The National Corn Growers Association on Monday said a letter opposing the Renewable Fuel Standard signed by a group of Congress members has "Big Oil's fingerprints all over it," citing a Bloomberg report that suggested pieces of it were drafted by an oil industry lobbyist.
The letter, which was sent to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and dated Nov. 4, asks the EPA to reduce the amount of biofuels blended into the nation's fuel supply as mandated by the RFS.
EPA is due to release updated RFS volume requirements by Nov. 30. In a proposal released in May, EPA suggested 16.30 billion gallons of total renewable fuels for 2015; for 2016 that total moves up to 17.40 billion gallons.
While those totals don't meet levels originally set by Congress, they are higher than the 2014 levels proposed in late 2013.
NCGA First Vice President Wesley Spurlock said many of the Congress members who signed on to the letter are from corn-producing states.
"I'm disappointed to see Members of Congress turn their back on farmers and rural communities," Spurlock said. "The Renewable Fuel Standard has been one of the most successful energy policies ever.
"It has made the rural economy stronger. And it has been better for the environment. It's puzzling that these Representatives would not want to support it," he said.
NCGA also expressed concern about the letter's claims.
"The letter includes false attacks on ethanol that have been disproven time and again," he said. "We have known from the beginning that eventually we would need higher blends of ethanol to meet the statutory requirements. That was the point: to replace fossil fuels with renewables. The oil industry doesn't want to hear that."
Spurlock called ethanol the "backbone of the rural economy," and called on farmers and consumers who are in support of the RFS to contact their legislators.