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More Than 10,000 Constituent Letters to Congress Push Back on EPA Roadblock to Rural Economies

Jul 21, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC – Members of Congress in key Midwestern states have received over 10,000 individual letters from constituents, according to the Biogenic CO2 Coalition, a working group of leading food and agriculture trade associations. The letters urge Members of Congress to press the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to revise a regulatory barrier to growth in the bioeconomy and rural economic revitalization.

The EPA is soon expected to request public comment on whether to continue to regulate CO2 emissions from agricultural crops on the same basis as fossil fuels. As outlined in a recent letter to Congress signed by more than 20 leading scientists, it is imperative that EPA act swiftly to adopt a rule that recognizes the de minimis character of biogenic carbon emissions from annual agricultural crops. 

“It’s clear this is an issue that has struck a chord in America’s heartland. With the rural economy in a terrible slump, this simple regulatory action deserves immediate attention.” said Thomas Parks, a spokesperson for the Biogenic CO2 Coalition.  “We hope that Members of Congress and this Administration will listen to the voices of the thousands of Americans who are asking for this problem to be addressed in order for U.S. businesses to compete fairly against foreign competitors and create jobs here at home. American farmers, processors, and manufacturers are poised to invest millions in new technology, rural development, and infrastructure. The time for action is now.” 

This display of public engagement comes at a time when political support for rulemaking to address the de minimis character of biogenic emissions from annual agricultural crops is mounting. In early July, Representatives Rodney Davis (R-IL), Collin Peterson (D-MN), Dave Loebsack (D-IA), and Roger Marshall (R-KS) sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging EPA to “expeditiously provide regulatory clarity” on the issue. Further, in late 2019, a group of 18 Senators from both parties sent a bipartisan letter to the EPA last year with a similar request for regulatory clarity. These letters echoed earlier calls by five Governors who wrote their own letter to the EPA urging action on this issue.