EPA Approves Year-round E15, but Continues to Give Exemptions to Refineries

Like all things in farming these days, every bit of good news seems to be followed by a cause for concern.

The recent announcement allowing E15 fuel to be sold year-round is certainly a win for South Dakota farmers. However, the EPA’s ongoing policy of issuing Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to refineries continues to negate our hard-fought gains.

Year-round E15 could boost the market for American grain by an additional two billion bushels. However, South Dakota Corn cautions that the ongoing mismanagement of the RFS through small refinery exemptions (SREs) could essentially erase any benefit of year-round E15. Last year, highly profitable oil refineries received at least 2.61 billion gallons worth of exemptions, allowing them to avoid blending biofuels with gasoline.

The EPA granted 54 exemptions to refineries for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years and has 40 waiver petitions pending for 2018. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has not denied a single SRE request.

“The impact of these exemptions is troubling,” says SDCGA Executive Director Lisa Richardson. “Two point six billion gallons of ethanol represents nearly 900 million bushels of corn grind—that’s more than what the entire state of South Dakota produces in a typical year.”

“Year-round E15 is a huge win for farmers and consumers,” says Richardson. “However, it won’t mean anything if the EPA keeps lowering the RFS and giving oil companies exemptions from the mandate.”

SDCGA encourages farmers to contact the EPA and voice their concern to stop the RFS waivers. Farmers can call the EPA at 1-202-272-0167 or visit https://www.epa.gov/home/forms/contact-epa.

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