Noem Urges EPA to Reconsider Proposed Biofuels Rules

Source: By Kristin Wileman, Governor Noem's Office • Posted: Sunday, November 3, 2019

PIERRE, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz yesterday sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the agency to honor President Donald Trump’s commitment to follow the Renewable Fuel Standard.

As part of President Trump’s Oct. 4 announcement, he directed the EPA to restore the biofuels lost when the agency granted disproportionate small refinery waivers At the time of the announcement, Noem applauded the administration’s plan, calling it a “big win for producers.”

In their letter to the EPA, though, Noem and Governor Walz say that the agency’s proposed rules “demonstrate that EPA is oblivious to the harm it has caused.” In the past three years, the EPA has issued 85 small refinery waivers, representing a loss of over 4.3 billion gallons of biofuels.

“President Trump’s announcement to expand ethanol production would be an incredible shot in the arm for South Dakota’s farmers. It would increase the demand for corn and improve long-term agriculture stability,” said Noem. “This announcement is meaningless, though, if the EPA fails to honor the president’s direction and shirks its responsibility to American farmers. The EPA’s recently proposed rules fail to fix the problems they previously caused and once again do not enforce ethanol production requirements. I strongly urge Administrator Wheeler and EPA leadership to reconsider this approach and utilize actual exempted gallon data to ensure the support of farmers and ranchers in South Dakota and throughout the nation.”

“EPA chose to approve these waivers at a time when farmers and biofuel producers were already hurt by adverse weather conditions, flagging export market opportunities, and chronically low commodity prices. Approving these waivers when the agriculture economy was struggling represented a callous disregard for the economic interest our nation’s farmers,” Noem and Walz wrote in the letter.

The governors urged the agency to use a three-year rolling average of actual exempted gallons as the basis to estimate 2020 exempted volumes.

Noem is vice chair of the Governor’s Biofuels Coalition, a group of 21 governors who believe that increasing the use of clean-burning biofuels can decrease the nation’s dependence on imported energy resources, improve public health and the environment, and stimulate state economies.