Eastern Iowa corn grower concerned about proposed cuts to ethano - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Eastern Iowa corn grower concerned about proposed cuts to ethanol in gas supply

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The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Friday a proposal to cut the amount of ethanol required to be blended into the nation's gas supply. This year, the E.P.A. required oil refiners to blend 16.55 billion gallons of renewable fuels into the nation's gas supply.

This is a part of standards set forth by Congress in 2007. Those standards updated the Renewable Fuel Standards setting a rough target for the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that had to be blended into the nation's gas supply each year. The Standard left the amount of ethanol and other biofuels increasing every year.

But the proposal announced on Friday would block an increase in 2014, instead cutting the requirement by a billion gallons to 15.2 billion gallons of biofuels in 2014. The proposal comes after recent gasoline consumption has been lower than what Congress had anticipated at this time.

With gasoline consumption less than expected, the law's original standards for next year would mean the total amount of ethanol required would exceed the amount that could be blended into conventional gasoline. This is a known as the "blend wall"

Matt Heitz is a corn farmer in Dubuque County. He says he gives his corn to an elevator, he believes that corn is then used for ethanol. He says the cuts could impact corn farmers.

"Farmers have made commitments. We have made long term decisions on the markets. So anytime the market heads south on us that makes things difficult." Heitz said.

Heitz says if the amount of ethanol is reduced he would have to direct his corn elsewhere.

"Eventually it all gets used. It's just a matter of the price and what it takes to sell the crop. If you have excess crop around it's just going to be cheaper." Heitz said.

He also says corn prices could go up as well, but we probably wouldn't notice a huge difference. He says the difference in corn prices would be felt by livestock producers who need corn to feed their cows, chicken and pigs.

This proposal is subject to a 60 day public comment period and could later be changed.

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