NFU statement on proposed RFS volume targets

Farm Forum

HURON, S.D. — South Dakota Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, does not support the May 18, 2016 announcement made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which proposes a 5 billion gallon cut to its 2014 Renewable Fuels Standard renewable volume obligations.

“By setting the 2017 renewable volume obligation at 18.8 billion gallons, the EPA falls below the statutory volume levels set by Congress,” Sombke explained. “There is a strong connection between reliable implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard and achievement of the Administration’s climate goals.”

A fourth-generation family farmer, Sombke understands the positive impact renewable fuels has had on South Dakota’s economy. “The ethanol industry has created jobs throughout our state’s rural communities and provides another, local market for corn,” Sombke said. “Not only that, but ethanol blends provide cleaner air than just gasoline alone.”

He adds.

“The May 18, 2016 decision threatens, not only the growth of the renewable fuels industry, but also energy independence,” Sombke said.

His response falls in line with National Farmers Union President, Roger Johnson, who released the following statement on behalf of the national organization yesterday.

“I’m deeply disappointed to see the EPA undermine the RFS once again by falling significantly short of the statute with their proposed volume obligations. This simply does not track with other admirable, important advances on climate this Administration has made.

“Farmers and ranchers understand the impacts that climate change has on our planet, our environmental resources, and our ability to feed a growing world population. The investments made in renewable fuels and advanced biofuels have helped bridge a divide between our current environmental impact and the climate goals set forth by the Administration – goals that we cannot meet without the participation of our family farmers and ranchers.

“The oil companies have had plenty of time to build out the distribution infrastructure to deliver more biofuels to the consumer and commercial markets that seek this environmentally-friendly energy source. They have simply refused to do so, and EPA’s negligence in adhering to the statutory levels has significantly undermined the plan laid out by Congress in 2007.

“Unfortunately, this action comes at a time when economic distress is increasing in farm country and this half-hearted proposal from EPA will add to that distress. It is time that the Administration stop placing the agenda of Big Oil above our own climate objectives.

“NFU urges the Administration to return the volume obligations to their statutory levels in the final rule.”

To learn more about South Dakota Farmers Union and how for more than a century the organization has served South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers, visit