Groups like the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) are demanding the White House roll back the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The tactics — threating to kill jobs or raise energy prices — are the same we’ve seen deployed against the administration’s Clean Energy Standard, similar to Ohio’s long-standing alternative energy portfolio standard. But history has shown that policies like the RFS have actually saved drivers about 22 cents per gallon, while slashing carbon emissions by 544 million metric tons — hardly a surprise, given that renewable fuels made from local crops are replacing expensive fossil fuel imports. That’s a path we can and should follow with performance-based standards to clean up the entire economy, harnessing clean electricity, carbon capture, efficiency and the full range of other solutions.
Equally important, boosting competition with a wide portfolio of clean energy sources means that we’re creating green jobs — not just in places like California, but across all 50 states. The truth is that every region of America is blessed with different renewable resources. With smart policies, we can harness that energy to create a new generation of opportunities for America’s blue-collar workers, underserved communities, and farmers alike. It’s a vision that Pres. Biden should not hesitate to discuss the next time he visits Ohio, especially in rural areas where farmers are ready to take advantage of new opportunities in a low-carbon economy.
So far, the White House has been largely silent about AFPM’s attacks, which has fueled rumors that the administration could back off on its commitment to rigorously support clean energy and rural America. That would be a shocking outcome, given the president’s firm commitments on the campaign trail. To keep the green jobs pipeline flowing, it’s vital that policymakers send a consistent signal to investors that opportunities for clean energy will continue to grow. That includes those of us making planting decisions for the year ahead, but it’s just as important for the kind of jobs a net-zero economy can deliver coast to coast.
~Bill Miller is the owner of a certified organic farm in Preble County, Board Member of the Carbon-50 project, Vice Chair of the USDA’s Minority Farmer and Rancher Advisory Committee, & Vice President of the Ohio Farmers Union