Renewable Fuels Proposal Leaves Iowa Ag Industry Wanting More

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

DES MOINES, Iowa --The EPA is out with its long-delayed renewable fuel standards.

Every year the EPA sets levels for the renewable fuel standard or RFS, determining how much ethanol must be mixed into the nation's gasoline.

For 2015, that number is $16.3 billion gallons. For next year, it will be $17.4 billion gallons.

However, those numbers dramatically less than the levels Congress called for in 2007.

The law states there should be $20.5 billion gallons of ethanol this year and $22.2 billion gallons next year.

Executive Director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Monte Shaw is disappointed the EPA didn’t follow the law.

“The proposal from the EPA today is still significantly under the levels that Congress laid out in the renewable fuels legislation," Shaw said. "We don't think there is any justification for EPA to lower those numbers, they don't have the legal basis to do it and they don't have the market basis to do it."

Shaw says the slow increase set by this proposal doesn't allow Iowa to grow and will hurt the state's economy.

“By flat-lining demand for renewable fuels what do Iowa farmers do, they produce more so we have a surplus of corn and commodities and that's led to prices falling," Shaw said. "We've seen land values fall 15 percent in the last year and farm income is projected to be down by a third this year compared to last year.”

The Iowa Biodiesel Board says the proposal is headed in the right direction and at least provides some certainty.

“This is positive news, it puts certainly into the market place. We've had a biodiesel industry that's been running at 50 percent capacity this year so now we're seeing that this is going to really ramp up production in the state, this is important for Iowa's economy,” said Executive Director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board Grand Kimberley.

Kimberley says from a bio diesel prospective this is still a positive first step providing modest growth every year, but he agrees there's also room for improvement.

“Directionally it is better, not everything we wanted but better in a positive way,” Kimberley said.

The proposal is now open for public comment for 60 days.

Iowa’s Agriculture Associations, the Governor's office and Secretary of State Bill Northey are all encouraging Iowans to make their voices heard on the issue.

The EPA expects to finalize the standards by November 30.