Midwestern governors: Hey now, the Renewable Fuel Standard is totally legit

No. No, it’s not.

In a joint letter to the president, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard argue in defense of the ethanol standard. The letter stresses the importance of ethanol as it diversifies America’s energy portfolio, gives consumers choices at the pump, supports economic development in rural communities and reduces harmful emissions across the nation.

Providing evidence of their claims, the governors point to an Iowa State University estimate that says “corn prices alone could drop 19 cents per bushel based on the proposed rule, which could bring corn prices below the cost of production for many farmers. The proposed EPA rule could also cause a ripple effect on agribusiness, our communities, and the entire economy.” …

“Specifically, we hope that you will encourage the EPA to increase the biodiesel volume to reflect current production levels, modify the cellulosic target to match production expectations, and reinstate the statutory conventional renewable fuel target since there is clearly no domestic supply shortage.” …

Yes, by all means, please do try to delude us all further about how the Renewable Fuel Standard somehow isn’t merely a shameless piece of corporate pork for the agribusiness lobby that mandates that energy companies integrate a politically-determined volume of ethanol into the fuel supply and hence forces consumers to purchase a product for which there would clearly be no free-market demand otherwise. Please continue to dismiss the fact that the RFS is actually a net detriment to the environment and that it negatively impacts the prices of food and gasoline, and subsequently that the EPA actually shouldn’t acknowledge this reality by finally relenting on the increased-volume requirements that would force refiners to blend a higher amount of ethanol into our gasoline than is safe for use in cars and trucks. Really, don’t let the obviousness of there being “no domestic supply shortage,” since the federal government is deliberately instigating an artificial incentive for more supply, stop you.

Five out of six of those aforementioned governors are Republicans, by the way. The ability to deride subsidies and federal intervention in the free market all day long, but then miraculously come up with reasons why just a few certain subsidies really are beneficial and worthwhile, is truly quite amazing.