There is an important issue that isn't grabbing headlines, but it is critical to revitalizing rural communities, growing the economy, and creating jobs nevertheless. I am very concerned with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) recent decision to reduce the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirement for next year. It would be lowered by almost 3 billion gallons in 2014, to a level, in fact, that is below the legal requirement.
Why is this a concern? I fear it will undermine investor confidence in biofuels and, in turn, lower investment in the industry. It is my belief that the new RFS goals should be developed in a comprehensive way that continues to show strong support for biofuels and does not stifle investment.
As you know, the ethanol industry is a significant contributor to our state's economy. Missouri's corn and ethanol industries contributed a whopping $12 billion in economic value over the last decade, and more than $2 billion in local, state, and federal taxes during that same time period.
Ethanol plants provide good paying jobs in rural areas, as well as a dedicated market for feedstocks for hundreds of local farmers. In some rural areas, these plants are the best economic opportunity around.
I wanted to share with you that I am in discussions with policy makers about this issue, and have recently expressed my concerns directly to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. I have urged the revision of this proposal to make sure there is continued interest and investment in the renewable fuel industry. The RFS lowers the cost of fuel and it reduces the resources spent by our military.
If it is not revised, I believe we could see a major slowdown in investment in new plants and advanced biofuels, additional damage to our rural economies, and even more dependence on foreign oil.
I will keep you updated on my efforts in this area and all new developments.