The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today called for EPA to maintain a strong, equitable Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that follows Congressional intent and levels the playing field for America’s farmers by using the annual volume rule to repair the damage from extensive refinery exemptions.
Michigan farmer Russell Braun provided testimony on behalf of NCGA during an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing on the agency’s proposed biofuel targets for 2019.
“With corn prices low, EPA’s decisions have a greater impact on my livelihood and other farmers’ as well. We believe EPA should use the Renewable Fuel Standard volume rule to remedy the harm caused by the extensive retroactive exemptions given to refineries over the past year and ensure future exemptions are accounted for. These refinery exemptions decrease ethanol blending and reduce demand and profits for my corn crop. Every gallon of renewable fuel blending waived by EPA reduces the consumer benefits of the RFS.”
EPA’s proposal supports some growth in the RFS volumes and continues to propose an implied 15-billion-gallon volume for conventional ethanol. However, the proposed rule allows for retroactive refinery exemptions, without reallocating those waived gallons, undercutting the volume targets and rendering the proposed blending levels meaningless. In the past year, EPA has retroactively waived 2.25 billion ethanol equivalent-gallons from the 2016 and 2017 volumes through 48 refinery exemptions, many of which went to refineries owned by large, profitable companies.
“The EPA should end the practice of granting unjustified RFS waivers behind closed doors and uphold the strong biofuel targets promised by President Trump. America's corn growers are ready and able to do our part to increase American energy use and production, and hold down prices at the fuel pump,” said NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes. “EPA needs to listen to farmers comments, account for the waivers and make the RFS whole.”
Because many corn farmers are in Washington this week for NCGA’s Corn Congress and meetings with Members of Congress and unable to attend the Michigan public hearing, farmer delegates at Corn Congress took the opportunity to submit their comments to EPA online this morning. Farmers across the country can join this effort by visiting http://www.standupforcorn.com/take-action.html to “Tell EPA to Restore the RFS.”
What others are saying:
“The targets proposed by the EPA seem promising, but they are meaningless unless the agency reverses the demand destruction caused by handouts to refiners,” said Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council. “Placing a check on that abuse and upholding the strong targets promised by President Trump will unfreeze investments in the advanced biofuels, like cellulosic ethanol, made from agricultural residues and waste. These fuels are delivering new revenue streams to rural America and protecting the climate, but that leadership has been under threat due to regulatory uncertainty.”
“The ethanol produced at more than 200 plants across the heartland is vital to achieving our climate goals,” said Brent Erickson, executive vice president of the Industrial & Environmental Section at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. “It cuts carbon emissions by at least 43%, according to federal data, and displaces petroleum-based octane boosters linked to harmful air pollution and smog. It’s time for the EPA to send a clear signal that this administration will no longer entertain oil-backed proposals to roll back competition from homegrown biofuels.”
“The EPA’s past mismanagement of the RFS has placed a needless strain on workers, farmers, and rural families that are already bearing the burden of rising trade barriers,” said Kyle Gilley, senior vice president of external affairs and communications at POET. “President Trump and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue have promised their full support to rural communities, and now Acting Administrator Wheeler must deliver on that promise by restoring real competition at the fuel pump.”
Source: Fuels America