To the editor,
With coronavirus cases rising again across America, we’re seeing a new wave of uncertainty from consumers and varying degrees of shutdown in places that would otherwise be busy during these prime travel months. This has added a new layer of economic uncertainty for many industries, especially those in the biofuels sector. With fewer people moving around, demand has decreased tremendously, and farmers and ethanol plants are feeling the pain.
Adding to the struggles is the ongoing fight over Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refinery exemptions. These secret waivers allow oil producers to lock ethanol out of the fuel mix. And while exemptions have been given to major oil companies like Exxon and Chevron, it’s rural economies across the Corn Belt that pay the price. In total, over 4 billion gallons of ethanol demand have already been destroyed. Now, the EPA is reviewing 58 new waiver applications from refiners looking to evade court-ordered limits on the handouts by claiming retroactive exemptions for previous years – as far back as 2011.
Enough is enough. The administration must reject these new waiver requests and keep its promise to the hardworking farmers and biofuels workers across our state.