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EPA Chief Defends Biofuel Waivers In Meeting With Farm Senators

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The head of the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency defended his agency’s expanded use of waivers exempting refineries from the nation’s biofuel law during a closed-door meeting with farm state senators last week, arguing the program has had no negative impact on ethanol demand, according to four sources with knowledge of the meeting. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler's comments are a sign he may resist an overhaul of the so-called Small Refinery Exemption program, which President Donald Trump last month ordered members of his Cabinet to review here based on complaints from the corn lobby. The EPA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are preparing to hold a cabinet-level meeting on the issue as soon as this week, two of the same sources said. Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, refineries must blend corn-based ethanol into their gasoline or buy credits from those that do – a policy meant to help farmers and cut U.S. petroleum imports. But small facilities can secure exemptions from the program if they can prove to the EPA that complying would cause them financial hardship. Since Trump took office, the EPA has more than quadrupled the number of waivers it has granted to refineries, saving the oil industry hundreds of millions of dollars, but enraging farmers who claim the move threatens demand for one of their staple products. Refiners dismiss the argument, saying ethanol demand has not been impacted.
 

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Is this like buying indulgences? :)

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"The U.S. ethanol industry is about to break under the weight of the Trump Administration's trade war with China and the surge in the number of small refineries exempted from the nation's biofuel laws" 

Todd Becker, CEO of Green Plains

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4 minutes ago, francoba said:

"The U.S. ethanol industry is about to break under the weight of the Trump Administration's trade war with China and the surge in the number of small refineries exempted from the nation's biofuel laws" 

Todd Becker, CEO of Green Plains

So, does it mean that some plants will slow down, some will shut down, some will shut down forever?
According to him, yes.

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3 hours ago, pinto said:

Clean Energy delivered 110 million gallons of biofuel in 2018 and claims to command 53 percent of the RNG market in the U.S.!

 

https://www.waste360.com/business-operations/clean-energy-fuels-grows-rng-infrastructure

 

Yes but that is biogas, not ethanol. I support both biogas and ethanol. Ethanol blends are somewhat popular in corn country where I live. 10% to 85% is often available. We often use it when the price is right.

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Once upon a time maze was mostly feed for livestock, with a minority part of the crop for human consumption. Propping up demand with artificial requirements in gasoline doesn't sound the like the free market we generally embrace. And yes, transitions off the government tit, direct or indirect, are painful. 

For years the minority communities had their votes taken for granted by the dems, thinking no way they'd vote republican. Over time someT shifted to vote republican, and many more just don't bother, being completed disenfranchised. I don't see the agra-biz embracing democrats, but the soy bean and hog biz has burn hurt by tariffs, and this isn't helping the corn business. Butz, the Secretary of Agriculture under Nixon, was the one who put the US on the path of growing silly amounts of corn. The corn grown for feed, high-frustose corn syrup, and ethanol is, IMHO, just about inedible. 

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The ethanol requirements in gasoline appear, to me, to be the results of pork politics by the corn growing states. This is essentially a bailout for corn producers.

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What if there were another way to make biofuel? Too bad so sad, doesn't count. So for instance if you're in Hawaii and use sugarcane? No joy, does NOT qualify for RFS as written. Pork is right and between ethanol and biodiesel, millions of bushels of corn are being redirected Away from food, causing problems in Mexico, which used to purchase our "maize" for their tortillas. Their prices for corn flour have gone up 500% since RFS was enacted. Admittedly, Americans don't really eat a lot of corn, other than some BBQ's during the summer. The rest primarily goes to export and animal feed. And corn syrup, lots and lots of corn syrup, why? Oh yes, the OTHER stupid laws about sugar. 

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