Letter to the Editor: Time to give ethanol credit

I have been following coverage of the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to alter the renewable fuel standard with a reduction to the renewable volume obligation on corn-based ethanol, and as a grain and livestock producer I have a hard time understating why this decision has come about.
I have serious concerns about the impact this will have on the rural economy at a time when we have the lowest corn prices in a decade paired with a record grain surplus. This EPA-mandated reduction will have a devastating effect on the rural economy, and sends an inconsistent message to policy makers about ethanol and its long-standing viability as a clean burning, renewable fuel source produced by abundant American corn.

We have seen a resurgence of American petroleum production in recent years, but unlike the finite reserves of oil that exist today, we sustainably grow a new, and increasingly larger, crop of corn every year. And we do it right here in Virginia on farms like mine and the many others you see dotting the landscape.

Ethanol doesn’t just benefit farmers and fuel consumers at the pump. After the corn starch is milled and used for ethanol production, the remainder of the grain is returned to the market as distillers grains, a high-value animal feed. These distillers grains are providing great benefit to livestock producers and essentially recycling the grains for a second use.

We have seen in the news recently the impact that pipeline interruptions and other petroleum bottlenecks can have on fuel supply and price. Ethanol is a reliable, regionally produced fuel that can offset these challenges. We can’t afford to allow the EPA to undercut the value of ethanol in this country. It’s time we give ethanol the credit it deserves and continue to allow this home-grown, plentiful resource to fuel our cars and our economy.

 Bill Bushong, Woodstock