November 30, 2015

Contact: Andrew Jerome, 202-314-3106

WASHINGTON (November 30, 2015) – National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson today sharply criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for issuing final volume targets today that were well below their statutory levels, further damaging investment in the renewable fuel sector and undermining the Obama administration’s efforts to combat climate change.

“The administration’s decision to issue RFS volume obligations below their statutory requirements exacerbates the serious damage already done to the renewable fuels industry and America’s family farmers,” said Johnson. “Clearly the administration has accepted Big Oil’s talking points and paved the way for a weaker RFS to the detriment of economic prosperity in rural America and the administration’s own climate change goals.”

Johnson noted that through their finalized target levels, the EPA has disregarded the intent of Congress clearly expressed in the RFS’ statute, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. He says the agency has apparently chosen to acknowledge Big Oil’s fictitious “blend wall,” as the reason to waive the volume targets set by Congress.

“Congress’ intent was to require the wealthy transportations fuels industry to adapt and make the infrastructure changes necessary to offer consumers lower-carbon biofuels, allowing the American public to help lower their own greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Johnson. “If EPA is going to allow Big Oil to dictate volume targets based on existing infrastructure, it clearly demonstrates the stranglehold Big Oil has on U.S. politics.”

Johnson noted that the administration missed a significant opportunity to advance its own efforts to mitigate climate change. As part of the RFS, renewable fuels such as corn ethanol reduce GHG emissions by 34 percent, and new types of biofuels curb GHG emissions by upwards of 80 and 90 percent.

“The RFS has helped family farmers and the nation make tangible steps toward mitigating climate change by making real reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” said Johnson. “By damaging the RFS, the administration is undermining its own climate change agenda in the midst of negotiations on an international climate change agreement.”

Johnson also noted the administration will have some serious work to do in order to overcome mistrust in future engagements with family farmers and rural America.

“Family farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of climate change and have much to offer efforts to mitigate climate change including significant reductions in GHG emissions and sequestering atmospheric carbon,” said Johnson. “However, after today’s decision, engaging farmers in conversations on future climate mitigation efforts will be much more difficult.”

National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.


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