Tag Archives: ethanol

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Farmers and ethanol producers gave Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt a rough reception in South Dakota, accusing him of undermining the industry that’s a key part of the state’s economy.

About 200 people rallied in Sioux Falls on Wednesday, urging Pruitt to support federal ethanol mandates, the Argus Leader reported. They criticized him for granting waivers to oil producers that allow them to ignore ethanol-blending rules. The renewable fuel standards have for years been essential to driving ethanol production.

“We’re here today to bring awareness to everyone in the state of South Dakota and the Upper Midwest that the administrator is not doing his job,” Houghton-area farmer Troy Knecht said.

Meanwhile, Pruitt toured a farm in Reliance and spoke with about 50 farmers. He told the group it’s important to understand that the EPA works with other government agencies to determine who receives a waiver.

“It’s not a decision the EPA makes in isolation,” he said. He said the agency has seen “a spike in applications.”

“A spike? That’s more than a spike. That’s a moonshot,” farmer David Fremark told Pruitt.

Many farmers who spoke to Pruitt said they felt the waiver increase was hurting their farms and their income, the Mitchell Daily Republic reported . Pruitt’s visit to the farm wasn’t publicized and was closed to the public. A Daily Republic reporter was turned away but later allowed access.

“Two of these companies that they handed waivers to made over a billion dollars last year,” Fremark told the newspaper. “I don’t know what kind of hardship that is, but it’s not like the hardship that I’m used to on the farm.”

Pruitt joked about his reception.

“As I came to South Dakota, there were a few billboards greeting me, and they didn’t say ‘I hope you’re having fun,'” Pruitt said. Instead, the administrator said he saw messages imploring him to support ethanol over big oil.

GARNETT, Kan. — Kansas’ ethanol stakeholders participated in discussions with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt at East Kansas Agri-Energy, LLC on Tuesday morning to review the current state of the ethanol industry and how EPA decisions are impacting Kansas farmers and ethanol processors.

Renew Kansas board member and President/CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, Bill Pracht, provided a tour of the facility’s ethanol and renewable diesel operations before turning the event over to a lively standing-room-only conversation on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We thank Administrator Pruitt for coming to Kansas and listening to our concerns and current challenges,” Renew Kansas Chairman and Western Plains Energy CEO Derek Peine, said. “His commitment to year-round E15 sales and reallocation of refinery waivers to the RFS obligations to account for lost demand is appreciated; but until action and results are seen, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Kansas agriculture will be watching to make sure Pruitt lives up to the commitments he made today and that he follows through on the repeated commitments President Trump has made to renewable fuels.”

Corn growers and ethanol supporters explained the problems EPA has caused by decreasing demand for ethanol. Pruitt explained he had to grant the small refinery exemptions because of a recent court ruling allowing refiners to only show financial hardship, but did not articulate how financial hardship was defined.

Renew Kansas President and CEO Ron Seeber noted, “Administrator Pruitt learned, without a doubt, that the industry is frustrated. We hope this is a wakeup call to the administration that the farm belt is watching and seeking unbiased biofuel leadership.”

Pruitt thanked each person in attendance and said he supported an RVP waiver that would allow year-round E15 sales and believes EPA has the authority to grant it, eventually. Pruitt also thought the gallons in the refinery waivers should be reallocated to the RFS obligations to account for lost demand.

Under Administrator Pruitt’s guidance, EPA has granted 1.6 billion gallons in waivers, with an estimated economic impact of $5.3 billion in lost markets for ethanol, corn and RINs. A RIN is assigned to every gallon of ethanol blended to prove compliance with the RFS law which provides market access for ethanol.

Sioux Falls, SD (June 6, 2018) – American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings released the following statement following news that President Trump decided to indefinitely delay a memo proposing changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) including allowing refiners to get RIN credits on exports of renewable fuel.

“ACE extends our gratitude to Republican and Democratic Senators, especially Iowa Senators Grassley and Ernst, for convincing the White House not to proceed with changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. We appreciate the President in this case sided with farmers over oil refiners and EPA Administrator Pruitt. We also thank our grassroots members who contacted their Members of Congress and the White House.

“Granting RVP relief for E15 in exchange with export RIN credits for refiners would have unquestionably been a loss for rural America and consumers because the benefits of selling E15 year-round would have been wiped out by export RINs.

“Where does this leave us today?

“The President has promised to allow E15 use year-round but EPA has failed to make good on his promise. Meanwhile, EPA’s misuse of the RFS has resulted in at least 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol demand destruction through small refinery waivers which have driven RIN values down by more than 70 percent this year. ACE has joined with allies to litigate the ‘hardship’ waivers but damage has already been done as ethanol blending is down despite the fact that gasoline use is on the rise. We need EPA to follow through on the President’s promise that E15 use will be allowed year-round and to stop the secret refinery waivers. We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to grow demand for ethanol.”

