A proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency could deal the ethanol industry a set-back.
The EPA proposal would reduce the requirement to blend ethanol with the nation’s fuel supply by three billion gallons next year.
Congressman Adrian Smith says the proposal would reduce choice at the gas pump.
“There could be some situations where consumers would opt for something else. They have the right to do that, but I’m most concerned about the EPA standing in the way of consumers exercising their choices at the pump,” Smith tells Nebraska Radio Network.
The EPA proposes to change the 2014 renewable-fuel standard. Under the proposal, the mandate for blending biofuels into the national fuel supply would range from 15 billion gallons to slightly more than 15 ½ billion gallons. If the current mandate is extended, 18 billion gallons of ethanol would be blended into the nation’s gas supply.
Smith says the nation needs to maintain a diverse energy portfolio. He also understands what ethanol production has meant to farmers.
“We haven’t seen a dollar-80 corn for quite some time now and, boy, am I glad. I don’t want to return to those days,” Smith says.
Smith points out the proposal has already caused volatility in the commodities market.
The EPA could finalize a rule by spring, after a public comment period.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]