The EPA has confirmed nine new petitions from oil refiners to skirt obligations from the Renewable Fuel Standard. That would bring the total to 98, including 67 retroactive exemption requests.
These additional requests are another punch in the gut for the ethanol industry, said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.
“It’s ludicrous—it’s astounding,” she said. “This administration has already granted 81 exemptions that has destroyed 4 billion gallons of demand, and now we’re looking 98 in the face. Oil companies are pouring gasoline on the fire, and the EPA seems content to watch it burn.”
She said the ethanol industry has been demanding that President Trump require EPA put out a clear signal to struggling rural economies.
“We’ve got to get a handle on these exemptions because there’s no path forward for us without them,” said Skor.
The ethanol industry was already struggling pre-pandemic. In the fall of 2019, plants were idling and laying off workers because of the exemptions that were already issued, said Skor.
“The ethanol industry is the economic engine for rural America,” she said. “Rural America is hurting, it’s suffering, and we’ve got to get back on our feet and back on track. The only way is through making sure we’ve got a strong ethanol industry.”
Skor said that every sign she’s seeing from Washington D.C. is that EPA will punt this decision.
“They’re going to delay decisions so they don’t have to deal with the politics of the decisions,” she said. “The unfortunate thing is that it’s further uncertainty for this ethanol marketplace at a time when we need this to end. We need the certainty. We need to get back onto a road to recovery.”