Lincoln, NE — In a ​letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, 55 community leaders from​
across the Midwest offered their support to combat “special interests seeking to undercut homegrown biofuels and deprive
American farmers of a vital market for U.S. crops.” Among the signers were 11 public officials from Nebraska, including State
Senators Williams, Hughes, Watermeier, Linehan, Brasch, Briese, Kolterman, Lowe and Friesen, Regent Paul Kenney and
Geneva City Council President Eric Kamler.
The officeholders noted that farm income stands at a 12-year low, leaving “too many families struggling, concerned about foreclosure or worse.” They also cautioned that “the ripple effect of an agricultural decline won’t be limited to rural communities.” To restore growth, they urged Secretary Perdue to act swiftly on the president’s pledge to lift outdated Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions against the summer-time sales of E15, a motor fuel containing 15 percent ethanol. Biofuels like
ethanol play a central role in driving Nebraska agricultural revenues and rural manufacturing.
“The rules were drafted long before lower-cost E15 was introduced, resulting in standards that restrict E15 while permitting less
eco-friendly options to be sold all year​ ,” wrote the community leaders. “A fix cannot come soon enough – for farmers, for biofuels  producers, or for drivers who prefer to save money while supporting clean air and American jobs.”
The letter was offered in a show of support for an ongoing campaign​
​ organized by Growth Energy, America’s leading trade
association of biofuel producers and supporters. Under Growth Energy’s leadership, rural advocates from across the country
have urged policymakers in Washington to unleash America’s vast renewable resources to lower fuel prices, strengthen U.S.
energy security, protect the climate, and put an end to a farm crisis that threatens to put an entire generation of farmers out of
“Starting June 1, outdated federal regulations cut off millions of drivers from a lower-cost fuel that supports farmers and rural
manufacturing,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, referring to the EPA rules on Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP)​
​. “President Trump promised Midwest lawmakers​
​ that he would fast-track a fix, and Secretary Perdue is working with the Environmental Protection Agency on a solution, but time is running out. Farmers cannot afford to be locked out of the market for another driving season, especially when we could be holding down quickly-rising gas prices​​.”
In their letter, Midwest officials stressed that farming communities are counting on Secretary Perdue “to be rural America’s most
powerful voice in the White House and at the table with the EPA,” where a fix has remained stalled since it was first promised by Administrator Scott Pruitt in 2017.​ “E15 makes sense, it’s homegrown, renewable and cheaper. Plus it really adds value to the number one industry in our state.”
said Senator Curt Friesen of Henderson, NE, who signed the letter to Secretary Perdue.

Industry and government officials from 17 countries in Asia and Oceania met this week in Minneapolis with members of the U.S. ethanol industry and U.S. officials at the Ethanol Summit of the Asia Pacific, focused on current and future prospects for expanded ethanol use throughout the region.

The event, sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), highlighted the use of ethanol in transportation fuels to help meet challenges, including improving air quality, upgrading the current fuel supply and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It was book ended by a pre-tour of ethanol plants in Minnesota and post-tours that took four teams of producers, traders, government officials and business people to Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Wisconsin for an on-the-ground experience including stops at gas stations, feedlots, farms and, of course, additional ethanol plants.

Pre-tours in Minnesota provided Summit participants with first hand knowledge of U.S. ethanol production. USGC Chairman Deb Keller took a quick break from corn planting on her farm in Iowa to welcome participants from 17 countries to the Summit. 
Attendees hit the road after the Summit to tour ethanol plants in four states.  Post-Summit tours also included visits with local corn farmers to provide their perspectives on the importance of ethanol to the local economy. 

Globally, the Council works to expand the use of ethanol based on these economic and environmental benefits, in partnership with customers as well as U.S. industry partners, Growth Energy and RFA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state corn organizations.

“We know we can produce the cheapest, cleanest octane in the world,” said Jim Galvin, CEO and director of Lakeview Energy, who was the event’s keynote speaker and is the leader of the Council’s Ethanol Advisory Team. “We need to collaborate and we need to deliver on the potential of our industry.”

The Summit encouraged senior-level officials and industry leaders to find ways to expand the global use of ethanol while developing policies with a role for trade. The two-day conference included views and analysis on the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ethanol road map, which consists of best practices for developing an ethanol industry; the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) perspective on ethanol policy, trade and collaboration; ethanol case studies from Vietnam and the Philippines; ethanol research in Japan; and the development of ethanol policy and use in China.

The post-tours followed a familiar and successful model for the Council: providing hands-on experience and access to local experts who work every day with grains, ethanol and their related products.

“We appreciate our state partners hosting these important groups of high-level officials from Asia so they have a better understanding of our ethanol story in the U.S.,” said Deb Keller, U.S. Grains Council Chairman and Iowa farmer, in a release about the post-tours.

