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Illinois Corn Growers Join Lawsuit Against EPA Over Vehicle Emissions Rules

By Colin Hardman

The Illinois Corn Growers Association is part of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] over new emissions rules, contending the rules, which aim to boost adoption of electric vehicles, restrict consumer choice and create an unreasonable economic impact.

The rules, finalized in April and scheduled to phase in from 2027 to 2032, mandate that automakers reduce the average emissions of their new vehicles. There are multiple ways to meet the standards, from upgrading efficiency across the board to offering more hybrid and full electric vehicles. EPA projects that by 2030-2032, some manufacturers may choose to offer 20% to 56% battery electric vehicles, depending on the type and efficiency of their fleets.

According to the EPA’s website, implementation of the rules will substantially reduce air pollutants like poisonous carbon monoxide and ozone, as well as the climate change fueling carbon dioxide [CO2]. The EPA also contends the rules will actually increase consumer choice, as more efficient engines and filter technology can keep gasoline vehicles a part of a compliant automaker’s offerings.

Illinois Corn Growers Director of Biofuels Dave Loos contends the rules could harm the prospects of ethanol, an often corn-derived compound that can reduce the emissions of gasoline vehicles when incorporated into fuel. Loos said the rules could reduce demand for corn by 1 billion bushels by 2033.

“An economist out of Nebraska has indicated a demand destruction of this magnitude for agriculture would be similar to what agriculture has seen in the '80s,” Loos said. “And we’re already going through a time where prices of raising a crop are higher, and the returns are much lower. In many cases the farmers are not recovering enough revenue to cover the cost of producing the crop.”

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