January 22, 2021

Contact: Hannah Packman, 303-819-8737
[email protected]

WASHINGTON – An alliance of farm, biofuels, and environmental organizations last night filed an amicus brief in objection to the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficiency Vehicle (SAFE) Rule on the grounds that it both fails to account for toxic pollution from aromatic-laden fuel as well as ignores the important role that ethanol can play in improving fuel efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Finalized last April by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the SAFE Rule reversed an Obama-era rule that called for a 5 percent improvement in vehicle efficiency. In its place, it established a much more meager 1.5 percent increase in efficiency each year for light-duty vehicles. In the notice of proposed rulemaking, EPA requested information on octane levels and how they could be increased in accordance with the Clean Air Act, but ultimately failed to address these concerns in the final rule.

The brief, which is being led by National Farmers Union (NFU), also includes support from the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, Montana Farmers Union, North Dakota Farmers Union, Siouxland Ethanol LLC, South Dakota Farmers Union, Urban Air Initiative, and Glacial Lakes Energy.

“As written, the SAFE Rule puts the interests of oil corporations ahead of those of the renewable fuel industry, the environment, or the public at large,” said NFU President Rob Larew. “Not only will it increase the overall emissions from the U.S. transportation industry, but it will also delay and disincentivize the development and adoption of renewable fuels and cleaner, more efficient vehicles – all of which will erode air quality, contribute to climate change, worsen health outcomes, and increase fuel costs for consumers.

In June, NFU joined a coalition of ethanol, agriculture, and public interest groups to dispute the rulemaking, filing a petition for review in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. However, in light of President Joe Biden’s recent executive order directing federal agencies to review the SAFE Rule, NFU voluntarily dismissed itself from the case. Instead, the group will redirect its resources to other pro-ethanol initiatives the incoming administration may be inclined to support. Although it is no longer a petitioner, NFU still stands in support of the remaining petitioners and shares their concerns, as is detailed in the brief.


About NFU
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.

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One Comment

  • My husband and I are small farmers in Michigan. We are appalled by the shutdown of the Keystone XL Pipeline and the effect it will have on farmers like us trying to make even a small profit which is constantly whittled away by the suddenly increasing fuel costs and will only get worse. Two wks ago our diesel fuel cost here was $1.41/gal; yesterday already it was $2.25/gal. It is not yet planting season. We don’t think the lawmakers in DC and America as a whole even consider that if the farmer cannot afford to produce their food, they will not eat. If they think the food shortages of the Covid pandemic was severe, wait until American farmers quit producing for the masses and just serve themselves. Perhaps the NFU could use its nationwide leverage to encourage American Farmers to contact their lawmakers and tell them just that, that we are standing with our now out-of-work brothers and sisters in the pipeline situation, shoulder to shoulder calling attention to the fact that if they don’t have their jobs producing our fuel, we as American Farmers will have no choice but to stop our tractors on large scale production and the Nation will go hungry. We MUST call attention to the grave mistake of shutting down the Keystone XL Pipeline with the consequence of raising our fuel prices to pay for foreign fuel, and therefore making it impossible for US to make a living. We have older Farm Equipment which can only use real diesel fuel. Ethanol does NOT work in the Winter, and takes such a tremendous amount of additives and parts it is prohibitive for us small farmers to use. If that is all there is, we are out of business! If the American Farmer dies, the world dies. We need that Pipeline as much as those now out of work employees and respective supporting businesses need it. Please do what you can to reverse the Executive Order to shut down the Keystone XL Pipeline. – Rick and Rose Hebden

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