EPA Proposal For Reducing Ethanol In Gasoline, Could Hurt Farmer - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

EPA Proposal For Reducing Ethanol In Gasoline, Could Hurt Farmers And Consumers

Posted: Updated:

There are many concerns about a new proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency that would reduce the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline. The EPA says there isn't enough infrastructure to support biofuels. 

Lawmakers are worried this will reduce demand for one of ethanol's main ingredient, corn. Government officials across the Midwest are upset saying if enacted, the EPA's proposal could jeopardize jobs and even raise gas prices. 

Lawmakers are speaking out trying to make sure the biofuel industry keeps growing instead of taking a step back. 

"We've got 41 ethanol plants. We've got a dozen bio-diesel plants," said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. "It's made a big difference for farm income. It's helped reduce our dependency on foreign oil and the EPA wants to reduce the renewable fuel center. That would be a disaster."

A new proposal by the EPA has already been opposed by several lawmakers.

Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos said ethanol lowers the cost of a gallon of gas and reducing that ethanol blend would mean paying more at the pump. 

"This is not acceptable," said Rep. Bustos. "First of all, ethanol is good for the environment. It's good for the economy. It's actually a growth industry when you look at biofuels and what more we want to do with biofuels."
     
She said family farmers would be hurt too. They rely on the ethanol industry to buy their crops and with less demand for corn, they'll lose out on revenue.

Rep. Bustos said there are three ethanol plants in her congressional district alone and they just broke ground on a new one. 

"This is a major economic driver for our area," said Rep. Bustos. "It's job creator. It's growing and when ag is your number one industry, we want to make sure that we're doing everything we can to keep that strong."

At the very least, she said the ethanol blend should be kept at its current level, which is a 10% ethanol mixed with 90% gasoline. 

Governor Branstad is holding a public hearing about the EPA's proposal next week in Des Moines. 

Representatives with the EPA said they are also open to hearing arguments about the ethanol proposal, asking for comments and concerns.