Economist expects “battle royal” over RFS in Washington

Source: By Larry Lee, Brownfields • Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2020

An ag economist expects Washington lawmakers will be revisiting the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Scott Irwin with the University of Illinois says, “I think we’re going to see the mother of all political battles over the RFS upcoming.”

Irwin tells Brownfield the crude oil refining industry has been shaken to its core with what’s going on, and in parallel, ag and the ethanol sector have been shaken to its core as well. “(What) we now have, the gauntlet has been laid down by the crude oil states or the big oils states if you like, putting forth a formal request to waive a part of the RFS mandates for 2020.”

Irwin expects the political battle between oil and agriculture states will be a “battle royal.” Irwin says, “Both sides are dug in. Both have their backs up against the wall financially, and it is going to be a real donnybrook in D.C. to see where the RFS comes out after this battle is over.”

Irwin tells Brownfield the oil industry, much like the dairy industry, couldn’t turn the spigot off fast enough when the coronavirus demand shift began, which was a factor in oil prices dipping into negative values this week.

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