Lawmakers, renewable fuel producers react to EPA’s biofuel rule

Agriculture

DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) — The EPA announced a rule Tuesday meant to be in line with President Trump’s plan to restore ethanol demand.

Some agricultural groups, farmers, and lawmakers expressed frustration with the rule, with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association saying it “fails to live up to President Trump’s promise to biofuels producers.”

Ethanol producers and lawmakers from the tristate area reacted to the news.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw:

IRFA members continue to stand by President Trump’s strong biofuels deal announced on Oct. 4, which was worked out with our elected champions and provided the necessary certainty that 15 billion gallons would mean 15 billion gallons, even after accounting for SREs. Unfortunately, only 11 days after President Trump’s landmark announcement, the EPA proposal reneges on the core principal of the deal.

Instead of standing by President Trump’s transparent and accountable deal, EPA is proposing to use heretofore secret DOE recommendations that EPA doesn’t have to follow. That means there is no guarantee that RFS exemptions will be accounted for in the RFS.

Instead, the proposal today essentially asks Iowa farmers and biofuels producers to trust that EPA will do the right thing on SREs in 2021 when they have spent the last two years weaponizing SREs to unfairly undermine the RFS. It is unreasonable and counterproductive to expect Iowans to put their faith in EPA to fix the SRE problem when they were the ones who created the crisis in the first place.

As this proposal goes against the core of President Trump’s deal that we continue to support, we will work with our elected champions and the President to get the deal he proposed, and we all celebrated, back on track. There must be certainty that 15 billion gallons will mean 15 billion gallons to restore integrity to the RFS.

Sen. Deb Fischer of Nebraska:

It’s good to see that the EPA has rolled out this supplemental rule to protect the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, I am disappointed in how the agency is proposing to address the three year rolling average to ensure a net 15 billion gallons is blended into our fuel supply. This is different than what we expected based on our previous conversations with the administration. I encourage Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers to weigh in during this comment period. I remain committed to holding the EPA accountable and providing certainty for rural America.

Rep. Abby Finkenauer of Iowa’s 1st District:

Iowa’s farmers and producers have been promised over and over that this administration will uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard. Just as many times, they’ve been let down by an administration that plays favorites with big oil. As the nation’s corn growers have said, this announcement does not provide confidence that the EPA and Trump administration will follow through on promises to uphold the RFS. I will continue to fight for Iowa’s growers and producers, especially as this administration keeps promising one thing and doing another.

Rep. Dave Loebsack of Iowa’s 2nd District:

It is outrageous that not even two weeks after the President and the EPA announced a ‘deal’ to offset the excessive number of SREs they granted to big, profitable oil companies, they fall back on their word. This proposed rule provides no assurance that the estimates used to offset the SREs would meet the actual volume of gallons exempted, leaving farmers and biofuel producers with no guarantee that the billions of gallons of biofuels exempted from the mandate would ever be restored, as has long been promised by the Trump Administration and EPA.

The Administration’s abuse of the SRE program has already destroyed billions of gallons of biofuel demand and led to the closure or idling of nearly 30 ethanol and biodiesel plants. This proposed rule is another in a long string of broken promises for our farmers and biofuel producers. I will continue to fight back against proposals that fall short of what was promised, and work to uphold the integrity of the RFS. It is past time our farmers and biofuel producers have the certainty they need to help provide our nation with clean, renewable fuel.

Rep. Cindy Axne of Iowa’s 3rd District:

This is insulting, deeply disappointing, but unfortunately, not surprising. Time and time again, this Administration comes to Iowa and pledges their support for farmers, only to go back to Washington to give hand-outs to big oil lobbyists at the expense of hardworking Iowa families and rural communities.

Let’s be clear: the EPA answers to the President, not the other way around. Enough fancy press conferences and broken promises, Iowa farmers deserve action from this Administration. Today, I’m calling on the President to stand by his word and publicly demand the EPA put forth a new rule that ensures 15 billion gallons means 15 billion.

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