October 15, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (October 15, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the recent recommendations made by a University of Tennessee study that calls for dismantling the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are “shortsighted and irresponsible,” and urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to simply implement the current law.

“The recommendations issued by this study are shortsided and irresponsible, and would only serve the interests of its financiers – Big Oil,” said Johnson. “EPA should stick with the targets provided in the current law that have already made measurable gains in climate change resiliency, energy independence, and the rejuvenation of rural economies across the United States.”

Johnson said that the study calls for striking the RFS and to start over with a new program focused exclusively on advanced biofuels.

“The study glosses over greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions achieved through corn ethanol production – reductions that continue to grow as climate-smart practices become more popular among producers,” said Johnson. “Its analysis of corn ethanol’s GHG advantages makes too many assumptions about land use changes and neglects to account for other factors like market shifts and conservation programs that may also affect producers’ land use decisions.”

Johnson also notes that the changes proposed by the study would likely further impair the growth of advanced biofuels, a new industry that has already experienced a $13.7 billion shortfall in investment due to uncertainty around the RFS.

“The proposed changes would communicate that Big Oil can maintain its monopolistic stranglehold on the transportation fuels industry, even in the face of a popular, bipartisan bill signed by President Bush,” said Johnson. “The study’s recommendation that a new, improved biofuels program should be erected in place of the RFS is extraordinarily naïve. Unfortunately, the petroleum industry interests who financed the study understand that passing any sort of reasonable policy in the current dysfunctional political climate is simply impossible,” he said.

“Under the present circumstances, the only path forward for GHG reductions in the transportation fuels sector is preserving the RFS in its current condition and convincing the EPA to simply implement the biofuels volume targets set by Congress in current law. What the biofuels industry needs more than anything else right now is policy certainty. The fact that EPA has introduced enormous uncertainty into this market is directly responsible for destroying billions of dollars of new investment in the industry at a critical time in its development.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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