Gov. Kim Reynolds was in Ypsilanti, Michigan today pleading with the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the Iowa farmers who produce renewable fuels.
The EPA is considering rules for 2019 for the Renewable Fuel Standard governing how much ethanol and biodiesel must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.
The proposed rules would set the conventional ethanol level at the maximum 15 billion gallons, and increase the requirements for biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol.
But at the hearing in Michigan, Reynolds said without further regulation, those levels won’t be attained.
“Fifteen billion gallons must mean 15 billion gallons,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds is concerned about the current EPA practice of granting oil company waivers that allow refiners to get around the mandates.
“These small refinery waivers have created the backdoor destruction of 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol demand,” Reynolds said. “That means 500 million bushels of corn will be left in the bins, putting added pressure on already low commodity prices.”
Reynolds said the waivers are sidestepping both the letter and the spirit of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“And that is not what President Trump promised the voters of Iowa,” Reynolds added.
Reynolds also urged the EPA to allow higher ethanol blends to be sold year-round. And she said the agency should comply with a court order to restore 500 million gallons of conventional ethanol demand that was waived by the Obama Administration for the 2016 compliance year.
The EPA is holding hearings through mid-August and will finalize the rules by the end of November.
“Our farmers need some positive news,” Reynolds said.