Ag groups support E15 sales, but urge EPA to stop waivers


Ag companies and farmers across the country are watching the latest updates for on year-round E15 sales. Additionally, many are upset with EPA’s latest small refinery exemption, eliminating the market for a billion bushels of U.S. grain — a huge lost for corn farmers. 

National Corn Growers Association First Vice President and Minden, Iowa, farmer Kevin Ross spoke in support today of the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule to allow for year-round sales of E15 across the country.

“Farmers stand ready to work with the Administration to clear obstacles to higher blends of ethanol such as E15 and ensure a final rule works for the full ethanol and fuel supply chain,” Ross said. “To ensure E15 sales are not interrupted, NCGA urges EPA to complete this rulemaking by June 1.”

Ross’s comments came during a hearing held as part of the rulemaking that would remove outdated regulations requiring retailers in many areas of the country to stop selling E15, a blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol approved for all vehicles 2001 and newer, during the summer months. Year-round E15 is a no-cost means for farmers to grow demand. It also saves drivers between 3 and 10 cents per gallon and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

During the hearing, Ross also spoke on the negative impacts EPA’s expansive Renewable Fuel Standard waivers for refiners have had on farmers who are already struggling amid declining farm incomes and trade disruptions. NCGA has urged the EPA to rein in RFS exemptions provided to profitable refiners.

Ross also urged caution around the proposed rule’s complex RIN market reform proposal. “To ensure E15 sales are not interrupted, NCGA urges EPA to complete this rulemaking by June 1, as well as keep the complex RIN market reform proposal from weighing down the E15 rule,” Ross said.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor also weighed in on the EPA’s announcement that it granted another small refinery exemption for 2017: “New leadership at the EPA was supposed to mean a return to the president’s pro-biofuel agenda. Instead, we’re getting a man-made recession in rural America, just to boost profits for a few oil giants. There’s no way to view continued abuse of EPA waivers except as a betrayal of rural manufacturing workers and farm communities. The EPA has now destroyed 2.6 billion gallons of biofuel demand, eliminating the market for a billion bushels of U.S. grain.”

Skor continued, “Farm families are already facing natural disasters, on top of lost export markets. If the EPA doesn’t act now to restore the market promised to farmers, there is little hope for a swift rural recovery. EPA must start considering denials for the record 39 exemption requests that have already arrived for 2018. If 2018 looks anything like 2017 in terms of refinery handouts, the damage to the rural economy could be irreparable.”

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