Over 7,000 letters from Minnesota corn farmers and renewable fuels supporters were on their way to the Environmental Protection Agency offices in Washington D.C. last week in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
When EPA announced its proposal to slash the RFS and cut the amount of ethanol blended in gasoline by 1.4 billion gallons in 2014, the Minnesota Corn Growers Association encouraged farmers to make their voices heard and speak out against the proposal.
“The response has been outstanding. People are saying, ‘Don’t mess with the RFS,’” said MCGA President Ryan Buck, who farms in Goodhue, Minn. “It’s not just coming from corn farmers, either. Many non-farmers recognize how damaging this proposal is. People see this misguided proposal for what it is: an attempt by the oil industry to re-establish its monopoly on transportation fuels and increase profits on the backs of corn farmers and the rural economy.”
EPA accepted public comments on its proposal to cut the RFS until Jan. 28. If you weren’t able to submit a letter, you can still submit comments online by going to www.mncorn.org and clicking on the “Fight Back” banner on the homepage.
According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, if EPA’s proposal is implemented, up to 1,532 Minnesota jobs could be lost and the total economic impact made by ethanol in Minnesota would be reduced by $610 million per year. Ethanol production would fall by 110 million gallons annually and Minnesota corn used for ethanol would be reduced by 49 million bushels each year.
“We have many allies in this fight, including Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Congressmen Collin Peterson, Tim Walz and Rick Nolan,” Buck said. “Minnesota corn farmers appreciate their support on this issue, and their continued support of renewable fuels that help create jobs and build a sustainable rural economy.”
Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson has also traveled throughout the state to rally support for the RFS. Governor Mark Dayton submitted a letter to EPA as well, writing “our feedstock crops boost the entire state’s economic outlook, especially in once-struggling rural areas.”
Once the comment period closes, EPA will decide whether to implement the cuts, adjust the proposal or discard it entirely.
“EPA doesn’t understand the damage this proposal would do in our small towns. It’s up to us to tell them.” Buck said. “There is still time to make comments. We need to speak out.”
Ryan Buck is a corn and soybean farmer in Goodhue County and is president of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.