SD Corn Growers welcome higher ethanol levels set by EPA

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Farm Forum

The South Dakota Corn Growers Association commends the Environmental Protection Agency for announcing it will boost the amount of ethanol that is blended with gasoline under federal regulations.

The EPA will require 19.28 billion gallons of total renewable fuel to be blended under the renewable volume obligation (RVO) in 2017. That includes 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol, a 200-million gallon increase from last May’s EPA proposal. The new amount is the same level that was set as a target in a 2007 U.S. energy law. The EPA did not follow the statutory limits in the past and a lawsuit is pending.

Ethanol is the No. 1 market for corn that’s grown in South Dakota. The state produces 1 billion gallons of ethanol annually and access to markets is the biggest issue that ethanol plants face.

“The EPA decisions is good news for the state’s ethanol plants and farmers,” said Lisa Richardson, executive director of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association. “This year the EPA is finally following the statutory limits set by Congress. We know the American farmer can grow what we need to feed and fuel this country.”

Richardson said the Renewable Fuel Standard has helped the economy in rural South Dakota and other farm states. It also has improved the nation’s energy independence.

As the EPA received intense pressure from the oil industry to lower ethanol requirements, agricultural organizations and farmers stood up and contacted the federal agency in large numbers.