(DES MOINES) – Thursday, Reps. Pat Grassley (New Hartford) and Lee Hein (Monticello) addressed the “Hearing in the Heartland: Supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard” in Des Moines. Grassley and Hein gave testimony in support of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and submitted their comments to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. Below are their comments:
Rep. Pat Grassley:
The benefits of a strong and secure RFS go beyond the rows and rows of Iowa cornfields. If the EPA is allowed to dismantle the current RFS, the entire Midwest will be left stunned. The devastation will reverberate through businesses — those on Main Street, big cities and everyone in between. It will be felt by the families who depend on the income of a job that will be eliminated. Those on fixed incomes who cannot afford even the slightest increase in their gas bill will suffer.
Of course, Iowa’s agriculture industry will be the hardest hit. These are the folks that have survived the Farm Crisis of the 80’s, constant fluctuation in the markets, disease, weather– this will be equally, if not more, devastating for them.
A bright spot in our state and nation’s economy – the ag sector – will be quickly extinguished.
This is just another item on a long list of doubts put in Iowa farmers’ minds by the federal government. Just like the failure to pass a farm bill, Iowa farmers have once again been let down by the federal government.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, “Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.8 billion gallons annual and 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.” Four of these refineries are in my House district.
Instead of creating instability for the agriculture community, the government should be looking for ways to strengthen our industry.
Rep. Lee Hein:
The RFS protects Iowa jobs and encourages growth right here in our state. Those employed by the agriculture industry are hardworking Iowa taxpayers who support our local businesses and give back to their communities. Without these employment opportunities in rural Iowa, many of our small towns will struggle to survive. Families will suffer and our state economy will surely be in disarray.
The RFS empowers consumers. Additional and lower-cost choices at the pump, the RFS increases the diversity in the nation’s energy portfolio. It also reduces transportation emissions and reduces our dependence on overseas oil.
Officials in Washington, D.C. and legislators in Des Moines constantly strive to find issues that can be supported by both political parties, by different industries and interest groups. The EPA’s decision to shred the RFS has cut through all barriers and united us all together as Iowans – to fight for what is best for the future of our state and the people in it.