Ethanol Rules Hurt California Dairies

WUD: EPA Ethanol Mandate Impacting
California Dairy Families

“If you eat, if you utilize any type of motorized transportation, if you care about the environment, the renewable fuel standard that utilizes corn-based ethanol is contrary to your interests.”

That was the message delivered first-hand Wednesday to USEPA Administrator Gina McCarthy by Western United Dairymen CEO Michael Marsh. Marsh was part of a small group discussion with Administrator McCarthy sponsored by the CDFA and the Fresno County Farm Bureau at the Efird Ranch in Fresno County. McCarthy was spending time in the valley getting a feel for the breadth of California agriculture.

The agency last week lowered the amount of corn-based ethanol that must be blended into U.S. fuel supplies from 16.55 billion gallons in 2013 to 15.21 billion gallons in 2014. Marsh applauded that decision but indicated that using food for fuel was folly and that the man-date must be repealed. “Our dairymen are just one Midwestern drought away from an-other economic calamity so long as the mandate remains,” related Marsh.

Administrator McCarthy responded that she was keenly aware of the challenges faced by livestock producers as a result of the mandate. She also expressed disappointment that other types of ethanol technologies utilizing waste products had been slow to evolve. She indicated the Agency would be looking to find additional incentives to stimulate more in-vestment in things such as cellulosic ethanol that would not be so harmful to California dairy operations.

WUD is supportive of a bill that Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) plan to introduce which would strip the conventional ethanol portion of the renew-able fuel standard while keeping the standard’s targets for advanced biofuels intact. In the house, WUD is supporting HR 1462, the Renewable Fuel Standard reform Act of 2013.

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