The National Corn Growers Association is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to stop giving Renewable Fuel Standard waivers to big oil companies.
In advertisements that began airing June 20 and will air into next week on Fox News affiliates, the NCGA calls on the EPA to follow President Trump’s commitment to farmers. The organization says the EPA waivers negatively impact farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.
The ad features NCGA First Vice President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross who recently appeared at an ethanol plant with Trump in recognition of the administration’s support of year-round E15. During the event, Ross thanked Trump for delivering on this promise but cautioned, “The EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works.”
Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 RFS small refinery exemptions, or waivers, totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel. The 2017 RFS waivers effectively reduced the 15 billion-gallon implied ethanol volume to 13.18 billion gallons, rolling back the RFS to pre-2013 blending requirements. As a result of these waivers, ethanol consumption declined for the first time in 20 years and USDA’s most recent WASDE projects a 155 million bushel decline in corn going to ethanol production in the 2018/2019 marketing year.
There are 39 refinery exemption petitions pending for the 2018 compliance year. NCGA has highlighted 39 reasons why the EPA should not grant additional waivers.
In addition to its call on the EPA, NCGA is supporting legislation in the House, H.R. 3006, and Senate, S. 1840, that would seek to stop waiver abuse.
The National Biodiesel Board is also highlighting the economic damage the EPA’s retroactive small refinery exemptions are causing the renewable diesel industry. The NBB sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler taking issue with his recent comment that the approval of year-round E15 sales will make up for the damage from the exemptions.
“The E15 waiver will not provide market growth for biodiesel and renewable diesel, but small refinery exemptions have had a detrimental impact on demand for those fuels,” the letter states. “EPA is required to repair the demand destruction for biodiesel and renewable diesel resulting from the agency’s flood of unwarranted, retroactive small refinery exemptions.”
Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “If EPA continues to undercut the biodiesel market by handing out RFS exemptions to every refiner that asks, America’s soybean farmers and small biodiesel producers will be hit hardest. America’s soybean growers need new markets and additional value for their crops; biodiesel is an important market that adds value to every bushel. According to University of Illinois Professor Scott Irwin, the demand destruction for biodiesel and renewable diesel could reach 2.45 billion gallons over the next few years causing a $7.7 billion economic loss.”