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RFS Field Hearing Testimony from Dave Sovereign from Golden Grain Energy

Full testimony as it was given from Dave Sovereign from Golden Grain Energy during the RFS Field Hearing on June 25, 2015.

The Honorable Gina McCarthy                                                                                     Administrator                                                                                                                              U.S. Environmental Protection Agency                                                                                     1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW                                                                                          Washington, DC 20460

Re: Comments on Proposed Rule for The Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2014, 2015, and 2016 and Biomass-based Diesel Volume for 2017 

Dear Administrator McCarthy,

My name is Dave Sovereign and I am submitting these comments in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Standards for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

In my home community of Cresco, Iowa, I wear many hats. Most days I wear the hat of a farmer raising corn and soybeans for feed, fuel and fiber. Renewable fuels add value to the crops we raise and help create a local market.

Some days I wear the hat of a fuel retailer. After unsuccessful attempts at convincing three local existing fuel stations to offer homegrown renewable fuels, I partnered with 28 other Cresco, Iowa, area residents to apply for grant funding from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Board and the USDA REAP program to build a biofuel retail station. Together these grant dollars and the personal dollars contributed by the 29 owners were used to construct an unattended biofuel fueling station offering conventional fuels such as unleaded and E10 and also higher and midlevel ethanol blends of E15, E20, E30 and E85. Our station also offers biodiesel blends of B2, B5 and B10. It opened to the general public in September 2012.

Since opening we have observed only positive economic results for motorists and our community.  The past year’s sales data shows that 73% of our total gasoline sales volume have included ethanol blends such as E15, E20, E30 and E85 while sales of unleaded and E10 comprised 27% of our total volume of sales.

When consumers have a choice of fuels to purchase, there is no blend wall.

Some days I wear the hat of an ethanol producer, serving as a director on the boards of two locally-owned bio refineries. The local bio refineries and their products have brought quality jobs to rural communities, creating opportunities for families, and have revitalized community after community. Only time will tell us how many of the sons, daughters or grandchildren of these community members will be making large contributions to our society in the future. The Renewable Fuel Industry is a relatively young industry, yet it is a real and ongoing success story having already made significant positive contributions to our country's security, economy and savings to consumers.

Renewable Fuels play an important economic role in our rural communities. They create jobs, and most importantly, the dollars spent on gasoline blended with ethanol stay at home and work at home.

Every day I wear the hat of a husband, father, grandfather and community member striving to make our corner of the world a little bit better place to live and raise families. Midwestern youth seem to have a better perspective and outlook on life (and death) from their experiences tending and caring for livestock and crops. It would be hard to argue that our world wouldn’t be a better place if every kid was required to do a few daily chores.  Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug, recognized and credited with saving over a billion lives for his work developing wheat varieties, grew up and received his primary education in my hometown and community. Five U.S. Navy Admirals have their roots in our landlocked northeast Iowa community and have called Cresco, Iowa, home. We need strong rural economies and communities generating strong schools who can provide our youth with leadership skills and education. If we do, they will be poised and prepared to seize the opportunity to lead and be successful much like the individuals I mentioned above.

Lifes lessons and the values instilled and learned by our youth are some of the most significant contributions a rural community can make to a country.

The proposed standards for 2014, 2015 and 2016 fall woefully short in the promotion and the growth of our homegrown renewable fuels as a chief source of fuel for automobiles.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should not be restricting the use of a clean burning renewable fuel such as ethanol but rather should be working to promote its growth as a chief source of motor vehicle fuel for both the positive economic and environmental impacts on communities.                                                                                                                                                         I am opposed to the EPA’s proposed Standards for 2014, 2015 and 2016. We need a plan for growth—a plan with greater inclusion of renewable fuels in our fuel supply, such as the plan originally passed by Congress in the RFS2.

Dont mess with the RFS! It is the law; lets not waiver; lets enforce it!!!


Dave Sovereign                                                                                                                        President, Cresco Fast Stop                                                                                                        P.O. Box 182                                                                                                                                    Cresco, IA 52136                                                                                                                        563-419-0433

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