Letter to the Editor

Defend RFS, protect our rural communities

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To the Editor:

As general manager of POET Biorefining -- Cloverdale, I see firsthand the significant impact the biofuels industry has on our state's agriculture community and our overall economy. Farming and agriculture has long been a part of life here in Indiana and a strong renewable fuels industry contributes to that tradition.

Indiana is home to 13 ethanol plants which produce 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol every year. Our state's ethanol industry has created 3,575 full-time jobs and has generated $3.4 billion of annual economic activity. The industry also increases household and farmer income by $257 million per year, according to a recent study by INFORMA Economics.

For the first time ever, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a reduction in the volume of renewable fuel that will be blended into the fuel supply in 2014.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created in 2007 to encourage renewable fuel development and stable, domestic energy supplies. Any movement away from this intent and our goal of energy independence will have a devastating impact on Indiana farmers and our rural economies.

Reducing the volume of renewable fuel raises the question if there will even be a market for advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol. Second-generation biofuels are right around the corner, but farmers will be forced to reset crop planting plans to avoid oversupply if there's not a strong grain ethanol market. Investors and farmers alike will be reluctant to put any additional capital toward these projects since cellulosic ethanol is closely tied to corn ethanol.

Oil companies are doing everything they can to retain as much of the market as they can. This EPA proposal would fundamentally change the intent of the RFS by putting the burden on the biofuels industry instead of the oil industry that controls 50 percent of convenience stores in this country.

It's time to put the days of relying on unstable sources of foreign oil behind us. We are nearing the end of a 60-day comment period that allows anyone to express their concern about this proposal directly to the EPA. Growth Energy has made it very easy and convenient for you to submit your comments.

Please visit GrowthEnergy.org today and follow their simple instructions to make your opposition heard loud and clear.

Submit your comments by Jan. 28 and join me in the fight to defend the RFS and protect our rural communities.

Dave Brooks

General Manager

POET Biorefining