Local corn growers and ethanol producers are firing back at the EPA over lower-than-expected bio-fuel requirements.
In May, the EPA proposed new targets for its Renewable Fuel Standard, which determines how much ethanol needs to be blended into gasoline. The recommendation calls for more ethanol, but falls far short of the amount mandated by Congress.
On Monday, June 8, 2015, Rep. Cheri Bustos visited Big River Resources ethanol plant in Galva, Illinois, calling for higher blend levels.
"This is not at all said and done. I do consider this a gut punch... We know that it's not acceptable, and we have a big fight on our hands," said Bustos. "We've got to give our family farmers certainty. We have to give the ethanol and bio-fuels industry some certainty. We don't want to take a step back."
Nearly 60 people work at Big River's Galva plant. President Ray Defenbaugh says any ruling that decreases demand for ethanol could affect those jobs.
"If you have to cut back or shut down, those are jobs that are lost. Those are young people or other people that stay in the community that will have to look elsewhere for jobs. It'll be destructive, disruptive to our community," said Defenbaugh.
Citizens and members of Congress are now invited to comment on the EPA's proposal.
A final ruling is expected at the end of November.