Trump Visiting “Ethanol Country” in Minnesota

Source: By Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor • Posted: Monday, August 17, 2020

Looking to catch the attention of those around President Donald Trump, the Renewable Fuels Association wanted to make it clear as the president visits Mankato, Minn., on Monday afternoon that was officially in “ethanol country.”

RFA bought a full-page ad in the Mankato Free Press and also took to social media welcoming President Trump but making it clear that the renewable fuels industry needs his support. The newspaper ad states, “Ethanol helps keep prices down at the pump and reduces America’s dependence on foreign oil.

“But, Mr. President, your Environmental Protection Agency is hurting renewable fuels by handing out waivers to big oil companies that exempt them from the requirements of the Renewable Fuels Standard.”

The ad asks Trump to tell EPA to stop handing out the waivers and uphold the RFS.

Politico reported on Monday that EPA now intends to stall any decisions on the Renewable Fuels Standard until after the election “for fear of triggering a backlash among farmers or the oil sector.”

EPA right now is late on its proposed rule for 2021 volume requirements under the RFS. Typically that rule is proposed in early summer and finalized in November. EPA has not said when the 2021 volume proposal will be submitted for public comment.

Then there are nearly 60 requests for small refinery exemptions meant to test the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from early in the year. The waiver requests by oil refiners go back to 2012. Last year, EPA issued 31 small refinery exemptions in mid-August, setting off anger in the ethanol industry.

RFA did not mention potential aid for ethanol producers in Congress also is tied up as House and Senate leaders are stalled in talks. A House bill passed in May had specific language to help the ethanol industry, but the Senate has not specified any direct aid going to ethanol producers.

Chris Clayton can be reached at Chris.Clayton@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

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