Public Hearing Has Iowans Traveling To Kansas City

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Tomorrow, the Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public hearing at the Jack Reardon center in Kansas City to gather public input on its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard numbers through 2016.

About 260 stakeholders intend to address EPA officials on two concurrent panels throughout the day.

EPA released its proposed RFS numbers in May, but many industry groups argued the amount of fuel EPA proposed for 2016 is too low, and does not honor the original Congressional intent of replacing gasoline with biofuels over time.

Northeast Iowa farmer and Iowa Corn Growers Association vice president Bob Hemesath estimates at least 60 Iowans will be in Kansas City to share their thoughts on how a lower RFS impacts farmers in every Iowa county.

Hemesath says, "If they don't follow the statute, a lot of these plants have built up in anticipation that they will have the statute will follow the initial numbers and they can increase their growth, or increase their capacity and grind more corn. But now we're kinda at a, not sure where we're going to go so they're kind of in Limbo as for what the future holds for them."

Iowa’s renewable fuel industry will also confront officials with actual production numbers from the Hawkeye state. Managing Director Lucy Norton with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says that EPA’s positions on summer prohibitions on E15 sales and on other products like biodiesel, don’t accurately reflect reality.

Norton says, "We sell and produce more biodiesel in this country than their levels are calling for and that in Iowa we've seen growth in production, we've seen growth in sales and that is the type of example that we can see across the country if allowed to blend more biodiesel."

The public hearing begins at 9:00 A.M., but Norton says Governor Branstad will keynote a rally one block away at Huron Park at 11:30 A.M.

EPA is still accepting public comments on the Renewable Fuel Standard on its website through July 27th.