American Farm Bureau on Thursday called on the Environmental Protection Agency to rethink its rule to reduce renewable fuels in the nation’s gasoline supply. Nebraska Farm Bureau President and AFBF Board Member Steve Nelson, Iowa Farm Bureau’s Charlie Norris and Illinois Farm Bureau’s Wayne Anderson called the rule to cut volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard groundless and harmful at a special field hearing in Kansas City, Kan. 

NCGA President Chip Bowling of Maryland and Chairman Martin Barbre joined the AFB representatives and scores of farmers and others on-hand to speak of the importance of domestic, renewable fuels to the nation. The EPA's proposal would cut nearly 4 billion gallons of ethanol from the RFS through 2016, representing nearly a billion and a half bushels in lost corn demand.

"We simply cannot afford—and will not tolerate—efforts to cut the demand for corn, and that's exactly what your proposal will do," Bowling told the EPA. "We cannot let this stand. We've done our part, and our allies in the ethanol industry have done their part. It's time the EPA sided with those of us supporting a domestic, renewable fuel that's better for the environment."

Nelson, a corn and soybean farmer, said, “EPA’s decision not to follow the intent of Congress when it developed the RFS in 2007 is highly disappointing to all of agriculture. This proposal is a step in the wrong direction and ignores the benefits ethanol and biofuels have provided Nebraska’s rural economy and the nation as a whole.”

Iowa’s Norris, who grows corn and soybeans, said “EPA’s rationale for this proposed rule is flawed. The renewable fuel standard has already met and surpassed all of its intended goals, and the EPA should continue to follow the volumes specified in the law.”

Anderson, a grain farmer in Geneseo, Ill., added “Congress took a bold step when our country recognized the need to rely more on domestically produced, environmentally friendly bio-based fuels. Ethanol and biofuels are fulfilling that promise,”

The AFB and NCGA have the same point of view. The RFS has reduced air pollution and our dependence on foreign oil while increasing farm incomes and creating jobs across rural America. This is a success story EPA should be promoting, not undercutting, for the good of the nation’s environment and economy.