Tag Archives: EPA

RELIANCE, SD — National Sorghum Producers hosted Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt in South Dakota today, holding a roundtable with area farmers and ethanol producers to address Renewable Fuels Standard concerns, the sorghum oil advanced biofuels pathway and EPA decisions that impact South Dakota farmers and ranchers.

NSP legislative committee member Adam Schindler and his family hosted the event on their sorghum, soybean, sunflower, wheat, cattle and corn farm near Reliance, touring fields with the Administrator in addition to the roundtable.

“We appreciate Administrator Pruitt for taking the time to listen to the concerns and challenges facing South Dakota producers,” Schindler said. “The changes in blending obligations related to RFS waivers are costing South Dakota farmers millions of dollars, and we hope to see the EPA take steps to resolve this issue and maintain the Administration’s commitment to renewable fuels.”

Tom Willis, NSP board director and CEO of Conestoga Energy, the largest end-market user of sorghum in the U.S., told Administrator Pruitt the EPA’s policies have brought the renewable energy space and row crop producers to the edge of abyss and most plants are struggling to make a profit today.

“Administrator Pruitt said he doesn’t want to pick winners and losers,” Willis said, “but EPA has already picked oil over rural America with his hardship RIN waivers.”

Administrator Pruitt also told the group an advanced pathway for sorghum oil use in biodiesel production will be finished by the end of June, which is anticipated news for sorghum producers.

“We have worked on this sorghum oil pathway for almost four years now,” NSP CEO Tim Lust said. “That is long enough. Our growers deserve to finally see this pathway in the Federal Register, and we look forward to Pruitt following through this month on his commitment.”

This was the second stop on Pruitt’s tour in the heartland, hearing about the impacts of ethanol policy on farmers and ethanol producers.

“There are clearly still differences of opinion between the Administrator and agriculture on the impact of RIN prices on commodity prices,” Lust said. “We look forward to continuing that discussion and appreciate the free exchange today. There is undoubtedly a lot of work left to do with Administrator Pruitt and the Administration quantifying how much this issue is impacting commodity markets and affecting our growers.”

Washington (June 4, 2018) —  Today a coalition of biofuel and agriculture groups petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to change its regulations to account for lost volumes of renewable fuel resulting from the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions from Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) obligations recently granted by EPA. The parties on the petition are the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Growth Energy (Growth), National Biodiesel Board (NBB), National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), and National Farmers Union (NFU).

This petition comes days after several ethanol and farm groups challenged three specific small refinery exemptions granted by EPA. While the lawsuit in the Tenth Circuit challenged those exemptions as wrongly decided, this petition to EPA seeks a broader, forward-looking remedy to account for the collective lost volumes caused by the unprecedented number of retroactive small refinery exemptions.

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has had a fire sale on small refiner exemptions for anyone with a stamp and an envelope, making a mockery of the President’s commitment to a 15-billion-gallon RFS for conventional biofuel. This must end. We take no pleasure in having to litigate to protect the integrity of the RFS, but it appears we have no other recourse,” said RFA CEO Bob Dinneen.

The existing regulation for calculating the annual percentage of renewable fuels to be blended into transportation fuel does not provide a means to “true up” the annual standards for any retroactive small refinery exemptions, i.e., exemptions granted after the renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for that year have been finalized. As a result, any volumes covered by such exemptions are lost.

But EPA’s continued use of its regulation in the face of its recently and greatly expanded use of retroactive small refinery exemptions is now arbitrary and capricious. News reports within the last 60 days reveal a flood of more than two dozen retroactive small refinery hardship exemptions have already been granted this year.

“While our preference would be for EPA to follow the rule of law and make good on the President’s repeated promises to support the RFS, Administrator Pruitt continues to hand small refinery waivers out like trick-or-treat candy so we are left with no other choice than to ask the Court to uphold the RFS as the law of the land,” said ACE CEO Brian Jennings.

“These lost volumes are having a negative effect on the nation’s corn growers at a time when net farm income is projected to hit its lowest point in 12 years,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “When EPA waives these volumes, that translates into lost demand opportunities for corn growers, who expect that EPA should implement and enforce the RFS as intended by Congress.”

“The demand destruction that we are seeing as a consequence of these small refiner waivers has got to stop,” said Roger Johnson, President NFU. “Our nation’s farm families count on the RFS to stimulate demand, and we must hold EPA accountable for its recent subversive actions to undo years of progress.”

