The American Farm Bureau Federation supports proposed renewable fuel volumes by the Environmental Protection Agency, but says small refinery waivers are eroding the volume obligations. The EPA is not replacing waived volumes from the exemptions, making the proposed targets unreachable. Andrew Walmsley, AFBF congressional relations director, says that while AFBF supports the proposed volumes, the increase in small refinery waivers is concerning.
“This is something that was intended for small refiners who were facing hardship. But, we’ve seen a huge uptick in the last two to three years in the use of small refinery exemption and it’s having a real impact to the ethanol industry and obviously to farmers and ranchers on what that does to demand both for ethanol and for the bushels of corn that goes in to making that ethanol.”
Including the most recent round of waivers, Walmsley says the exemptions have destroyed roughly four billion gallons of biofuels demand.
“This has a huge impact on our ethanol industry and our rural communities. We’ve seen the President tweet that we should expect a package here soon that agriculture will like. We have raised our concerns with the administration, so we are looking forward to seeing what the White House proposes.”
Walmsley says the White House has several options to restore demand.
“It would be nice to see those volumes restored. We’re not sure how far they’re going to be able to go on that. We obviously don’t think it will be far enough to make up for all that lost demand. But there might be some other things they are looking at, getting some of those blender pumps and infrastructure out to more of the country would be beneficial, and also maybe looking at incentives for flex-fuel vehicles.”