Leaders from farm associations, the biofuels industry, and farmers from across the country gathered in Ypsilanti on Tuesday before EPA officials at a hearing on the agency’s proposed supplemental rule on 2020 biofuel targets under the RFS.
They shared frustrations on what the small refinery exemptions have been doing to the industry—from the farmers, to the biofuels facilities, and everyone in between.
Chris Creiger, board member of the Michigan Corn Growers Association (MCGA) was one of the many testifiers. He expressed the importance of the state’s five ethanol plants to the state’s economy.
“An ethanol plant in a local area not only uses local contractors and contributes money to the local economy through wages and jobs, but also it keeps our products being used here in Minchigan rather than shipping out of state which would require freight costs and ultimately a lower price to farmers,” said Creiger.
Earlier this month, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said farmers should be happy with this supplemental rule, which would base its numbers off Department of Energy numbers instead of actual gallons waived by the EPA.
Creiger said farmers would be happy if the intent of the RFS was followed and enforced.
“Unfortunately, what we’ve consistently seen over multiple years is the undermining of the Renewable Fuel Standard due to these small refinery exemptions that are being misapplied and consequently decreasing demand for ethanol and our corn products,” he said.
Philip Gordon, vice president of MCGA, also expressed his disappointment with the EPA’s supplemental proposal.
“It’s kind of like coming down on Christmas morning and looking at the Christmas presents under the tree, opening your present and the box is empty,” said Gordon. “That’s the way I felt.”
Farmers are encouraged to contact the EPA until the comment period deadline on November 29.