Several panels testified both for and against the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard. Robert Hutchison farms with his brothers, son, and nephew on their family farm in Cordova, Maryland.
In his testimony, Hutchison says while they aren’t directly involved the production of ethanol, he’s been a strong proponent of the fuel for the last 20 years. “To reduce the RFS by 1.4 billion gallons from conventional ethanol can change all the hard work and investments that farmers across the nation have done to develop an important economic driver for the rural community and for agriculture,” he says.
Nebraska corn farmer Curt Friessen said ethanol was never supposed to be the answer to America’s energy needs, but instead part diverse portfolio of renewable fuels made here in the United States. “Instead of retreating as the EPA proposes, America should be advancing towards a broader portfolio of domestic renewable energy and the fueling infrastructure to support this growth,” he says. “We must take a long view of our nation’s energy portfolio. We cannot be swayed by temporary market conditions or voodoo science of those whose market share is threatened by our growth.”
Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte called the RFS “unworkable” in his testimony. “The mandate drastically manipulates the corn marketplace and increases commodity and food prices across the supply chain,” he says. “Under the RFS the government is essentially telling a private industry that they must buy one product, ignoring other groups who also depend on that product; creating an artificial supply and demand.”
He says the RFS is the government disrupting the marketplace.
Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen says it’s his belief the RFS is working. “It is reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” he says. “It is stimulating development in new technology, it is lowering the consumer cost of gasoline, and it is the only program that we have that addresses global climate change.”
Dinneen says this proposal will force consumers to use more petroleum and giving them fewer options at the pump.