The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today called for EPA to maintain a strong, equitable Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that follows Congressional intent and levels the playing field for America’s farmers by using the annual volume rule to repair the damage from extensive refinery exemptions.
Michigan farmer Russell Braun provided testimony on behalf of NCGA during an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing on the agency’s proposed biofuel targets for 2019.
“With corn prices low, EPA’s decisions have a greater impact on my livelihood and other farmers’ as well. We believe EPA should use the Renewable Fuel Standard volume rule to remedy the harm caused by the extensive retroactive exemptions given to refineries over the past year and ensure future exemptions are accounted for. These refinery exemptions decrease ethanol blending and reduce demand and profits for my corn crop. Every gallon of renewable fuel blending waived by EPA reduces the consumer benefits of the RFS.”
EPA’s proposal supports some growth in the RFS volumes and continues to propose an implied 15-billion-gallon volume for conventional ethanol. However, the proposed rule allows for retroactive refinery exemptions, without reallocating those waived gallons, undercutting the volume targets and rendering the proposed blending levels meaningless. In the past year, EPA has retroactively waived 2.25 billion ethanol equivalent-gallons from the 2016 and 2017 volumes through 48 refinery exemptions, many of which went to refineries owned by large, profitable companies.
“The EPA should end the practice of granting unjustified RFS waivers behind closed doors and uphold the strong biofuel targets promised by President Trump. America's corn growers are ready and able to do our part to increase American energy use and production, and hold down prices at the fuel pump,” said NCGA President and North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes. “EPA needs to listen to farmers comments, account for the waivers and make the RFS whole.”
Because many corn farmers are in Washington this week for NCGA’s Corn Congress and meetings with Members of Congress and unable to attend the Michigan public hearing, farmer delegates at Corn Congress took the opportunity to submit their comments to EPA online this morning. Farmers across the country can join this effort by visiting www.standupforcorn.com/take-action to “Tell EPA to Restore the RFS.”
Full testimony available here.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.