Some 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is refined into ethanol, but over the last two weeks, Covid-19 has joined a host of other disrupting factors to create what Geoff Cooper, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, calls “not just a perfect storm for ethanol, but a perfect tsunami.” Since the outbreak, ethanol prices have plunged to an all-time low of 88 cents a gallon and manufacturers are warning of more plant closures and reduced run rates.(No paywall)
President Trump will endanger his standing with farmers, who voted for him in landslide numbers in 2016, if his administration appeals a U.S. appellate court ruling against RFS exemptions, said ag and biofuel leaders on Wednesday.
With the EPA expected to act as soon as Friday, biofuel supporters have called for President Trump’s direct intervention to assure a market for 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol in 2020.
The EPA justified its exemption of 31 refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard in a two-page memorandum that it did not reveal for weeks, said a coalition of four biofuel groups and two farm groups in a challenge filed in a U.S. appeals court. The petition was filed at the same time biofuel backers are accusing the EPA of a “bait and switch” on promises to increase ethanol consumption.
The Trump administration is siding with Big Oil despite announcing a plan to increase ethanol consumption, farm state senators told the No. 2 USDA official on Thursday. “That’s a president that has chosen oil companies over family farmers,” said one of the critics, Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
The Trump administration “has yet ... to produce a concrete plan to meet the annual 15 billion-gallon requirement” for mixing corn ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply, said House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson on Wednesday.
As recently as Wednesday, President Trump lauded farmers as “great patriots” for their forbearance in the face of ag exports lost due to the Sino-U.S. trade war. A handful of corn and soybean farmers active in biofuels policy said on Thursday that there is less patience in farm country for the administration’s handling of the ethanol mandate.
Roughly ten days ago, Midwestern senators left a meeting with President Trump believing they had an agreement to solidify corn ethanol’s share of the gasoline market. Yet Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said on Tuesday he had no idea why the administration has not announced the plan, arguing “it ought …
A dozen lawmakers called on Wednesday for a review of the explosion in ethanol waivers awarded by the EPA in the past two years. In a letter to the Government Accountability Office, the lawmakers said many of the small-volume refineries that applied for waivers did not need them.