Official Nebraska Government Website

Letter to the Editor – Renewable Fuels Standard

By Tim Scheer, St. Paul, Nebraska
Published in Omaha World Herald April 18, 2013

Once again, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is the subject of debate and attack in Washington, DC. In truth, the RFS is one of the most successful pieces of legislation in recent years, because it has done exactly what it was designed to do.

It is important to remember why the ethanol industry was established and supported by policy in the first place: to provide America with a domestic, renewable source of fuel that would reduce our dangerous and expensive addiction to imported oil. Over the years, a number of additional environmental, economic and energy security benefits of ethanol have emerged as well. Spurred by the RFS, ethanol has become an important and proven contributor to America’s transportation fuel supply, saving consumers billions of dollars at the pump and creating economic vitality across the nation.

Nebraska has leveraged its strength in corn and cattle to create economic success in ethanol. As the nation’s second largest ethanol producer, Nebraska has created more than 5,000 direct and indirect jobs in the industry. The average salary in an ethanol plant is more than $56,000—pretty good wages in a rural community.

Each year, Nebraska’s ethanol industry generates more than $30 million in local and state tax revenue, and more than $240 billion in household income has been created since the ethanol industry began. And the state’s livestock industry benefits greatly from the distillers grains feed that is a co-product of ethanol production.

Ethanol subsidies ended in 2011. No one receives a subsidy for ethanol—not farmers, not ethanol producers. On the other hand, the oil industry received $7 billion in tax breaks in 2012—and oil companies continue to put 68% of what you pay at the pump into their pockets. Drilling for more oil in the U.S. won’t change that; it will simply prolong our addiction to a petroleum-based fuel supply and the big oil companies behind it, instead of providing broader alternatives, greater choice and competitive prices for consumers.

The Renewable Fuels Standard helps ensure that consumers have clean-burning, American-made, renewable alternatives at the pump; that our air is healthier to breathe; that our rural communities become even more economically viable; and that our nation is more secure and successful.

We take pride in Nebraska with our homegrown industries of corn, cattle, and ethanol. They are the backbone of the state and we need to support their development.

Tim Scheer
St. Paul, Nebraska
Chairman, Nebraska Corn Board



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