FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2017
Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106
WASHINGTON – As American family farmers struggle amidst a global glut of grain supplies and a severely depressed U.S. farm economy, the Trump Administration has a significant opportunity to provide meaningful relief that benefits not only farmers, but also rural communities, consumers and the environment.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today submitted public comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), proposing regulatory changes that would promote use of higher blends of ethanol, like E30. Doing so would dig into the corn surplus, put rural America to work, improve motor vehicle engine efficiency, and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agency is reconsidering emissions standards for motor vehicles model year 2022-2025.
“At a time when rural America is facing a major financial crisis in the farm sector, the need to reduce the size of price depressing surplus of corn supplies through more aggressive retail use of higher blend ethanol is paramount,” said Johnson. “NFU strongly encourages EPA to make appropriate regulatory changes to support increased use of mid-level ethanol blends, which are high octane, low carbon fuels.”
Johnson’s comments come on the heels of a letter from NFU and 10 prominent biofuels advocacy groups to President Trump, urging him to ensure his administration follows through on his promises to ensure the success of American grown and produced biofuels, family farmers, and rural communities. The administration can start, NFU argues, by tearing down unnecessary roadblocks that hinder growth of the biofuels industry.
In his comments, Johnson suggests several regulatory changes, including streamlining the approval process for mid-level blends of ethanol to become certified fuels, adjusting fuel economy calculations, and reconsidering the arbitrary “Reid vapor pressure” requirement that restricts sales of mid-level blends of ethanol.
“EPA’s disincentives to move toward higher ethanol blends by favoring other technologies in its existing regulations and its regulatory restrictions on ethanol use limits these investments and benefits to farmers,” said Johnson. “EPA can address these impacts through changes to its regulations, including those currently under reconsideration.”
Johnson also urged the agency to institute incentives for manufacturers to produce vehicles that account for higher levels of ethanol use in gasoline, and to adjust their current modeling system to account for ethanol’s real-world benefits to air quality and the environment.
“As has been shown by numerous studies, ethanol provides significant air quality benefits, in addition to providing much needed jobs, creating stability in markets, and promoting investments in the rural economy,” said Johnson.
“EPA’s focus must be on fulfilling its mission to improve the environment and on fulfilling the administration’s promises to rural America,” he added. “They can do both by adopting a regulatory framework that supports higher blends of ethanol being used in our transportation system.”
To download an audio file of Roger Johnson’s quotes, visit our website at nfu.org/audio.
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.