The biofuels industries are an important part of America's strategy to have diverse sources of energy. Making our nation less reliant on foreign energy producers is a significant benefit of this approach.
The Hawkeye State's biofuels producers have become a key part of the nation's long-term goal to be largely self-sufficient with respect to energy generation. These enterprises have also become a major contributor to Iowa's economy.
Consequently, the recent proposal by the federal Environmental Protection Agency to reduce renewable fuel volume obligations by adjusting the levels required in the Renewable Fuel Standard is a threat to the nation's future and quite immediately to Iowa's prosperity.
Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey have partnered with Sens. Charles Grassley and Tom Harkin and U.S. Reps. Tom Latham, Steve King, Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley to protest this potential change.
These officials have all signed a letter to President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for a hearing in Iowa regarding this ill-considered proposal. Their letter reads in part:
"As elected officials from a leading agricultural and biofuels state, we write to express our strong opposition to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposal to reduce renewable fuel volume obligations and weaken the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and we request further opportunities for citizens from rural America to inform your decisions. Biofuels have diversified America's energy portfolio, strengthened our national security by reducing reliance on foreign oil, reduced transportation fuel emissions, given consumers lower cost options, and energized rural America by increasing family farm incomes and creating high-skilled, rewarding careers."
The Messenger applauds this impressive display of bipartisan cooperation regarding an issue that should be of concern not only to all Iowans but to all Americans. The changes the EPA is advocating would be a mistake. Keeping the nation's energy-generation capabilities multifaceted is an approach that deserves the widest possible support.