Proposed RFS changes could be damaging to Nebraska’s economy
LINCOLN, Neb. – Today, Governor Pete Ricketts and Nebraska ethanol industry leaders commented on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed change that would slash billions of gallons of ethanol from the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
The proposed changes are scheduled for a hearing today in Kansas City, Kansas. Nebraska Energy Office Director David Bracht will testify on behalf of the State of Nebraska in opposition to the EPA’s proposed changes to the RFS.
“Corn ethanol adds jobs and economic growth, strengthens Nebraska’s corn markets, and creates a valuable co-product that enhances our cattle feeding sector,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “The EPA’s lack of commitment to the RFS is already driving potential investment away from our state. On a trade mission earlier this month, the CEO of a major biofuels company told me that his business previously had interest in expanding in the United States, but that the EPA’s recent proposal to reduce the RFS is a hurdle to future expansion plans.”
“When the RFS was established in 2005, Nebraska’s corn and biofuels sectors set themselves on a course of action,” said Nebraska Energy Office Director David Bracht. “They recognized the value this policy had in diversification of the U.S. domestic fuel supply, while providing economic benefits for healthy, sustainable rural communities. Our state has joined others in the Midwest and proved our ability to create a supply chain that has, and can, fulfill a consistently growing demand for ethanol. We’ve done it, and we can continue to do it, if given the chance.”
“Our corn farmers and ethanol processors have shown that through innovation and efficiency, they can continue to advance this home-grown fuel,” Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach said. “EPA’s proposal fails to recognize this fact and surely will stifle future investment and activity in this sector. In addition, it depresses a value-added market for our corn, hurting farmers and our rural economies.”
“Nebraska’s second-in-the-nation ranking for ethanol production means that it plays an important role in our state’s economy,” said Paul Kenney, Chair of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “The EPA’s proposal to dramatically reduce the amount of corn ethanol in the RFS would not only harm Nebraska’s 24 ethanol plants, but it would also be devastating to our state’s farmers who produce the feedstock for the plants and the cattle feeders who rely on the high-quality feed ethanol plants to provide for their cattle.”
“All the work and investment that Nebraska corn and livestock farmers have put into building the ethanol industry is at risk. We’ve already seen corn prices drift at or below the cost of production and cutting the use of corn for ethanol could drive prices even lower,” said Tim Scheer, a farmer from St. Paul, Nebraska, and Chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “This decision could also idle capacity and restrict access to the distillers grain market for the livestock sector.”
“Ethanol is a critical element for Nebraskans and Americans who wish to build a diverse energy portfolio and a cleaner future,” said Chief Executive Officer Todd Becker of Green Plains, the largest ethanol producer in Nebraska and the fourth largest producer in the country. “Ethanol companies have over $5 billion in capital invested just in Nebraska alone, and these investments have helped to create over 3,000 jobs in the state. By adhering to the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) in the RFS as they were established by Congress, the policy can continue to drive investment in the private sector as it was intended.”