“Allowing these representatives to see the entire ethanol value chain – from farmers to industry – will give them a clearer idea of how ethanol contributes meaningfully to the environmental, human health and economic benefits of those who use them.”

Learn more about the Ethanol Summit of the Asia-Pacific here or read more about post-Summit tours in IowaNebraska, Kansas and Wisconsin.

Learn more about the Council’s work on ethanol export promotion here.

On Friday, Governor Pete Ricketts celebrated Renewable Fuels Month during a ribbon cutting event at Bosselman Travel Center in Grand Island. At the event, Governor Ricketts pumped gas for motorists, highlighting the new flex fuel pumps now offering a variety of ethanol blends at Bosselman Travel Center.

“Corn ethanol and soy biodiesel not only help build demand for Nebraska’s crop farmers, but they also help build our state’s economy and create local jobs,” said Governor Ricketts. “Just this week, I visited with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue about the importance of higher ethanol blends, and I will continue to encourage the Trump administration to act quickly on the approval of the use of E-15 all year long. With infrastructure like the pumps we just launched in Grand Island, we will continue to grow demand for our locally-produced, clean-burning ethanol products.”

Governor Ricketts has been a constant advocate for Nebraska’s biofuel industry. He has served as chairman of the Governor’s Biofuels Coalition, testified before the Environmental Protection Agency in support of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) twice, and successfully worked to recruit new investment in the state’s biofuels infrastructure and industry.

Over 90 percent of all fuel in Nebraska is blended with locally-produced ethanol. This homegrown industry supports over 1,300 jobs across the state and 25 ethanol plants. The ethanol industry promotes higher prices for corn, soybeans, and other agricultural products as well, supporting the agriculture industry at large. In 2017, over 2.1 billion gallons of ethanol and nearly 6.4 million metric tons of distillers grains were produced in Nebraska.

With more than 1 billion gallons being produced across the country, soy biodiesel is another important biofuel for Nebraska. Like ethanol, biodiesel burns cleaner than petroleum diesel, is locally produced, and helps our nation’s farmers. Biodiesel adds $0.74 per bushel to the value of soybeans, and the industry supports more than 60,000 U.S. jobs and $2.6 billion in wages.

“Nebraska’s ethanol industry is really a win for everyone,” said Dave Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from St. Edward. “By using ethanol, we are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting cancer-causing toxic chemicals from entering into our atmosphere, which makes our air cleaner to breathe. Additionally, we produce a locally-grown feed for our livestock industry.”

“Bosselman Enterprises is among several key marketing partners working with Nebraska biofuel producers to offer a wider range of cleaner-burning fuel products,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “This new infrastructure provides greater access to high performance renewable fuels at a lower cost to consumers. Consumers save money at the pump, the agricultural sector benefits from increased demand for ag products, our economy benefits from fuel cost savings, and we have more choices at the pump.”

“As a Nebraska farmer, I feel a great amount of pride in the work we all do to provide our world with a safe and abundant supply of food, fuel, and fiber,” said Tony Johanson, chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board and farmer from Oakland. “We know we need to ensure the sustainability of our planet, but how sustainable are we if we are burning fossil fuels? By producing and using renewable fuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, we were able to replace the need for 540 million barrels of imported crude oil and 2.9 million gallons of imported petroleum diesel in 2017. That is significant.”

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.

Washington, D.C. – President Donald Trump, Tuesday, reaffirmed he will approve year-round sales of 15-percent ethanol fuels without a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) cap. However, he has asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to work out the details on an additional item: Reallocating RINs from exempted small refinery gallons to ethanol exports.

“We appreciate the Trump Administration’s strong support of the Renewable Fuel Standard, but the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is concerned any move that would relate RINs to exporting ethanol could be severely detrimental to the competitiveness of ethanol exports and would harm the U.S. grains industry,” said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO. “We believe RINs for exported ethanol could be perceived as an export subsidy, against our World Trade Organization obligations. They could put a target on our back globally.”

U.S. ethanol producers are some of the most cost-competitive industries in the world, and as such, believe in free and fair trade within the global marketplace. Last year, ethanol exports reached a record high of 1.37 billion gallons.

“We are already seeing the impact of trade policy barriers on ethanol exports and we would like to have the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) look at the implications of export credits for RINs,” Sleight said.

OMAHA (DTN) — The White House is ready to allow year-round E15 fuel sales and plans to reallocate ethanol gallons lost as a result of small refinery waivers granted by EPA in recent years, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, announced following a closed-door White House meeting on Tuesday. E15 fuel is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% of gasoline.

It appears any proposal to cap the price for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) is no longer on the table, Grassley said. In addition, the EPA and USDA are expected to consider a proposal to attach RINs to ethanol exported out of the United States, a source with knowledge of the meeting told DTN on background.

