“The move, in the form of a direction to the Environmental Protection Agency, marks the end of an effort by the refining industry to come into compliance with a January court decision that said the Trump administration should not have given out some waivers in previous years.
“The waivers have been a battleground for the influential oil and corn lobbies, both major constituencies for Trump as he seeks re-election in November.”
The move comes amid concern that the divisive issue was costing Trump politically in the Farm Belt. #OOTT#biofuels
The Reuters article explained that, “Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), oil refiners must blend billions of gallons of biofuels into their products, or buy credits from those that do. But refiners may also seek an exemption from those obligations if they prove the requirements would cause them financial harm.”
The admin has signaled it will not appeal the 10th Circuit decision to SCOTUS. This is something I’ve long called for and is good for Iowa farmers. Now, let’s apply this decision nationwide and throw out these “gap year” waivers. https://t.co/Dgk9rhIIBY
The Reuters writers noted that, “The Trump administration has quadrupled the number of exemptions have given out to refiners, causing outrage in farm states, such as Iowa.”
4. Of course, devil may be in the details. Denying gap SREs? Denying all SREs? What exactly is being denied? Always need to see things in writing and one has to wonder what has been promised to the refiners in return.
Tuesday’s article added that, “The biofuel industry welcomed the news. ‘Now, more than ever, our nation’s farmers and ethanol producers are counting on the RFS to provide market stability and certainty during an incredibly difficult and tumultuous time,’ said a coalition that included the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association.”
Trump administration officials have told ethanol advocates the government will reject requests by refineries to be waived from renewable fuel-usage requirements — a bid to reinforce the president’s support in key swing states of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“The Environmental Protection Agency could reject as many as 67 of those retroactive waiver requests as soon as this week, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named prior to an announcement.”
The Bloomberg writers explained that, “Refineries filed dozens of applications with the EPA seeking retroactive waivers from the biofuel-blending requirements dating back to 2011. The tactic followed a January federal court ruling that said the relief was limited to facilities that have consistently received exemptions.
“Federal law authorizes the EPA to grant the exemptions for small refineries that can prove they are facing a serious economic hardship complying with the biofuel-blending requirements.
“Administration officials have not yet decided whether to reject a separate 28 pending requests tied to 2019 biofuel quotas, two of the people said.”
Keith Good is the social media manager for the farmdoc project at the University of Illinois. He has previously worked for the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, and compiled the daily FarmPolicy.com News Summary from 2003-2015. He is a graduate of Purdue University (M.S.- Agricultural Economics), and Southern Illinois University School of Law.
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