Letter to the editor: EPA is not protecting farmers

Source: By Kel Butcher, The Morning Sun • Posted: Monday, September 23, 2019

Across the heartland, farm income is down by 45 percent since the end of 2019, and rural communities are suffering. Biofuel plants in the Midwest have idled production, and many have closed their doors permanently.

President Trump promised to put farmers first, but his Environmental Protection Agency is doing the opposite. Instead, the agency is granting so-called “hardship” waivers to multibillion-dollar oil giants like Chevron, allowing them to skirt federal blending laws, thus pushing biofuels out of the market.

Now more than ever, we need to push back against these anti-biofuel exemptions. Michigan farmers rely on the biofuels industry to provide a market for their crops, but these waivers have destroyed four billion gallons of ethanol demand, and that number keeps growing.

In Michigan, biofuels are a critical contributor to our economy, as they make up $614 million in state GDP. As the 12th largest ethanol producer in the nation, the Michigan ethanol industry supports 4,663 jobs and $321 million in annual income. We should not have to pay the price for the EPA’s handouts. We need President Trump’s EPA to deliver on his promises and end the abuse of these exemptions once and for all.

Kel Butcher