State officials, agricultural leaders, and business executives warn that Nebraska’s economy could be harmed if the Environmental Protection Agency follows through with a proposal to lower the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).
General Manager Kyle Nixon of Novozymes says the company plans to expand its facility in Blair if demand for ethanol remains strong.
“The ethanol industry has proven that it can deliver. The technology is there and it is consistently developing. The RFS works,” Nixon tells supporters during a news conference held at the plant in Blaire, “We are asking our employees, our Blair residents, and everyone in the state of Nebraska and Iowa to have their voice heard in support of the RFS.”
Gov. Pete Ricketts tells the crowd the EPA proposal would cut back on the standard and harm the state economy.
Ricketts says the current Renewable Fuel Standard creates jobs and helps the environment.
“And it’s important for us to be able to take care of the environment by using ethanol. It also allows us to be less reliant on foreign oil,” according to Ricketts. “So, you can see this is an industry that really creates win-wins, not only for Nebraska and Iowa, and creates great jobs here in the Midwest, but it’s important for the entire country.”
Ricketts urges residents to protest the change as the Monday deadline for taking public comments fast approaches.
“What now the EPA is considering doing is pulling the rug out from underneath our ethanol industry, the companies that depend on the ethanol industry, and our farmers here in Nebraska by slashing billions of gallons from that renewable fuels standard,” Ricketts says.
The governor’s office released an economic analysis by Fuels America released this year that claims the RFS is driving $184 billion in economic activity and more than 850,000 jobs with $46 billion in wages across America.
The local impact for Nebraska is estimated at $11.1 billion and nearly 40,000 jobs. Likewise, the impact for Iowa is projected at $19.3 billion and 73,000 jobs.
The United States produces 14 billion gallons of biofuels a year.
Nebraska officials claim the EPA is reneging on its commitment to follow Congressional action in 2007 that revised the RFS.
Novozymes is a leader in the biofuels industry. Enzymes from its Blair plant allow agricultural products like corn starch and corn stover to be converted into conventional and advanced biofuels. Nixon says a cut back in the RFS could alter plans to expand the plant in Blair.
Those are the news conference urged the public to oppose the change in the RFS before the Monday deadline expires.
Click here for a link to post comments on the RFS.
AUDIO: News conference held at Novozymes on the Renewable Fuel Standard. [24 min.]