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Farm, ethanol groups angered at final EPA ethanol rule

The Environmental Protection Agency released its final renewable fuel standard but it didn’t include language that President Donald Trump agreed to in meetings with industry officials, Iowa’s governor and congressional representatives during September and October.

Posted: Dec 19, 2019 1:48 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Some farm groups and farm-state lawmakers expressed anger at the Trump administration Thursday over final ethanol rules that they said failed to uphold the president’s promises to the industry.

The Environmental Protection Agency released its final renewable fuel standard but it didn’t include language that President Donald Trump agreed to in meetings with industry officials, Iowa’s governor and congressional representatives during September and October.

“Apparently President Trump doesn’t care about his promise to Iowa’s farmers,” said Iowa Corn Growers Association President Jim Greif. “He had the opportunity to tell his EPA to stick to the deal that was made on Oct. 4.”

The final agreement does not include language Trump agreed to that the EPA will add ethanol gallons back into the nation’s gasoline supply based on the exemptions granted in the past three years. Instead the final rule says EPA will base oil refinery exemptions on Energy Department recommendations.

The ethanol industry and corn farmers who raise the grain that’s made into ethanol said the agreed upon language would have created market certainty by assuring the industry that it would meet the 15 billion gallons (56.78 billion liters) of corn-based ethanol for 2020 mandated by federal renewable fuel standard law.

Roughly 40% of U.S. corn is used to produce ethanol so fewer ethanol gallons means a reduced market for corn. The EPA issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4 billion gallons, (15.1 billion liters) according to the Renewable Fuels Association.

Ethanol and corn industry groups said language in the rule leaves too much at the whim of federal bureaucrats and could cause ethanol use to fall short.

Ethanol industry officials said at least 20 U.S. ethanol plants have closed at least temporarily since September 2018 due in part to the reduction of ethanol use in the nation’s fuel supply because of EPA policy.

“Instead of certainty, we are essentially being told to trust the EPA to uphold the RFS in the future even though for the past three years the EPA has routinely undermined the program,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw, who accused Trump of turning his back on farmers. “Every farmer and biofuel supporter I have talked to is deeply disappointed, frustrated, and quite frankly angry. I don’t think the White House truly understands the depth of discontent in farm country.”

The EPA said it has modified its refinery exemptions policy to ensure mandatory biofuels volumes are met and contends that the Trump administration has fulfilled its key promise to farmers and the industry.

“President Trump committed to our nation’s farmers that biofuel requirements would be expanded in 2020. At the EPA we are delivering on that promise and ensuring a net of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel are blended into the nation’s fuel supply," EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

Other critics hesitated to point the finger directly at Trump but indicated deep distrust that the EPA would uphold the law.

“I’d like to say I can trust EPA will follow through with their rule, but the agency continues to side with the oil industry,” said David Bruntz, a Friend, Nebraska, farmer and chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board.

He said the final rule also fails to include 500 million gallons (1.9 billion liters) of biofuels that a federal court in 2017 ordered EPA to restore back into the nation's fuel supply.

Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds refrained from criticizing Trump but said: "Wheeler should know we are not done holding him to the agreement we reached with President Trump in the Oval Office on Sept. 12.”

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa who was in one of the White House meetings when an agreement was struck said the final rule doesn’t reflect the agreement.

“Once again, EPA is playing games and not helping President Trump with farmers,” he said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 441935

Reported Deaths: 5885
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin918591461
Ramsey39405729
Dakota32551324
Anoka30638354
Washington19827221
Stearns17686184
St. Louis13453237
Scott1178693
Wright11485101
Olmsted1024870
Sherburne812364
Carver686636
Clay643278
Rice595266
Kandiyohi551069
Blue Earth533833
Crow Wing476573
Otter Tail449860
Chisago446331
Benton414885
Winona383946
Douglas370366
Nobles364646
Mower358026
Goodhue340757
Polk326754
McLeod321644
Morrison308743
Beltrami305746
Lyon298735
Itasca281143
Becker279438
Isanti279440
Carlton276942
Steele26879
Pine263813
Freeborn237219
Todd230029
Nicollet222136
Brown212334
Mille Lacs211645
Le Sueur206515
Cass203823
Meeker197433
Waseca187515
Martin168226
Wabasha16712
Roseau164916
Hubbard146937
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Houston133213
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Chippewa130632
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Fillmore12084
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Rock108511
Sibley10757
Aitkin106633
Watonwan10548
Faribault103214
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Pennington95915
Pipestone92522
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Jackson84510
Swift82617
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6968
Clearwater68114
Lac qui Parle65216
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Koochiching57910
Lincoln4771
Big Stone4513
Unassigned43568
Grant4247
Norman4218
Mahnomen4077
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Red Lake3154
Traverse2433
Lake of the Woods1741
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 300884

Reported Deaths: 4197
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk44949440
Linn17563269
Scott15228161
Black Hawk13552228
Woodbury12896175
Johnson1191749
Dubuque11229148
Pottawattamie8863112
Dallas874169
Story857433
Webster464768
Cerro Gordo458766
Sioux452451
Clinton445461
Warren430637
Marshall424561
Buena Vista389029
Muscatine382275
Des Moines377340
Plymouth347967
Wapello336796
Jasper315955
Lee310828
Marion298852
Jones268949
Henry262130
Carroll252233
Bremer240048
Crawford227622
Boone214116
Washington213531
Benton207543
Mahaska189936
Jackson189631
Tama184757
Dickinson183225
Delaware171136
Kossuth169241
Clay165319
Wright161724
Fayette157022
Buchanan156920
Hamilton156828
Hardin153129
Harrison152961
Winneshiek150819
Clayton149848
Cedar149119
Butler145423
Page143115
Floyd137236
Cherokee137125
Mills135216
Lyon133132
Poweshiek131024
Hancock127924
Allamakee125927
Iowa122122
Calhoun12159
Jefferson118623
Grundy118522
Winnebago117229
Madison11639
Mitchell114634
Louisa113729
Cass111741
Chickasaw110111
Sac110115
Emmet109931
Appanoose108838
Union107922
Humboldt103919
Guthrie102124
Shelby101026
Franklin99818
Unassigned9370
Palo Alto8969
Keokuk84225
Montgomery82722
Howard81119
Monroe79918
Pocahontas77211
Clarke7717
Ida73530
Greene6837
Davis68221
Adair68120
Lucas6458
Osceola6349
Monona62316
Taylor5889
Worth5873
Fremont5005
Van Buren49112
Decatur4744
Ringgold4229
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