INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA) and the Indiana Corn Growers Association (ICGA) along with 12 other Indiana farm, ethanol and biodiesel plants and allied industries wrote to Indiana’s congressional delegation expressing frustration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and to compel the lawmakers to action.
In a letter dated Sept. 12 and addressed to Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun as well as all nine of Indiana’s U.S. representatives, the ISA, ICGA and biofuels industry supporters explained that the EPA retroactively pulled more than 4 billion gallons of ethanol and biodiesel out of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) by granting Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) to nearly all oil refineries that asked for the special waiver. The RFS is a federal policy that requires oil refineries to blend corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel with petroleum to create the variety of gasoline and diesel selections that are available at the pump.
The RFS defines small oil refineries as companies with production of less than 75,000 barrels per day. However, the EPA has granted SREs to large-scale oil refiners such as ExxonMobil, Marathon and more. The result of these exemptions damages the viability of companies that produce clean, safe and inexpensive biofuels. On Aug. 9, EPA granted 31 new SREs retroactively from 2018 to several oil refineries. Within days, the largest U.S. ethanol producer, POET, closed a plant in Cloverdale, Ind. and cut production in nearly half of their other ethanol plants across the country. Biodiesel plants in Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Georgia were also shuttered following the Aug. 9 announcement.
“Our farmers and biofuels industry expect the RFS to be kept whole by accounting for waived gallons and bringing more transparency to EPA’s secret process,” the letter pressed to the federal lawmakers. “We ask that you urge President Trump to uphold his commitment to protect the RFS and support us by ensuring the EPA’s administration of the RFS does not undermine the law and the many benefits of renewable fuels.”
Indiana ranks as the fifth-largest producer of U.S. ethanol – generating more than 1.1 billion gallons per year. The Hoosier State produces 8.1 percent of the total U.S. ethanol output. Nearly half of Indiana’s corn crop goes toward ethanol production, which represents nearly $300 million in additional farmer income.
The EPA’s waivers negatively impact Indiana corn farmers by removing the obligation for refineries to blend biofuels reducing demand for biofuels and ultimately corn and soybeans. In 2018, the EPA had already waived 2.64 billion gallons of ethanol, which almost completely offset Indiana’s entire corn output from 2017.
More about the Indiana Soybean Alliance
The Indiana Soybean Alliance works to enhance the viability of Indiana soybean farmers through the effective and efficient investment of soybean checkoff funds and the development of sound policies that protect and promote the interest of Indiana soybean farmers. The ISA is working to build new markets for soybeans through the promotion of grain marketing, livestock, aquaculture, production research, biofuels, environmental programs, and new uses for soybeans. ISA is led by an elected farmer board that directs investments of the soybean checkoff funds on behalf of more than 28,000 Indiana soybean farmers and promotes policies on behalf of the nearly 600 dues paying members. Learn more at www.indianasoybean.com
More about the Indiana Corn Growers Association
The Indiana Corn Growers Association, which works with the state and federal governments to develop and promote sound policies that benefit Indiana corn farmers, consists of 9 farmer-directors who provide leadership to the organization on behalf of the nearly 600 ICGA members statewide. Learn more at www.incorn.org/icga.