WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The National Corn Growers Association on June 21 began airing an advertisement calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow President Donald Trump’s commitment to farmers and stop giving Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies.
According to the NCGA, these waivers negatively impact farmers by undercutting the RFS and reducing corn demand.
The ad features Kevin Ross, first vice-president of the NCGA and an Iowa farmer. Ross recently appeared at an ethanol plant with President Trump in recognition of the administration's support of year-round E15. During the event, Ross thanked the president for delivering on this promise but cautioned, “The EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works.”
Since early 2018, the EPA has granted 53 RFS small refinery exemptions (SREs), 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 the USDA’s most recent WASDE projects a 155-million-bushel decline in corn going to ethanol production in the 2018-19 marketing year.
There are currently 39 refinery exemption petitions pending for the 2018 compliance year. The NCGA has highlighted 39 reasons why the EPA should not grant additional waivers.
In addition to its call on the EPA, the NCGA is supporting legislation in the House, H.R. 3006, and Senate, S. 1840, that would seek to stop waiver abuse and address the harm these waivers are causing to the RFS and corn demand.