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Past NCGA President says Administration not “above the law” on ethanol

Cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. Photo courtesy of DuPont.

We had hoped we had long since seen the end of Small Refinery Exemptions (SRE) from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, earlier this month, the EPA granted 31 more SRE waivers. This has cut an even deeper gash in domestic demand of corn, at a time when markets are hurting. One past president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) says the Trump administration is not above the law to honor the legal requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

NCGA Past President Ken McCauley was involved in the rule-making process for the RFS. He says the EPA under the Trump Administration has gone beyond the law.

The EPA claimed, last week, there is “zero evidence” the waivers are harming the ethanol industry. McCauley says it is obvious to farmers this is not the case.

After some White House Meetings, last week, there is hope the EPA may rescind some of the waivers. McCauley says the waivers are only part of the problem. The main issue is reallocating the gallons lost to waivers. This is part of the law and has not been followed by this Administration.

McCauley says while E15 was approved for year-round use, corn producers are seeing no benefit because of waivers. He says this is just compounding the erosion of the rural support base President Trump had in the 2016 elections.

Last week, POET became the latest ethanol producer to shutter or scale back production at their facilities. They directly cited EPA waivers as the basis for this decision.