Ag News

Corn, soybean growers protest EPA small refinery exemptions

On Aug. 9 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it had granted 31 small refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), drawing criticism from the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and the American Soybean Association (ASA), who contend the waivers undermine the RFS and diminish demand for corn and soybeans. Ethanol derived from those two crops is blended into fuels for use in motor vehicles.

According to the EPA, a small refinery may be granted a temporary exemption from its annual renewable volume obligations under RFS if it can demonstrate that compliance would cause the refinery to suffer disproportionate economic hardship.

The NCGA pointed out that since early 2018, the EPA has granted 53 RFS waivers to big oil companies.

“Waivers reduce the demand for ethanol, lower the value of our crop and undermine the president’s support for America’s farmers,” NCGA President Lynn Chrisp said. “Waivers benefit big oil at the expense of corn farmers, who, between losing export markets abroad and ethanol markets at home, are losing patience.”

Biodiesel plants across the country, including the World Energy plant in Rome, have shut down or are nearing the point of shutdown because of the reduced demand.

“These decisions are a one-two punch for the biofuel industry, and bottom line, for farmers,” said ASA Biodiesel and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rob Shaffer.