Ethanol and Farm Groups Getting Impatient for Answers

Cindy Zimmerman

In the wake of repeated promises and assurances from the Trump Administration, but no actions, ethanol stakeholder groups are running out of patience.

In a joint letter to President Trump today, the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, National Sorghum Producers, American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, and Renewable Fuels Association urged the administration to act immediately to restore the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and allow year-round sales of E15 and other mid-level ethanol blends. The groups also expressed concern that any benefit from year-round E15 sales and proper implementation of the RFS could be nullified if refiners are given further regulatory bailouts that undercut the spirit and intent of the law.

The letter follows comments made by Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on Aug. 29 that President Trump was anxious to get an answer on the RFS and E15 to announce.

“He said…we need to get this RFS straightened out and get E15 twelve months,” said Perdue. “He wants something done quickly. He said, ‘you get with that EPA Administrator and bring me something next week that I can announce.'”

Perdue comments at FPS18 RFS Rally

The day before, in an exclusive interview with RFD-TV on August 28, President Trump said “I’m going to be making some statements on that very soon. We’re working very hard on the ethanol situation.” He also said it was “complex because as you take care of ethanol, someone else gets hurt.”

RFD-TV Interview with Pres. Trump comments on ethanol

Last week, which was the week Secretary Perdue said the president wanted something to announce, the secretary told reporters,”We’re working feverishly to resolve the RFS issue…I think we can resolve it to the satisfaction of both our ethanol industry as well as our refinery industry,” Perdue said.

Audio from USDASecretary Perdue comments on RFS issue progress

But the farm and ethanol groups say time is running out for rural America, as corn prices are below the cost of production, while ethanol prices, RIN credit prices, and ethanol profit margins are falling.

“Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt already gave refiners far more than their end of a deal in the form of 2.25 billion gallons of biofuels demand destruction, and they are reaping the rewards of that windfall today,” the letter continued. “Now, with the corn and ethanol industries hurting, it’s rural America’s turn to get its end of the deal.”

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