U.S. Representatives Henry Cuellar, Betsy Markey and Ben Ray Lujan sent a letter to Administrator Lisa Jackson urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider grain sorghum as an advanced biofuel under the supplemental rule of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) outlined in the 2008 Farm Bill.
While sorghum was not included in the RFS2 final rule, it is now being considered in the supplemental rule, which is vitally important to both grain sorghum producers and biorefineries. According to Cuellar and his colleagues, it will also create jobs and stimulate rural economies.
Dale Murden, National Sorghum Producers board member and past chairman from Monte Alto, Texas, said he is pleased NSP and members of Congress are eagerly pushing for sorghum’s place as an advanced biofuel in the supplemental rule of RFS2.
“I commend Congressman Cuellar’s efforts,” Murden said. “The letter strongly reflects the concerns of the sorghum industry and is on target with our efforts to ensure EPA is diligent in its deliberation of the final rule.”
Although NSP and members of Congress would like to see the supplemental rule as quick as possible, the letter stressed the importance for EPA to work attentively and openly on the rule with all affiliated parties, including producers, biorefineries and the sorghum industry in general.
“Cuellar’s request for EPA to be open and transparent during the process will help producers in his district continue to advance grain sorghum as a critical feedstock for ethanol production,” Murden said. “More so, this designation will enhance the marketability of sorghum, which has continually proved itself as an efficient, sustainable crop in South Texas.”
The wait for EPA’s determination of grain sorghum’s status as an advanced biofuel feedstock is highly anticipated.
Following the meeting request by Cuellar, NSP and the USDA were able to meet with EPA. The agency has agreed to work with the sorghum industry as incremental progress has been made toward the supplemental rule’s completion.