When President Trump visited an Iowa ethanol plant in June, farmers attending the event took the opportunity to help President Trump understand how Renewable Identification Number (RIN) hardship waivers are undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). It appears he may have heard them.
Kurt Kovarik of the National Biofuels Board told AgriTalk host Chip Flory this week, that year-round E15 is not enough and the farmers tried their best when they had face time with the president to help him understand that.
“The president viewed his action on E15 as significant, and it was, but I think the message that he heard both when he was standing on that stage when Kevin Ross was speaking, and from other farmers before and after that is that what EPA is doing to help biofuels on the one hand, they're immediately and more detrimentally undermining it on the other by granting the small refinery exemptions which erode demand for the biofuel,” he said.
According to Kovarik, these waivers undermine the integrity of the program.
“If you set the volume at a certain number and then after you set that volume, you back out tens of billions of gallons of obligation, well, that number no longer is that number,” he explained. “That's something that we've been arguing with this administration about for many months.”
The National Corn Growers started running an ad campaign this week in hopes of shedding light on the issue.
Today, @NationalCorn launched an ad in Washington DC calling on the @EPA to follow President Trump’s commitment to farmers and stop giving RFS waivers to big oil companies. Watch here: https://t.co/6YT6QaOPdK— National Corn (NCGA) (@NationalCorn) June 20, 2019
The president has taken note. According to Jarrett Renshaw of Reuters, President Donald Trump has “directed members of his Cabinet to review the administration’s expanded use of waivers exempting small refineries from the nation’s biofuel policy, after hearing from farmers angry about the issue during his recent Midwest tour.”
At the end of the day, Kovarik said the biofuels industry won’t stop pushing the administration to re-enforce the RFS until this situation is resolved.
“Until you end the practice of handing out small refinery exemptions like candy under the previous EPA Administrator, we're going to continue to cry about the fact that these volumes aren't our actual volumes, and the President's not living up to his commitment,” he said.