This past week, farmers across Iowa were disappointed to see the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant 31 waivers to oil refineries. Ethanol plants across the Midwest have become increasingly strained from previous oil industry handouts. The Trump administration’s decision to hand out additional, unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum companies raises a lot of questions.
A few short weeks ago, the EPA released their Renewable Volume Obligations for this next year. While conventional renewable volumes will be maintained, nothing is being done to address the billions of gallons that have already been destroyed by previous waivers.
The fact is, these exemptions have been granted in secret, with little transparency and no accountability. They have essentially quadrupled, without significant justification.
To further compliment matters, the agency is currently drafting what officials are referring to as a reset of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which could emerge later this year. This rule has the potential to raise or lower the bar for growth in homegrown biofuels for years to come. If bureaucrats in D.C. lower the standard, and continue issuing these abusive waivers, farmers and biofuel producers will continue paying the price.
It is my hope the administration will uphold their commitment to renewable fuels and Iowa farmers. It’s time to get serious and show whether or not farmers are a priority for 2020.
State Rep. Lee Hein