In the midst of significant financial stress in the U.S. farm economy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must deliver on the promises of President Trump and the intent of Congress to expand the use of biofuels and, therefore, demand for U.S. farm products, according to National Farmers Union (NFU).
The family farm organization submitted comments today to EPA on the agency’s proposed rule to allow year-round use of E15 gasoline. While the rule stands to deliver a long-sought win for the biofuels industry and family farmers, NFU President Roger Johnson said a stronger commitment to further expanding biofuel use is needed from EPA.
“The long and short of it is that the EPA under this administration has repeatedly destroyed direct demand for biofuels, metaphorically piling more and more corn on top of our burdensome oversupply,” said Johnson. “What we need from EPA as they finalize the E15 waiver is a major step in the direction of allowing year-round sales of higher level blends of ethanol in gasoline. That’s the way we cut into oversupply. That’s the way we better our environmental impact. And that’s the way we save consumers more money at the pump.”
In its comments, National Farmers Union urged EPA to expeditiously approve E15 for year-round use and to ensure the rule does not amount to a cap on higher level blends of ethanol, like E30.
“Farmers Union is eager for EPA to follow through on its promises to get an E15 waiver out of the door by June 1,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “But we are concerned that certain provisions within EPA’s rulemaking unnecessarily work against expanded use of higher level blends of ethanol.”
Provisions within EPA’s E15 proposed rule are limited in scope to E15 gasoline only, without taking advantage of the benefits of mid-level blends of ethanol and making the prospects of using these blends harder to achieve.
NFU also proposed EPA separate its proposed RIN reforms from the E15 rule until the agency has considered the potential implications of the reforms and made such findings public. The organization highlighted RIN-market volatility introduced by EPA’s actions regarding small refinery exemptions. “Under the Trump Administration, EPA’s exemption handouts to oil refiners have destroyed demand for at least 2.6 billion gallons of ethanol, or nearly one billion bushels of American grown corn,” said Johnson.
“It is EPA’s responsibility to follow through on the President’s promises to family farmers and on Congress’s intent to expand biofuel use in our transportation sector,” said Johnson. “We’re calling on the agency to begin to right their wrongs by finalizing an E15 waiver that includes a pathway for expanded use of higher level blends of ethanol.”