NFU: Plan to Expand Biofuels a Step in the Right Direction
More Work Needed to Move Biofuels Industry Forward
WASHINGTON – After several months of negotiations and much fanfare, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a broad plan to offset a portion of the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels eliminated due to the ongoing misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs). More specific details will be rolled out within the next week, but EPA is expected to release a supplemental proposed rule that would add about 1.35 billion gallons to its annual biofuel blending quota for 2020.
Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol and 2.4 billion gallons of biodiesel are required to be blended into transportation fuel. However, EPA has waived that requirement for 85 oil refineries over the past three years, a rate quadruple that of the previous administration. As a result, the amount of corn ethanol and biodiesel in the transportation sector during that time has been under the benchmark, representing a 1.4-billion-bushel decline in demand for corn and an 825-million-bushel decline for soybeans.
National Farmers Union (NFU) has consistently voiced opposition to this administration’s ongoing efforts to undermine the American biofuels industry. Though the organization was relieved that the administration intends to expand the market for biofuels in the coming years, NFU President Roger Johnson is concerned that it will not go far enough to compensate for all of the economic losses incurred by farmers and rural Americans.
“Family farmers have been waiting many months for this announcement. In the meantime, they have continued to lose millions of dollars of hard-earned income, upwards of 30 biofuels plants have halted production, and hundreds of rural Americans have lost their jobs.
“The damage inflicted on rural communities by these waivers cannot be emphasized enough. While this plan will make important progress in making the biofuels industry whole, we worry that it may be too little, too late.
“We should have been taking several steps forward to expand the market for homegrown biofuels over the past several years, but instead we’ve taken many steps backwards. Though this plan will hopefully return the market back to where it was at the beginning of 2016, it won’t move us forward to where we would have been today, if it weren’t for the waivers. In order to bring biofuels to where they ought to be, NFU encourages this administration to not only reallocate the lost waivers, but to also substantially increase the amount of biofuels in our transportation sector and to find new opportunities for the use of higher level blends of ethanol like E30.”
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.
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