Corn growers from across the heartland sent a letter of concern to President Trump on September 27th. Ohio’s Jon Miller signed the letter along with 22 other agricultural leaders from across the fruited plain, expressing their frustrations with a “perfect storm of challenges [this year] in rural America.” Added to the mounting difficulties were renewable fuel waivers for oil companies relating to biofuel requirements. But on Friday, October 4th, their frustration changed to applause when the Trump Administration announced an agreement on ethanol standards.
Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net posted, “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.”
“Under the Trump Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] 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,” they wrote.
Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association added, “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.”
According to the article, the EPA and USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) agreement includes the following actions:
- 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.
Miller acknowledged, “It’s been a tough year for Ohio farmers, and it is good to finally hear a bit of good news.”