Iowa Governor Reynolds 'concerned' with proposed Renewable Fuel Standard changes

Four Midwestern governors sent a letter to the President Monday

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Moves by the Trump administration to alter the Renewable Fuel Standard “threaten the livelihood of tens of thousands of American farmers and workers,” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and three other Midwestern governors said Monday.

In a letter sent to President Donald Trump, Reynolds and three other Republican governors expressed their worries over action the administration could take to change the RFS, which regulates how much renewable fuel must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

“We write to you now, though, because we are concerned — concerned about where the EPA’s proposed implementation of RFS policy is heading, and concerned about what that will do to our renewable fuel producers, farmers and rural economy,” the governors wrote in the letter.

In addition to Reynolds, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaards all signed the letter.

Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed keeping the required amount of conventional biofuels, such as ethanol from corn, the same. The agency, however, proposed cutting the volumes for advanced biofuels, such as cellulosic ethanol.

Reuters and Bloomberg then reported last month the EPA would consider counting ethanol exports toward the required volume blends under the RFS.

In their letter, the governors argued such a move would dramatically reduce domestic production of ethanol and other biofuels.

“In effect, for every gallon exported there would be one less gallon used domestically. This is not the recipe for U.S. energy dominance,” the letter reads.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump stated support for the ethanol industry. He reiterated this support at a June rally in Cedar Rapids, saying the industry was “under siege.”

In Monday’s letter. the four governors said the EPA’s proposed changes went against Trump’s past commitments.

EPA “Administrator Scott Pruitt has been willing to engage us on issues that are important to our states. ... Recently, though, the EPA has taken unprecedented action and sent signals that it is moving towards a policy that diverges from your commitment to the RFS and rural America,” they wrote.

Pruitt is scheduled to meet with Iowa’s U.S. senators, Republicans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, Tuesday to discuss the RFS. He also will meet with U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska.

Last year, U.S.-based producers made more than 350 million barrels of ethanol, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Iowa was the top ethanol producing state with more than 91 million barrels made, followed by Nebraska. South Dakota ranked sixth for ethanol production and Missouri ranked 13th.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels estimates Iowa’s 43 ethanol plants produced 4.1 billion gallons of ethanol in 2016.

Read the full letter below.

l Comments: (319) 398-8366; matthew.patane@thegazette.com

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