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Biodiesel Stakeholders, Iowa Corn Concerned for RFS
Iowa Ag Connection - 04/13/2018

The National Biodiesel Board Thursday joined the American Soybean Association and the National Renderers Association urging President Trump to keep his promises to rural voters.

"Recent Actions by the EPA have undermined President Trump's commitment to support consumer access to domestic renewable fuel and rural economies supported by upholding a strong Renewable Fuel Standard," said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs. "The EPA's decision to give large, profitable refiners free passes are hurting biodiesel producers, renderers and farmers. If the President is serious about keeping his promise, he needs to pay attention."

In the letter the three organizations thank the president for his support saying, "We appreciate your ongoing efforts to champion the entrepreneurs, farmers, and manufacturers working to grow our nation's domestic renewable energy industry."

They also note concern surrounding the seeming inconsistent signals from the administration. The letter states, "Contrary to your steadfast support, the EPA has undermined the RFS through recent actions granting so-called "hardship" exemptions designed for small refiners. This has a direct impact on consumers, renderers, fuel marketers, biofuel producers and hundreds of thousands of American soybean farmers. The actions taken by the EPA undermine the integrity of the RFS and stand in direct contrast to your pledge of support in Iowa."

Media coverage has indicated the EPA has granted exemptions to several refineries for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years, including one of the nation's largest. EPA has apparently granted Andeavor a hardship waiver for its three smallest refineries, while their profits last year were approximately $1.5 billion dollars. At least two other refineries with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profits appear to have also been granted exemptions.

In a separate statement from Iowa Corn Growers Association President Mark Recker, he applauded Trump for his support for year-round consumer access to E15, a high-octane fuel composed of 15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline. This is welcome news for Iowa's farmers and American motorists as it will help expand the availability and market access for higher blends of ethanol.

"However, our work in defending the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is still not done," Recker said in his statement. "We continue to work with the President and our elected leaders to protect the integrity and intent of the RFS from potentially damaging RIN price cap proposals and small refinery exemptions. Iowa farmers will continue to stand up for their farms and support the biofuels industries that have kept our communities in rural America alive and thriving.

"For Iowa's corn farmers, ethanol remains our top market. By allowing year-round E15 sales, we will increase demand for corn and provide homegrown fuels to consumers supporting our state," Recker said.

The Renewable Fuel Standard is a federal program that requires transportation fuel sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. The RFS originated in a bi-partisan Congress with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and was expanded and extended by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

"As a nation, we should be doubling down on our need for reliable, homegrown biofuels not blocking their market access. Maintaining a strong Renewable Fuel Standard and year-round sales of E15 keeps Iowa's ethanol industry viable and provides a key market for our corn going strong, Recker added in his separate statement.

The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. trade association representing the entire biodiesel and renewable diesel value chains, including producers, feedstock suppliers and fuel distributors.

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