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Trump Administration announces changes to address biofuel concerns

Ohio corn farmers welcomed news that President Trump is honoring his commitment to Ohio agriculture by reallocating the waived gallons and upholding the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association wants to thank the President for standing up for ethanol and the RFS,” said Jon Miller, president of the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association. “Corn farmers from Ohio and across the nation have been steadfast in our communications with the White House to retain the RFS and reduce the regulatory barriers for higher blends of ethanol. It’s been a tough year for Ohio farmers, and it is good to finally hear a bit of good news.”

Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a number of waivers exempting refineries from the requirements of the RFS. After the EPA recently approved 31 additional RFS exemptions for oil companies, efforts from ethanol advocates intensified in reaching out to the Trump Administration. The Oct. 4 announcement that EPA will reopen the rulemaking for the 2020 RFS volumes and propose to account for waivers in the volume requirements allows EPA to follow the law and restore integrity to the RFS.

“At a time when we are seeing ethanol production facilities idle, close, or reduce their production levels, this news is appreciated. We would also like to thank our Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association members who overwhelmingly responded and communicated with the President on this vital issue. Not only is this issue extremely important to Ohio corn farmers, it is very important to Ohio communities that rely on ethanol production for jobs,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association.

Under this agreement, the following actions will be undertaken by EPA and USDA:

  • In a forthcoming supplemental notice building off the recently proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021, EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.
  • EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.
  • EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year.
  • In the most recent compliance year, EPA granted 31 small refinery exemptions.
  • Building on the President’s earlier decision to allow year-round sales of E15, EPA will initiate a rulemaking process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15.
  • EPA will continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform.
  • USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends.
  • The Administration will continue to work to address ethanol and biodiesel trade issues.

“President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator. “Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers.”

 

 

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