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Farmers not happy with ethanol dealFarmers not happy with ethanol deal

Legislative Watch: EPA releases details on ethanol waivers; U.S.-Japan trade agreement takes step forward; livestock risk management help.

P. Scott Shearer

October 25, 2019

3 Min Read
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Farmers and the renewable fuels industry are not happy with the details EPA recently released regarding ethanol and waivers. They say it does not keep the promise President Trump made to boost the ethanol and biodiesel markets. 

The proposed EPA rule provides the details of the deal announced earlier this month that was intended to offset the lost demand for ethanol due to the federal waivers for small oil refiners. EPA said it will use a three-year average to calculate the lost demand based on the number of gallons the Department of Energy recommended exempting instead of the gallons actually waived. Earlier the Trump administration said it would use the actual gallons waived. 

The difference between DOE’s recommendation and actual gallons waived by EPA is significant. DOE recommended waivers for 770 million gallons. EPA approved waivers for 1.4 billion gallons. 

The National Corn Growers Association said, “This proposal doesn’t provide farmers confidence in EPA’s ability to follow through and make this right. President Trump made a commitment to farmers and instructed the EPA to follow the law, but this proposal appears to come up short again.”                                      

The Renewable Fuels Association in a statement said, “Simply put, this proposal is not what was promised by the administration just over a week ago and fails to answer President Trump’s personal call for a stronger conventional biofuel requirement of more than 15 billion. It is our hope that President Trump will personally intervene again to get the RFS back on track and ensure his EPA honors the commitments that were made.”

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told President Trump during a cabinet meeting this week that farmers will come to like EPA’s plan. He said, “Once they fully understand what you’ve done here, they’ll be fine as they see it implemented.”

A coalition of farm and renewable fuel organizations filed a petition this week with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging the process by which EPA exempted certain small refiners for 2018. 

The coalition said, “Even as the Trump Administration indicates it is taking steps to account for future small refinery exemptions, the coalition remains concerned that EPA’s abuse of the small refinery exemption program diverges from the spirit and letter of the Clean Air Act. From a substantive and procedural perspective, this is not the way for a federal agency to make such a momentous decision.”

Members of the coalition are the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union and Renewable Fuels Association. 

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change will hold a hearing next week on “Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration’s Abuse of Secret Waivers.” 

U.S.-Japan trade agreement takes step forward
The U.S.-Japan trade agreement is moving towards approval. The agreement received cabinet-level approval in Japan last week. 

It will now be considered by the Japanese Parliament later this year. The U.S. Congress does not need to vote on the agreement.

Livestock risk management help
Legislation has been introduced by Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD) to help livestock producers with risk management training. The “Livestock Risk Management and Education Act,” would provide grants to certain state land-grant universities that would be used to improve livestock producers’ knowledge of futures markets to better manage market volatility. 

Congressman Johnson said, “Producers already face an uphill battle of unpredictable weather, understanding cattle prices doesn’t need to be an added challenge. The Livestock Risk Management and Education Act will supply producers with the tools needed to anticipate highs and lows in the futures markets.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and American Farm Bureau Federation support the legislation.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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