The updated RFS rules and the impact to Ohio

On Friday, The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released 2015 EPA Renewable Fuel Standard  (RFS) rules that will determine the volume of Ohio biofuels blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

The RFS supports more than 38,000 direct and indirect jobs in Ohio. The looming EPA decision could be detrimental to the state’s economy and communities and adversely affect national security and eliminate consumer choice at the pump.

“Ultimately, the state’s agriculture and ethanol industries have delivered on what we have been tasked to do with the RFS,” said Mark Borer, President of The Ohio Ethanol Producers Association. “In Ohio alone there has been a billion dollars worth of capital investment to build the infrastructure to produce biofuels.”

The return on that investment is a whopping $7.6 billion a year in economic output in Ohio.

“That investment was with the understanding that Congress and the government were committed to growing and expanding the use of biofuels as the law was written,” Borer said. “The EPA now faces a big decision to set goals based on the law or to cut back on biofuels based on the arguments of the oil industry.”

Currently, 3,400 farmers in Ohio deliver over 200 million bushels of corn every year to the state’s seven ethanol plants.

“The positive impact of the RFS on my members can’t be understated,” said Tadd Nicholson, Executive Director of The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association. “In the past, those 200 million bushels of corn would have had to be shipped elsewhere outside of Ohio to have value added to it. So now with ethanol being produced right here in Ohio, the tax revenue and the value benefits stays within state and local levels. We will be watching EPA’s RFS decision very carefully and we hope they do the right thing to keep the biofuel production strong in Ohio.”

Biodiesel is also a part of the RFS and many Ohio soybean farmers are keeping a close eye on EPA’s move as well.

“Unlike ethanol, the biodiesel industry has already seen the impact of tinkering with the RFS,” said Bret Davis, a soybean farmer in Delaware County and a board member of The American Soybean Association. “As a result, a 2014 national survey of biodiesel producers found that half had idled their plants, 78% had reduced production compared with 2013 and 66% laid off workers or planned on laying off workers.”

According to the recent Bio Report, the policy instability and delays with the EPA rulemakings are responsible for the majority of the estimated $13.7 billion in shortfalls in necessary investments for the capacity to meet current RFS goals.

View the new proposed RFS rules.

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