Des Moines hearing, Renewable Fuel Standard, Grassley statement PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 24 January 2014 11:13

Prepared for delivery at 3 p.m. Central Time  

Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley  

Hearing in the Heartland: Supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard  

January 23, 2014  

   

I’d like to thank Governor Branstad and all the state officeholders for co-hosting this event with me.  I’m happy to be here to facilitate the process of representative government.   

   

The proposal released by the Environmental Protection Agency in November is harmful to biofuel producers, to Iowa’s rural economy, our national security and our environment.   

   

Your voices in opposition to this proposal need to be heard.  

   

I’m glad to be here to join you in sending a strong and loud message to undo this irresponsible proposal.  

   

I’ve long been a staunch supporter of Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel industries.  I know the value that biofuels have brought to our state.   

   

Small rural communities all across the 99 counties have benefited from more than 50 ethanol and biodiesel facilities.   

   

Iowa leads the nation by producing more than 4 billion gallons of biofuels annually.  

   

This investment has improved the environment.  It’s improved the economic well-being of Iowans.  It’s improved our balance of trade and our national security.   

   

Iowa’s farmers have led the world in producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that consumers demand.  

   

In recent years, I’ve fought off efforts to undermine homegrown renewable energy by Big Oil and Big Food.  

Biofuel proponents have dispelled the myths and misinformation campaigns that have been launched to discredit ethanol and biodiesel.

And once again, you’re being called to respond to another attack. 

This one is aimed at the Renewable Fuel Standard and comes from President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency.

In 2005 and again in 2007, the federal government made a commitment to homegrown, renewable energy when Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

The Senate passed the greatly-expanded Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007 by a vote of 86-6.  It was signed into law by President Bush. 

In signing the bill, President Bush stated,

“We make a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding production of renewable fuels and giving future generations a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

President Bush was labeled by his political opponents as “an oil man from Texas.” 

In 2007, this “oil man from Texas” championed the RFS as a way to reduce our oil dependence, clean our air and increase our economic and national security.

Iowans responded to the federal government’s call for more renewable fuels.  Iowa produces nearly a third of the nation’s ethanol. 

The 12 biodiesel plants in Iowa produce more than 300 million gallons annually.  Billions of dollars have been invested in these facilities. 

Farmers have invested in higher-yielding, drought tolerant seeds. 

Enormous investments have been made in bringing the next generation of cellulosic biofuels to commercial production. 

Iowans have responded to the call for more homegrown, renewable energy.  But, the proposed rule released by the EPA undermines that commitment. 

This misguided proposal will cost jobs in Iowa and across the country. 

If allowed to take effect, it’ll increase our dependence on oil, and protect the stranglehold that Big Oil has on our country’s fuel supply. 

The proposal by the EPA doesn’t simply intend to pause the growth in renewable fuel; it actually proposes to roll it back. 

EPA seems to be making this decision based on the amount of biofuels that can be blended in our gasoline pool. 

The problem is, EPA has fallen for Big Oil’s argument that we’ve hit a blend wall.

The blend wall is a creation of the oil industry.

Congress knew in 2007 that ethanol would have to be blended above 10 percent to meet the mandate. 

The RFS was created by Congress to pull biofuels into to the market. 

It was created with the intention to transform our fuels market toward E85 or E30 or E15.  Limiting the RFS to levels that can be met with existing infrastructures eliminates the incentive to invest and develop the next generation of biofuels. 

The EPA proposal undermines the efforts toward advanced biofuels taking place right now in Emmetsburg and Nevada.

This proposal is a reward for Big Oil’s stubbornness.  The EPA has essentially decided to put oil producers in charge of the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

Just because the petroleum industry has stonewalled the infrastructure of higher blends doesn’t mean we should capitulate on the policy.   

It’s disappointing that a President who claimed to be a supporter of renewable energy has allowed his administration to take a step back in lessening our reliance on foreign sources of oil.   

I won’t stand for it. 

I’ve lobbied Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and the EPA Administrator personally.  I’ve lobbied President Obama’s staff. 

This week, I’ll lead a letter with Senator Durbin, along with nearly 30 other Senators, to EPA Administrator McCarthy that expresses our opposition to this proposal.

I encourage all of you to do the same and let your voice be heard with EPA. 

I hope President Obama will to step in and get personally involved.  He needs to realize that this proposal is a big win for Big Oil.   

It’s time for supporters of clean, homegrown, green energy and forward-thinking energy policy to rally and let the Obama administration know that its proposal is short-sighted and irresponsible.

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