Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to expand the production mandate for “advanced” ethanol that’s made from plant material rather than just corn kernels.
Governor Ricketts testified in Washington, D.C., Tuesday at a public hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard. He thanked the EPA for its on-time release of the 2018 production mandates.
“One of the things we’ve seen in the past is by not meeting the timely schedules for releasing the volumes, we create uncertainty and so businesses don’t invest,” Ricketts says. “When you create certainty, businesses will invest and this biofuels industry has demonstrated, when you set the targets high, the industry will make those targets.”
Ricketts is urging the EPA to adjust its recommendation for mandatory production of biodiesel, which was slightly reduced by the Trump Administration last month.
“So, by going backwards, I think it does send a bad sign that says we’re not going to have the market there,” Ricketts says. “But if you kept those things high, the industry would invest and figure out ways to meet those goals.”
The first ethanol plant opened in Nebraska in 1985. According to the Nebraska Ethanol Board, there are 25 ethanol plants in the state which produce a total of more than two-billion gallons each year. Nebraska is the nation’s number-two ethanol producer, behind only Iowa.
Ricketts says it’s vital that the EPA continue releasing its production mandates in a timely manner.
“Since 2005 when this policy went into place, we have been able to increase our corn yields, we’ve been able to increase the corn surplus, and we’ve met the goals with regard to ethanol production,” Ricketts says. “All of that is because we had the certainty on how to reach those goals, the industry invested and made it happen.”
Ricketts spoke by phone with reporters on a conference call organized by Fuels America, a coalition representing the biofuels industry. Hear Ricketts’ full statement below.