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Opinion: Keep the renewable fuels standardTell North Platte what you think

I am concerned that the proposal to reduce the amount of renewable fuel we use under the Renewable Fuel Standard will raise gas prices and cut jobs.

Recent analyses have shown that cutting renewable fuel use will hand over $10 billion to the oil companies – that’s money out of my pocket.

Just over six years ago , President George W. Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA).

On its way to the President’s desk, the bill had passed the Senate on a vote of 86-6 and the House on a vote of 314-100. The centerpiece of EISA was a greatly expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The new RFS required rapid growth in the consumption of renewable fuels, culminating in 36 billion gallons in 2022. In addition, the law required renewable fuels to meet certain environmental performance thresholds and created specific categories for cellulosic and advanced biofuels.

In a signing ceremony at the Department of Energy, President Bush declared that, “Today, we make a major step with the Energy Independence and Security Act. We make a major step toward reducing our dependence on oil, confronting global climate change, expanding production of renewable fuels and giving future generations a nation that is stronger, cleaner and more secure.”

Just six years later, tremendous progress has been made toward achieving the original objectives of the expanded RFS.

Renewable fuel production and consumption have grown dramatically. Dependence on petroleum—particularly imports of refined products—is down significantly. Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector have fallen. The value of agricultural products is up appreciably. And communities across the country have benefited from the job creation, increased tax revenue and heightened household income that stem from the construction and operation of a bio-refinery.

Meanwhile, people all over the country are depending on the industry for their livelihoods. If this proposal (to relax RFS standards) goes through, American jobs are at risk and we will lose the chance to attract new companies and investment to the U.S.

It’s not just gas prices and jobs that have me worried. Oil is bad for the environment. Using more oil – and less clean renewable fuel – will increase pollution.

Mr. President, thank you for the support you have demonstrated for ethanol and the RFS. I respectfully ask that you stand up for everyday Americans tired of high gas prices. Help us keep access to cleaner, cheaper fuel that is good for our economy and our environment.

Dan McGuire is the co-chair of the American Corn Growers Institute for Public Policy. This letter was submitted during the time allowed for public comments about the prospect of relaxing the renewable fuels standard.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 1/28/2014
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