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
“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.