In the wake of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement to reduce the amount of corn-based ethanol gasoline manufacturers and retailers must sell in 2014, Illinois family farmers are stunned and left wondering how they will cover the costs for the crop they are harvesting right now.
“It is hard for me to understand why the EPA seeks to undermine the progress we’ve made toward energy independence and cheaper liquid fuel by reducing the Renewable Volume Obligations for corn-based ethanol,” said Illinois Corn Growers Association President and Esmond, IL family farmer Paul Taylor.
On the surface, this recommendation appears to be the administration catering to the oil industry. If farmers can supply corn to fuel a 13.8 billion gallon requirement of corn-based ethanol in 2013, following the worst drought this generation of farmers has ever seen, then farmers can supply corn for 14.4 billion gallons of ethanol in a record setting year with no problem.
The change in corn-based ethanol volumes just doesn’t make sense unless the Obama Administration is finally giving in to the whims of Big Oil.
According to Taylor, the signal this rulemaking sends to the domestic fuel industry is that America is not further investing in energy security or a domestic renewable fuel. He wonders how will we encourage automakers to continue building flex fuel vehicles that run on both gasoline and renewable fuels, giving Americans a choice at the pump, if the EPA doesn’t send a signal that moving to domestic, renewable fuel is a priority?
“Family farmers will surely be hurt by this announcement. Today, corn prices are already below the cost of production. This will cause corn prices to drop further, leaving family farmers losing money on every bushel of that record setting yield they harvest and having to borrow money to cover family living expenses.
But general Americans will lose as well. Ethanol is saving them money at the pump every single day, money that they can use to help cover household expenses during some rough economic times for our country. Where is the American ideal of investing in our own and keeping American dollars in America instead of sending them overseas?” Taylor said.