It is the month of May in Indiana. It was only appropriate that the Indiana Corn Growers Association hold their High Octane Fuel Summit at Dallara IndyCar Factory on Thursday to discuss engines and ethanol with fuel retailers. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper was the keynote speaker.
“Indiana Corn should be applauded for putting that together. They had some retailers there, they even had a couple petroleum refineries there, and a broad cross section of stakeholders pulled together for a good conversation and I think it was very worthwhile.”
Cooper updated the crowd on ethanol policy, including the small refinery exemptions being issued by the EPA. The Renewable Fuel Standard allows for these waivers in case of hardship on the part of small oil companies not being able to meet the standard.
“It was not intended as a bailout to huge profitable oil companies like Chevron and Exxon Mobil who reportedly received these exemptions because they just happen to own a quote, unquote, small refinery that meets the criteria. So, we’re just asking to get back to a common sense approach on these things.”
Reports now say that EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is considering partial waivers as a potential compromise between the ethanol and oil industries. Cooper says that just isn’t going to cut it.
“The criteria is did the refinery experience disproportionate economic harm. It’s kind of a black and white, yes or no answer. It’s not they might have experienced half economic harm or something like that and therefore get half a waiver. That just doesn’t make any sense.”
At more than 1.1 billion gallons per year, Indiana stands as the fifth-largest U.S. producer of ethanol. The state generates 7.5 percent of the total U.S. ethanol output.