President Champions Year-Round E15 Sales as Perdue Tells Committee EPA Actions Hurt Farmers

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN/Progressive Farmer • Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018

OMAHA (DTN) — At a White House meeting Thursday focusing on agriculture and trade, President Donald Trump said his administration will approve a long-standing demand of the biofuels industry and allow 15% ethanol blends to be sold year-round.

Talking briefly to reporters, the president said regarding ethanol, “We’re going to raise it up to 15% and raise it to a 12-month period.”

Trump’s brief comment came after news reports last week surfaced that EPA granted small-refinery hardship waivers at a breakneck pace in 2017.

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, who has been part of the talks on the state of the Renewable Fuels Standard, joined a chorus of voices questioning EPA’s use of those waivers.

Perdue was called to testify before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, talking about the 2019 USDA budget.

The agency is under fire from biofuels groups for granting a total of about 40 waivers in 2016 and 2017.

“As you know, we have a statutory volume of 15 billion gallons, and those waivers reduce that gallon for gallon,” Perdue told the committee.