FARGO – The North Dakota Corn Growers (NDCGA) joined the National Corn Growers Association farmers and biofuel advocates from across the country Thursday, June 9th, at a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) field hearing on proposed 2017 renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). They urged the EPA to follow the law and make more ethanol available to consumers in next year’s fuel supply.
NDCGA Director Kevin Skunes testified at the EPA hearing on behalf of the North Dakota Corn Growers association. Skunes farms outside of Arthur, North Dakota with his wife Betty and two sons.
“I have seen first-hand the value that ethanol has brought to North Dakota corn producers. North Dakota raises around 3 million acres of corn annually, producing over 350 million bushels. Of this total, over 40% of that corn is ground for ethanol, yielding over 400 million gallons. Ethanol is the number one priority of the North Dakota Corn Growers.” said Skunes.
“By enacting sound public policy, ethanol will continue to meet consumer demand of a quality product at an affordable price. That’s why today we ask you to reconsider recent actions and be bold leaders in setting higher volume obligations. Doing so will also be a “win/win” for our nation overall, as has been the case in North Dakota.”
Chip Bowling, a farmer from Newburg, Maryland, and president of the National Corn Growers Association, highlighted the investment in fuel infrastructure over the past year in partnership with USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership.
“The EPA and this Administration made a pledge to the American people to become energy independent by developing American-based energy sources such as corn ethanol. Farmers responded by growing enough corn for all of our needs. Businesses responded by investing in production infrastructure across rural America. As a result of these government promises and private efforts, the U.S. is able to sustain a prosperous renewable fuels industry. Now it’s up to EPA to deliver on its promises,” said Bowling.
NCGA Chairman Martin Barbre, a farmer from Carmi, Illinois, noted that the RFS was a successful policy when EPA first began proposing changes in 2014.
“Until the EPA proposed changes to the renewable volume obligation for 2014, the RFS was doing exactly what it was intended to do: driving the adoption of domestic renewable alternatives to petroleum, supporting jobs across the country, ensuring the United States remains a global leader in developing renewable energy sources and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions here at home. The EPA’s proposal threatens these outcomes,” said Barbre.
Kevin Skunes, Arthur, ND, testifying at the EPA hearing (second from right).