In a recent op-ed published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson called for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stay the course and not scale back the volume targets for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The op-ed appeared on the heels of a letter to the Obama administration from the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition (GBC), a group representing two-thirds of the nation’s governors, pointing out that the EPA’s proposed volume cuts in the RFS would hurt jobs and increase U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
“The continued expansion of the biofuels industry is essential for our nation’s energy and economic future,” the governors said in the letter. “Through continued expansion of biofuels plants, it will be possible to deliver millions of gallons of clean, renewable fuel, create thousands of jobs, lower imported oil expenditures, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80 percent, compared to gasoline.”
Johnson, also arguing against the EPA’s proposed cuts, compared the RFS to a cornucopia, or horn of plenty, from which a seemingly endless abundance of fruits and other foods pour. “From time to time, legislation that was enacted for one reason has resulted in creating an abundance of benefits in a number of other areas,” said Johnson. “Such is the case with the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
In addition to leading this nation one step closer to energy independence, the RFS bestowed a number of side benefits onto the nation. Johnson pointed to the creation of a new domestic market for corn, the rise in prices for other commodities, as well as other economic and environmental consequences as major benefits of the RFS to not only rural America, but the entire nation.
“A recent Iowa State University study showed ethanol saved consumers an average of $1.09 per gallon in 2011,” said Johnson. “Consumers who used to watch their fuel expenditures literally going up in smoke out of their tailpipes could now invest this money in other areas of the economy.
“Biofuels are also much friendlier to the environment,” said Johnson. “A recent study found that corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent compared to gasoline.
“We have only just begun to see the benefits of the horn of plenty known as the RFS. America needs to stay the course.”