect corn prices, rural economies and their farms during the Dec. 5 hearing.

“The math is simple for us in Indiana,” said Howell, who farms with his family in Delaware County. “This proposed rule reduces our corn ethanol needs by 1.4 billion gallons next year. That’s how much ethanol our 13 plants produce in Indiana each year. To the folks at EPA, the Office of Management and Budget and the White House, they just wiped out the entire Indiana ethanol production.”

For 2014, the EPA has proposed a 1.4 billion gallon reduction in how much corn ethanol will be required under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the federal law that requires the blending of domestic, renewable, cleaner-burning corn ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply.

Because of the record crop, corn growers are already seeing corn prices fall below the cost of production and due to the planting cycle are having to buy inputs such as fertilizer, seed and fuel at much higher prices.

“To have the EPA and President Obama pull the rug out from under America’s farmers on the planned and accounted for renewable fuels market after farmers have produced a record crop, makes it difficult for farmers to adequately manage their financial risk,” Howell said.

This decision by EPA has the potential to have grave economic impacts for not only corn farmers, but also rural communities where ethanol plants have brought new jobs and economic growth.

As a proposed rule, EPA still has an opportunity to reverse its decision to significantly weaken the standard.

EPA is accepting public comments on its proposed rule through Jan. 28. To submit a comment or to learn more, visit www.ncga.com/RFS.