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Published January 27, 2014, 10:19 AM

Letters regarding RFS encouraged

More than once I’ve encouraged you to write to your representative and senator on any number of issues. Well, today I’ll be beating that drum again, only this time I’d like to encourage you to write to the Environmental Protection Agency to let them know your thoughts on the Renewable Fuels Standard.

By: Sue Dieter, Forum News Service

MORRIS, Minn. — More than once I’ve encouraged you to write to your representative and senator on any number of issues.

Well, today I’ll be beating that drum again, only this time I’d like to encourage you to write to the Environmental Protection Agency to let them know your thoughts on the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Minnesota’s Ag Commissioner was in Morris recently to deliver the same message. Dave Fredrickson was as affable as ever in delivering his request for 100,000 letters from Minnesota residents regarding the proposed rule on draft renewable volume obligation numbers for 2014.

Always the hometown boy, Fredrickson joked that the only letters he didn’t enjoy receiving when he was a state senator were the ones drafted late at night at the Murdock Liquor Store. He further joked that folks from the Herman area certainly should know how to write a good letter because his sister likely taught them how. Fredrickson’s sister, Deanna Kennedy, was a longtime teacher at Herman-Norcross.

But his point was not lost — letter writing is an easy, effective means of voicing your opinion.

I visited with Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s and Rep. Collin Peterson’s staffers following the meeting. Both commented that people seem intimidated by the idea of writing a letter. And both agreed that grammar and punctuation don’t matter, it’s the content of the letter, the stories of real people that they are concerned about. And yes, they both wholeheartedly agreed that letters from constituents are important. Very important.

With that in mind, let me share a copy of a form letter that you can send to the EPA. And let me echo Commissioner Fredrickson’s suggestion to flip the letter over and write just a couple sentences about how you would be impacted by the reduction in the RFS.

The deadline for comments is Jan. 28.

Dear EPA,

As a citizen concerned for agriculture and the economy of Minnesota, I urge you to please reconsider the proposed rule on draft renewable volume obligation (RVO) numbers for 2014.

This year, Minnesota corn and soybean farmers will harvest one of the largest crops in history. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has been a success story for our once-struggling rural economy. Because of the RFS, Minnesota’s 21 ethanol plants contribute $5 billion to the state economy and support 12,600 jobs.

Today the impact of the RFS has gone beyond the farm as main streets in our small towns are once again busy with small business activity. All of this has been possible because of a strong RFS.

If these drastic reductions to RVO’s are implemented, it would be devastating for farms and the many small businesses and community institutions that rely on a strong agricultural economy. We cannot afford to see prices fall below the cost of production and send the agricultural sector of the economy into a devastating recession.

Consumers are excited about seeing the homegrown and renewable choices they have been demanding. Reducing the RFS pulls the rug out from underneath all the work we have done toward advancing biofuels.

The RFS is working as it was intended. Now is not the time to impede those efforts.

I urge the EPA to continue supporting homegrown biofuels, consumer choice and a strong rural economy by keeping the RVO numbers as they were originally written in the RFS2.

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