News & Ideas

RFS Field Hearing Testimony from Jeff Oestmann from East Kansas Agri-Energy

Full testimony as it was given from Jeff Oestmann from East Kansas Agri-Energy during the EPA's Field Hearing on June 25, 2015.


Jeff Oestmann

I'm Jeff Oestmann, president and CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy in Garnett, Kansas.   I'd like to thank my colleagues for their compelling testimony in illustrating the substantial impact that the proposed reduction in volume requirements will have on our business, our communities and our nation.

I spent eleven years in the U.S. Marine Corps and was stationed around the globe.  I served with the elite Marine security guards protecting U.S. embassies.  I've seen firsthand the political, financial and human cost of our nation's reliance on imported oil.

As CEO and president of an ethanol plant, I've seen the powerful positive impact that renewable fuels have on our community, our farmers, our environment and our nation. I have seen America keep more of its energy dollars at home instead of sending them to countries that simply don't like us very much.  After spending more than a decade serving in the military around the world, I can tell you that I'd much rather do business in the Midwest than with the Middle East.

Our plant is currently in the middle of building a ($$$ million) renewable diesel production facility.  Renewable diesel is a true drop-in fuel that represents the next generation of advanced biofuels prescribed in the RFS.

I can assure you that this investment—and this technology—would not have been possible without the RFS.

Many people sing the praises of advanced biofuels, but they forget that it will be built on the foundation of base ethanol production.  The RFS has helped us build that foundation—and it will help us build what is to come in terms of advance biofuels.

Our long-range strategic plan includes other new projects and technologies over the next three to five years.  But those are currently on hold—thanks to the uncertainty that the EPA has created about he RFS.   If corn-based ethanol is reduced or not allowed to grow beyond 10 percent, this will strand billions of dollars of investment nationwide that are poised to help America continue to evolve its biofuels industry.

By adopting the RFS, Congress has given America greater control over its future.   Greater control over where our energy comes from.  Greater control over the choices consumers have at the pump.  Greater control over our environment.   And just as importantly, the RFS has given the petroleum industry less control over America's pocketbooks, energy independence and our environment.

When it comes to domestic renewable fuels, we don't need less.  We need more.  And that's exactly what the RFS passed by Congress has outlined.

You've heard from our team how the RFS has been a winner for agriculture, for livestock production, for communities, for young people, for our environment, for our economy and for our nation. When you add it all up, it really makes you wonder why we're even here. 

I urge you to leave the RFS alone and let it do what's it's been doing—and continues to do:  Strengthening our nation's energy supply, economy, environment and our very future.

Thank you.

Become a Member of the Family.