“Because EPA issued these retroactive exemptions under the cover of night, our organizations had no choice but to take steps that we hope will bring more transparency and accountability to the small refiner exemption process,” said Donnell Rehagen, CEO, NBB. “This petition is intended to shine some light on a process that has been shrouded in darkness and secrecy, and ensure EPA adopts a process for evaluating waiver petitions that remains faithful to the spirit and intent of the law.”

“The EPA’s dramatically expanded practice of granting small refinery exemptions and failing to reallocate the obligations undermines the RFS and has already reduced volume obligations by hundreds of millions of gallons,” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said. “America’s farmers are the ultimate victims of the agency’s giveaways to refiners, and this abuse of power has to stop.”

“EPA’s retroactive waivers have cut more than a billion gallons from the renewable fuel obligations for 2016 and 2017, which has a devastating impact on advanced biofuels. The excess RINs from EPA’s waivers will continue to suppress demand for advanced biofuels for 2018 and 2019,” said Brent Erickson, Executive Vice President of BIO.

RFA, ACE, NBB, Growth, NCGA, BIO, and NFU also filed suit in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on the same issue. However, the petitioners at the same time requested that the court stay proceedings for a period of time.

OMAHA (DTN) — The EPA has extended the public comment period on a proposal to require science that can be replicated in rulemaking, after a number of the more than 96,400 commenters online asked for an extension.

The deadline for comments currently is May 30, for the proposed rule, “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” The rule proposes using just publicly available data. Critics of the measure are concerned that research involving intellectual property or with privacy concerns could be withheld from EPA rulemaking.

On Thursday, the agency announced an extension of the public comment period from May 30 to Aug. 17, set to be published in the Federal Register. The agency has scheduled a July 17 public hearing in Washington, D.C.

“EPA is committed to public participation and transparency in the rulemaking process,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a news release. “By extending the comment period for this rule and holding a public hearing, we are giving stakeholders the opportunity to provide valuable input about how EPA can improve the science underlying its rules.”

Pruitt drew the ire of environmental and science groups when he announced the rule on April 24. “The era of secret science at EPA is coming to an end,” he said in a news release at the time. “The ability to test, authenticate, and reproduce scientific findings is vital for the integrity of rulemaking process. Americans deserve to assess the legitimacy of the science underpinning EPA decisions that may impact their lives.”

In a May 1 letter to EPA, CropLife America, the lead lobbying organization for the pesticide industry, asked for an extension of the rule to mid-July because of its complexities. The change in science used by EPA “likely will have far-reaching implications for CLA members whose products are closely regulated as part of the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs pesticide registration and registration review processes,” CropLife America wrote. “The current timeframe is inadequate to provide detailed, thoughtful analysis of this proposed rule and its potential implications.”

CropLife America was joined by a number of groups and members of Congress in asking for an extension of the public comment period. That includes the Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Defense Fund, Southern Environmental Law Center, Chesapeake Bay Foundation and more than 80 members of Congress, among others.

“In its proposed rule, the agency solicits comments on a wide variety of complex scientific and technical issues that require careful and in-depth analysis by many public stakeholders,” the Union of Concerned Scientists said in an April 30 letter. “In addition, as EPA provided no analysis of the potential impacts of its proposal, the public will need to have additional time to consider what kinds of research could be excluded from the rulemaking process and what consequences this would have for public health and environmental protection.”

The group said previous administrations have allowed much longer comment periods on complex regulations.

When the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush attempted to write guidance on risk assessment in 2006, “they invited comment for six months and asked for review of the proposal by the National Academy of Sciences,” the group said.

Even prior to the release of the proposal this spring, a group of about 1,000 scientists wrote the agency expressing opposition.

A group of 64 members of Congress asked for an extension in a May 3 letter to Pruitt.

“Regardless of viewpoint, there is agreement that the proposed rule would be a significant change in how the agency considers science in policymaking,” they wrote. “Organizations, scientists, industries, and members of the public deserve additional time to understand how this policy shift may impact them.”

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, a leading supporter of corn-based ethanol, says he’ll call for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s resignation if Pruitt doesn’t work to fulfill federal ethanol mandates.

Grassley is showing frustration with Pruitt’s lack of action to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standards law.

On a conference call with agriculture reporters Tuesday Grassley said Pruitt had better follow through with ethanol mandates or “I’m going to be calling for Pruitt to resign because I’m done playing around with this.”

Grassley says President Donald Trump has committed to upholding 15 billion gallons of ethanol to be mixed into the nation’s fuel supply but Pruitt has been allowing refineries to evade some of that commitment by issuing waivers. Grassley says that has reduced ethanol content to 13.8 billion gallons.