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Rick Worthington EPA and Ethanol
by Rick Worthington, click here for bio

Program: Farm and Ranch Report
Date: August 20, 2018

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Many farmers nationwide say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is undercutting the Renewable Fuel Standard by granting too many exemptions for small oil refineries - hurting farmers in the process.

The National Farmers Union says it's happy to see that the EPA has proposed requiring blending 15 billion gallons of ethanol and other biodiesel fuels into the fuel supply in 2019. However, refineries that process less than 75,000 barrels of oil per day and can prove financial hardship are eligible for waivers from the mandate.

Anne Steckel, a biofuels advisor with the National Farmers Union says that decreases demand for corn-based fuels.

"The farmers are the ones at the end of the day who are really not the winners in all of this, and it's very contrary to what the president and this administration has said that they support," she says. "They have talked extensively about supporting farmers but the actions from this EPA about the small refinery exemptions have not been supportive."

According to EPA data, nearly 50 waivers were granted in 2016 and 2017, wiping out 2.2 billion gallons of blending obligations.

Steckel says farmers are sitting on a lot of corn and prices are low. And she notes that the country's escalating trade war is putting farmers in an even tighter bind.

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