EPA has taken heat for an increase in the number of waivers granted to small refiners in recent years. Ethanol producers have said the waivers have led to lost ethanol demand. At least 40 waivers issued by EPA in the past two years have led to a recent decline in RIN prices.

EPA reportedly will examine how to reallocate RFS gallons lost by a recent spate of waivers granted in the past few years.

When waivers are granted, EPA is obligated to reallocate the gallons to other obligated parties to the RFS. This is required to be completed prior to setting renewable volume obligations for a given year. That was not done in 2016 and 2017.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took to Twitter to laud the meeting as a win for oil, ethanol and corn interests.

Cruz was part of the White House meeting between Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Pat Toomey, R-Pa., President Donald Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

“Terrific final decision from @POTUS meeting: E15, year-round plus RINs for all exports. This is a WIN-WIN for everyone. More corn will be sold (good for farmers), plus lower RINs (saves blue-collar refinery jobs), plus more ethanol exports (good for America),” Cruz tweeted out.

Grassley was more guarded in a tweet, saying nothing about attaching RINs to exports: “Had WH mtg on RFS/ethanol. No RIN cap & got E15 yr round. Need to see Perdue+Pruitt plan. Devil in details.”

In a statement to DTN, Grassley said the White House’s actions will help agriculture.

“President Trump agreed to allow for the sale E15 year-round,” he said. “That’s good news for farmers and consumer choice at the pump. Allowing higher blends of ethanol to be sold in the summer months fits in well with EPA’s deregulatory agenda. There was also an agreement to not pursue an artificial cap on RIN prices, which would have destroyed demand for biofuels and hurt biofuels workers.

“I told the president and Administrator Pruitt that EPA’s ‘hardship’ waivers for billionaires are hurting biofuels and undermining the RFS. They also undercut the president’s commitment to meet the annual 15-billion-gallon volume obligation set by Congress under the RFS. There was discussion about how to reallocate the waived obligations so that demand for biofuels wouldn’t be hurt. While details weren’t decided, I look forward to reviewing a plan being developed by Secretary Perdue and Administrator Pruitt. Any fix can’t hurt domestic biofuels production.”

The full implementation of E15 will not happen overnight as it still faces a number of roadblocks to full market expansion.

Brooke Coleman, executive director of the Advanced Biofuels Business Council, said in a statement to DTN, “President Trump scored a big win by putting a final nail in the coffin of the refinery-backed RIN cap scheme. We’re also encouraged that the White House has told EPA Administrator Pruitt to get to work immediately on a long-overdue fix to summer regulations that limit sales of E15.”

Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, questioned how fast EPA might act on E15 because if some kind of approval is not achieved by then, then year-round E15 would not come until 2019 at the earliest.

“The only way they could do it now is to do an emergency rule, otherwise you have lost E15 for this summer,” Johnson told DTN.


As for examining the possibility of attaching RINs to exports, the idea was proposed by Valero Energy Corp. in 2017 and opposed by ethanol interests. The RINs program is designed to spark domestic blending of ethanol and there are concerns that attaching RINs to exports undermines the RFS.

In an Oct. 19, 2017 letter to Midwest senators, Pruitt said the agency would not pursue the RINs export proposal (https://www.ernst.senate.gov/…).

Growth Energy Chief Executive Officer Emily Skor said in a statement to DTN the idea would harm agriculture and biofuels.

“Attaching a RIN to ethanol exports would have a crippling impact on American agriculture, significantly reducing demand for ethanol and corn,” she said.

“It would also have major trade implications, as export RINs would be considered a subsidy by our global trading partners, who will likely challenge this as unnecessary advantage to U.S. ethanol.”

Renewable Fuels Association President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said the RFA continues to oppose the idea of attaching RINS to exports.

“The notion of allowing exported ethanol to count toward an oil company’s RFS obligation is extremely problematic,” Dinneen said in a statement. “Depending on potential implementation, allowing exports to qualify for RFS compliance could dramatically reduce domestic ethanol demand, while most certainly resulting in retaliatory trade barriers from the countries importing U.S. ethanol. Our trade partners in the international market certainly would not understand why the lowest-priced ethanol in the world requires an export subsidy.”

Dinneen said the “real disgrace” would be that “ethanol producers and farmers would bear the brunt of any retaliatory tariffs.”

EPA previously rendered a ruling on such a proposal, “if a gallon of ethanol is produced in the U.S. but consumed outside of the U.S., the RIN associated with that gallon is not valid for RFS compliance purposes since the RFS program is intended to require a specific volume of renewable fuel to be consumed in the U.S.”

Small refiners have decried the costs to comply with the RFS, spending many millions of dollars to buy RIN credits. Most notably, Philadelphia Energy Solutions filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy based by-and-large on what it said was exorbitant RIN costs. The waivers issued by EPA has driven down the price of RINs.