The time for comment has run out. It is all in the hands of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to weigh all the comments they received on their proposed supplemental rule to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). This is not necessarily the news that will give corn producers and ethanol supporters sweet dreams.
The ending of the comment period is the culmination of what was a tumultuous last two months about the RFS and small refinery exemptions (SRE). An Oval Office deal had been made between the ethanol industry and the EPA to change how SRE’s are granted and how the lost gallons should be reallocated. Then the EPA formally submitted their proposed rule which looked nothing like the agreement reached and appears to do an end-around of not only the Oval Office agreement but the whole RFS. The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says the EPA proposal is only half of what they committed to in the Oval Office.
For those who are still not yet aware, the RFS is a federal law. So already, we are having to have negotiated agreements for the EPA, a federal agency to follow federal law. Then, the EPA says they are not going to honor the agreement which makes them follow federal law and change the rules on how they grant SRE’s and reallocate the gallons.
For the past month, over 1,900 corn farmers, several lawmakers, and ethanol and agriculture groups made comments to the EPA and President Trump directly. The Renewable Fuels Association’s (RFA)Geoff Cooper says the EPA is secretly manipulating ethanol credit prices and defying the deal they made.
Cooper says the damage done to the ethanol industry since 2018 has been catastrophic for rural America, both to farmers and rural communities.
Now the decision on whether this rule is going to be implemented is in the hands of the EPA. The same EPA which has already said it doesn’t have to follow federal law. The same EPA which has shown it has no intention of honoring its agreements. This is an EPA which is run by Andrew Wheeler, the same Andrew Wheeler who came to the Iowa State Fair in 2018 and told us he was going to fix the problem. If you don’t remember, here is part of that statement.
Since the end of the comment period, groups like Growth Energy, The RFA, and the NCGA have repeated public calls for the EPA to follow the law.