Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today urged South Dakotans to use the 30-day comment period to voice their opposition to efforts to reduce the renewable fuels standard (RFS). On April 26th, an official waiver request was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If the waiver request is granted, the RFS would be reduced by up to 50 percent for 2008.

"Renewable fuels opponents are trying to reduce the production of ethanol by encouraging the EPA to waive the renewable fuels standard," said Thune. "Ethanol has been misleadingly blamed as a major cause of increased food prices by anti-ethanol interests and nothing could be further from the truth.

"Renewable fuel production has benefited South Dakota in many ways. It has created thousands of jobs, revitalized small communities, and reduced our nation's dependence on foreign sources of oil."

In December 2007, Congress passed the bipartisan Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. This bill increased the RFS, which provides certainty in the marketplace by requiring a certain amount of renewable fuel to be used each year. In 2008, the RFS requires 9 billion gallons of renewable fuel, and 15 billion gallons by 2015. By 2022, the RFS requires an additional 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol, which can be produced from non-food sources such as switchgrass and wood chips.

According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, food prices have increased by 4.5 percent over the last 12 months, slightly above the rate of inflation. Even without increased biofuel production, food prices would still have increased by 4.25 percent, due in large part to the record price of oil and the increased global demand for meat. Additionally, economists at Iowa State University note that ethanol is keeping gas prices 30 to 40 cents per gallon lower than they would be without ethanol.

South Dakotans who wish to submit a comment to the EPA regarding the efforts to waive the RFS can use one of the following options:
 Visit and follow the online instructions;
 Fax: (202) 566-1741;
 Mail: Air and Radiation Docket
Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2008-0380
Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 6102T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460.

Written comments must be received on or before June 23, 2008.