Nebraska corn farmers now have an opportunity to share their opinions with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on two issues impacting agricultural policy and regulation. Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of the open comment period to show their support of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and call for the repeal of the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule.
The 2015 WOTUS rule has been widely criticized for unconstitutionally overextending the reach of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Through this regulation, critics say the government has too much power to control smaller bodies of water, such as puddles on farmland and in ditches.
“As farmers, we must align together to repeal the 2015 WOTUS rule,” said Dan Wesley, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association. “Many of us have small puddles on our farms that we only see after a heavy rain, which are unnecessarily regulated. The WOTUS regulations make it difficult and expensive to farm our lands by requiring unnecessary permits and environmental assessments.”
The RFS has promoted economic growth for farmers and rural communities through the development and enhancement of biofuels, such as corn-based ethanol. The amount of renewable fuels blended into the U.S. fuel supply is set by the RFS. In addition to making strides towards energy independence, the RFS has been successful in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the RFS also establishes GHG reduction criteria.
The EPA is responsible for ensuring the fuel sold in the U.S. contains the correct volume of renewable fuel. Each year on November 30, the EPA sets the annual renewable volume obligation (RVO) for the following year. For the 2017 year, the RVO was calculated at 15 billion gallons for conventional ethanol, which is in line with RFS statute and Congress’ intent.
“We’ve made great progress with corn-based ethanol,” said David Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “Ethanol is produced more efficiently than ever, it’s high performing and is cleaner burning than ever before. EPA must maintain the progress of the RFS and issue the 2018 RVO on time and in accordance with the law.”
By going online and visiting the webpages of the Nebraska Corn Board or the Nebraska Corn Growers Association, farmers have an opportunity to take advantage of the open comment period to voice their opinions on WOTUS and the RFS. Comments regarding the repeal of the 2015 WOTUS rule are due August 28, 2017 and input on the RFS and RVO is due August 31, 2017. Visit the Nebraska Corn Board at nebraskacorn.gov or the Nebraska Corn Growers Association at necga.org.