Branstad fights for Renewable Fuels Standard in D.C. - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Branstad fights for Renewable Fuels Standard in D.C.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - Iowa's Governor plans to make his voice heard as the Environmental Protection Agency considers changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Branstad is one of 144 speakers who will testify Thursday at an EPA hearing in Washington.    

The EPA proposal would scale back the ethanol mandate by roughly three billion gallons in 2014.

Since Iowa is the number one producer of both corn and ethanol, Governor Terry Branstad said the move could cost more than 45,000 jobs nationally.

He said the ripple will stretch beyond farms and ethanol plants, to equipment manufacturers and main street businesses.

"I'm concerned that this would be devastating to what has been a robust economic recovery here in the strongest region of the United States," said Gov. Branstad.

The republican Branstad said the Renewable Fuels Standard added more value to corn.  Corn, Branstad said had been about $2.00 a bushel before.

As of Wednesday, the cash grain corn price was $4.27 a bushel.

During record drought conditions in 2012, the price of corn skyrocketed to $8.50.

American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Matt Erickson said, "From what we saw and why we saw $8.00 to $8.50 corn, it was due to the drought.  It was not due to the Renewable Fuels Standard.  It was because of the drought that we had this issue in corn prices."

Iowa has 41 ethanol plants and 13 bio-diesel plants.  Three cellulosic plants are still under construction, including one near Emmetsburg.

Governor Branstad claims big oil is behind the push to reduce the RFS.

"The oil companies tried to "bamboozle" the American public with MTBE as an alternative to ethanol before.  It poisoned the ground water.  They have a lot of money and they have a lot of resources and they've been able to fool a lot of people before. But, I don't think they should get by with fooling people again," said Branstad.

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