The following statement is from KY Corn Growers Association President Mark Roberts:
I’m frustrated and perplexed by EPA’s proposal to resolve the destroyed ethanol demand caused by the agency’s refinery waivers. It is clearly not what President Trump described to our industry leaders that his administration would be doing, just 10 days prior.
In early October, KyCorn praised the commitment that President Trump made to place the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) back on track for 15 billion gallons after 3 years of ethanol demand destruction from refinery waivers, but when EPA released the proposed rule less than 2 weeks later, it fell short of the promise that was made to us. President Trump’s EPA delivered about half of what he said he would restore in lost gallons due to refinery waivers.
The issue at hand is how EPA will account for gallons waived in order to keep the RFS whole as it issues refinery waivers going forward. Instead of reallocating the waived gallons based on the actual gallons EPA has waived, they issued their proposed rule with a provision to reallocate the gallons based on recommendations by the Department of Energy (DOE) for waivers, which is a much lower number. EPA has repeatedly ignored these DOE recommendations when issuing waivers, but now it wants to use them to reallocate the gallons they remove from the program. Using the proposed methodology restores only about half of the compliance gallons that were removed from the RFS, 700 million instead of 1.34 billion. This smoke-and-mirrors math is unacceptable because, based on EPA’s track record of granting far more gallons in waivers than DOE recommends, it would not uphold the law and would not restore the RFS to 15 billion gallons.
Over the next 6 weeks, farmers have one last opportunity to share frustration over lost corn markets due to the 85 waivers that President Trump’s EPA has authorized since he took office – by far, the most of any President since the inception of the RFS. We have one more chance to push the Trump administration to follow through on his commitment to farmers. The regulatory process requires EPA to take and review comments on proposals before finalizing a rule. KY Corn will send calls-to-action throughout the comment period to let farmers know how they can advocate for their livelihoods. Regulatory comment processes are usually a numbers game, and farmers need to speak loudly in this comment period.
As a farmer from Henry County, I am experiencing the same pain from a short crop and eroded prices that the rest of the grain farming community is feeling. These difficulties come to us, in large part, because of these excessive waiver decisions and the refusal of EPA to follow the law in reallocating those waived gallons. Ethanol accounts for about 40 percent of our corn demand. The recent closings of twenty ethanol plants exemplify the damage that President Trump’s EPA has placed on our industry; those idled plants have stopped receiving corn, eliminating markets and exacerbating price pressures that we were already dealing with due to trade uncertainty.
While this decision comes at a particularly difficult time, to say the least; it burns even worse knowing we were told by the President himself to expect a different outcome from his team. USDA Deputy Secretary Censky said, “The President is very insistent that 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons. EPA and USDA are fully on board with that.” But that detail just did not make it onto the page for some reason – farmers will have to insist that it does before the comment period closes on November 29.
For more information, contact Adam Andrews, Programs Director at 502-974-1121.