The ethanol industry is asking President Trump to restore biofuel demand that was damaged by small refinery waivers. The Waivers exempt refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard, and effectively reduce the blending targets set under the RFS, according to Growth Energy.
On Monday, the group, along with several workers from ethanol plants across the county, penned a letter to Trump asking the President to restore the demand. The letter points to the billions of gallons of “lost” biofuel demand, leading to ethanol plants idling production or shutting down. Each time a plant idles production, the letter states that “farmers are notified that biofuel producers can no longer accept grain deliveries, and the impact has been devastating for communities already on the edge.”
Farm income is now down by half since the start of this year alone, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the EPA “must immediately repair the damage from abusive refinery exemptions and get lost gallons back into the marketplace.”
The American Coalition for Ethanol held its annual conference in Omaha, Neb., Aug. 14-17. A DTN report says ACE CEO Brian Jennings made an interesting proclamation to the rest of his industry, which is currently on the ropes. Jennings asked members of the ethanol industry to look to the future and to not stand on the sideline while the Environmental Protection Agency continues to grant small refinery waivers to Renewable Fuels Standard requirements.
The EPA has now granted enough waivers to total more than four billion gallons of lost ethanol demand in just three years. While all that is happening, a potential 3-billion-gallon export market in China is closed to U.S. producers. That’s going on while doubt about the future of the RFS continues to grow outside the ethanol industry.
“The ethanol industry isn’t doing enough in response to quell some of those concerns. We have to turn up the volume,” he said.
The president directed USDA and EPA to review the waiver program this year, making ethanol believe Trump was aware of the problem. However, the EPA recently announced it had granted another 31 small-refinery exemptions and denied only six for 2018.
Jennings added now is the time for the industry to “get angry” and speak up about the harm the EPA is doing to an industry that would be in a much better place without the EPA’s actions.
LINCOLN, Neb. — On Aug. 9, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they granted 31 small refinery biofuel waivers for 2018. This follows the 54 waivers the Trump Administration granted in 2016 and 2017, which caused 2.6 billion gallons of demand destruction. These new waivers add another loss of 1.4 billion gallons, for a total loss of 4 billion gallons.
“Over the past two years, the EPA has granted hardship waivers to refineries owned by companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “Their continued handouts to the oil industry comes during a time when heartland farmers are really struggling due to depressed commodity prices, flooding and trade wars. Securing access and demand for homegrown, cleaner-burning biofuels should be top priority from an economic and environmental standpoint, not destroying the marketplace program the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created for.”
Berry urges everyone to show their continued support for the RFS. American Coalition for Ethanol highlights the many benefits of the RFS: it’s a program that saves American families hundreds of dollars a year in gasoline purchases; has deterred more than $40 billion in foreign oil purchases thus far; reduces lifecycle greenhouse gases emissions by 42 percent; and serves as a catalyst for technology innovation and private-sector investment in advanced biofuels.
The EPA released proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the RFS and is accepting comments on the proposal until Aug. 30, 2019. The public is invited to engage and make their voices heard regarding the proposed rule here.
“Exempting refiners from blending their obligated share of ethanol directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans directly employed in the ethanol industry,” Berry said. “I urge all who care about access to cleaner-burning fuel to contact your members of Congress to call for immediate action and submit your comments by Aug. 30. State the need to reallocate the 4 billion lost gallons in the 2020 RVOs.”