Federal Proposal Would Hurt Rural Economy and Urban Air Quality

A proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut renewable fuel production would depress the farm economy in rural Texas and increase air pollution from cars, according to Texas Corn Producers.

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Ultimately, the EPA’s proposal would depress rural Texas economies, while taking a momentous backward step away from the environmental advantages of clean-burning, American-produced fuel.

Lubbock, TX (PRWEB) November 25, 2013

A proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to cut renewable fuel production would depress the farm economy in rural Texas and increase air pollution from cars, according to Texas Corn Producers.

EPA has proposed cutting annual production of clean-burning fuels from renewable resources, including ethanol made from corn, from 18.15 billion gallons to 15.21 billion gallons per year, a 16 percent reduction that would have to be replaced by increased imports of oil from foreign countries.

The national standard for production of clean-burning renewable fuels was enacted in 2007 to reduce foreign oil imports and reduce air pollution from auto exhausts. It also had the effect of spurring American agricultural production and halting a long decline in rural communities across the nation.

“This reduction poses a tremendous risk to corn markets at a time when Texas farmers are beginning to plan for next year’s crops,” David Gibson, executive director for Texas Corn Producers, said. “Over the past 14 months, corn prices have fallen nearly 50 percent and this proposal threatens to further plunge prices below what it costs many farmers to grow corn.”

“Our national policies on agriculture, energy, foreign trade and environmental pollution are like complex machines with many moving parts. When you make a drastic change in one part, it throws all the other parts out of balance,” Gibson said. “If Texas farmers can’t make a profit from growing corn, they likely will switch to growing other crops like cotton or sorghum, increasing the supply and depressing the prices of those other commodities. It creates a downward spiral in income for American farmers while enriching the profits of foreign oil producers.”

The EPA has yet to announce the comment period for the proposed changes that have the potential to impact far more than just the corn industry.

“Farmers and a strong agricultural industry greatly impact rural communities’ economies,” Gibson said. “When farmers struggle to break even, they in turn bring in less money to the region’s economy. Ultimately, the EPA’s proposal would depress rural Texas economies, while taking a momentous backward step away from the environmental advantages of clean-burning, American-produced fuel,” Gibson said.


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