PRIMGHAR, Iowa (KCAU) – A new proposal by the EPA is not sitting well with Siouxland farmers and those in the ethanol industry.
They said that the proposal falls short of a promise made by President Trump.
Farmers told KCAU9 with today tell me 2019 is a year they’ll never forget. They say the flooding, tariffs and the closure of numerous ethanol plants have made it a year like none other in recent memory.
Kelly Nieuwenhuis is the chairman of the board for the Siouxland Energy Cooperative. He’s also a farmer. He says with so many waivers being granted to refineries, it is lowering the demand for ethanol. The lowered demand forced Siouxland Energy Cooperative to halt production.
“I’m disappointed because it wasn’t the deal we agreed on,” said Nieuwenhuis.
Last week, Nieuwenhuis had hoped after Trump proposed taking the average of the ethanol lost in the last three years and adding it to next year’s threshold, but on Tuesday, the EPA released a very different proposal.
“The EPA all of a sudden came out with a ruling, and they decided to use what the Department of Energy had recommended for the small refinery exemptions which was about half,” Nieuwenhuis said.
“That’s really not a concrete number,” said Dean Meyer with the Iowa Corn Growers Association. “Besides, the EPA has never used the Department of Energy’s recommendations in the past they refuse to use them it just took all of the security away.”
It’s not clear when the halted ethanol plants will be able to resume production, but Nieuwenhuis continues to hold out hope.
“If we do start the plant up again, it probably will be at 50 percent production. We won’t go to our full capacity, but just getting the plant started at a 40-gallon phase would be very positive,” Nieuwenhuis said.
Many farming and renewable fuel organizations are putting pressure on the EPA to changes its proposal.
“It hurts, especially in northwest Iowa. I mean that is the ethanol capital of the world, and we feel it,” Meyer said.
“The great legislators in Iowa know our position and totally 100 percent support agriculture and the biofuels industry. We need to contact President Trump himself and tell him this isn’t the degree that we agreed upon,” Nieuwenhuis said.
It is important to note that this is still just a proposal by the EPA. It can still revise it’s proposal for next year.