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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE September 4, 2019

News Release: September 4, 2019                                                                


Governors Recommend Steps President Trump Can Take to Reduce the Impact of EPA’s Small Refinery Waivers

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem Offer Ideas for the President’s Ethanol Initiatives

            Last week, President Trump announced that he would release “a giant package” of ethanol initiatives to boost ethanol demand damaged by recent refinery waivers.  The President said he would release his plan sometime this week.

Today, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem sent a letter to President Trump recommending actions the President might include in his plan to mitigate the effects of the small refinery waivers.  Governor Walz and Governor Noem are the chair and vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition.

“The recent approval of 31 additional small refinery waivers undermines the integrity of the RFS and harms our states’ agricultural communities, which have already been affected by the Administration’s tariffs,” the governors wrote.

“Since 2016, your Administration has issued 85 exemptions, representing a loss of over 4.3 billion gallons of ethanol.  We are hearing from farmers and renewable fuel producers that the waivers are the reason an increasing number of renewable fuel plants are closing or idling production.”  The governors suggested the President include the following initiatives in his plan:

  • Request that EPA add the lost gallons to the pending 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations proposed rule.
  • Initiate another Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program through USDA so states and private partners can match more federal funds and improve consumer access to renewable fuels.
  • Increase the minimum octane standard in gasoline to create an immediate market for more ethanol and eliminate the need to import octane.
  • Direct EPA to enforce the Clean Air Act requirement to replace the aromatic toxics in gasoline, which would allow refiners to use ethanol — a less expensive source of octane.

“Farmers, environmentalists, and consumers would all benefit from these actions,” the governors wrote.   Governor Walz and Governor Noem also offered to work with the Administration to find solutions to address the impact the waivers have had on the nation’s agriculture community and ethanol producers.


  • Larry Pearce (Coalition) 402-651-2948
  • Margaret Hart (Walz) 651-201-6131
  • Kristin Wileman (Noem) 605-773-4259


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Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.