Tag Archives: ethanol

LINCOLN, Neb. – A delegation of 19 industry leaders from Mexico were in Nebraska this week to gain a better understanding of the U.S. ethanol sector. From Oct. 16-18, the delegation toured all facets of Nebraska’s ethanol industry, from cornfield to fuel retailer.

 

On the first day of their trip, the group was provided with an overview of Nebraska’s agricultural and ethanol industries before they traveled to Giltner and visited Hunnicutt Farms. At the farm, the team learned about corn, seed corn, popcorn and soybean production. Through the discussions, the delegation was introduced to cutting-edge technologies in American agriculture and were able to better understand how some farmers utilize irrigation equipment.

 

“By bringing this group onto our farm, we’re able to really lay the foundation and show how renewable ethanol is and how easy it is to incorporate into a nation’s fuel supply,” said Brandon Hunnicutt, vice-chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and co-owner of Hunnicutt Farms. “Also, by bringing trade teams to farms and to ethanol plants, we’re able to build relationships with our customers that hopefully develop into long-term partnerships. I like to think the U.S. is the best in the world when it comes to corn and ethanol production. We’re open for business and want to share our products with the world.”

 

During the remainder of the group’s visit to Nebraska, they toured Chief Ethanol, an ethanol processing plant in Hastings, Magellan Midstream Partners, a fuel pipeline, storage and transportation company in Doniphan, and Bosselman’s Travel Center, a fuel retailer in Grand Island. They departed the state Friday morning after meeting with Gov. Pete Ricketts, Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and Kelly Brunkhorst, executive director of the Nebraska Corn Board.

 

“In times when there’s so much uncertainty in regards to trade, it’s great to have our top customers visit to remind them how much we value their business,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Mexico is our No. 1 customer when it comes to corn and distillers grains, and there is so much potential for increased ethanol exports. We are glad to have had time with this delegation to show appreciation for their past business, answer questions about our corn and ethanol industries and to let them know we’re working hard to ensure the passage of USMCA.”

 

The visit from the Mexican delegation was an offshoot of an even larger event held earlier in the week. The first-ever Global Ethanol Summit occurred Oct. 13-15 in Washington, D.C. Government officials and industry leaders from 60 countries attended this event to learn about the benefits of expanding global ethanol use. The event was organized and hosted by the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association.

 

Kansas Corn said the Environmental Protection Agency fell short of expectations in its supplemental proposal to the 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) rulemaking. The proposed rule is in response to President Trump’s directive that the EPA keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole by accounting for lost market share due to the agency’s actions to grant refinery waivers at unprecedented levels. Speaking about EPA’s proposal today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Steve Censky said, “The president is very insistent that 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons. EPA and USDA are fully on board with that.”
Kansas Corn Growers Association CEO Greg Krissek said the proposal falls short of the Trump Administration’s direction.
“Farmers look to ethanol demand as a high priority for creating a stable corn market. The proposed rule does not meet our expectation for accounting for lost ethanol demand caused by the refinery waivers granted by EPA in recent years. The next several years are critically important to the economic survival of many corn producers. We will hold the administration to their stated commitment that 15 billion gallons in the RFS means 15 billion gallons. The RFS provides market access for ethanol, and we rely on the certainty that the RFS law provides,” Krissek said. “Our Kansas growers reached out with phone calls, emails and letters, and they have participated in face to face meetings with the administration trying to help them understand the importance of this issue. We encourage our Kansas corn farmers to take time as they are harvesting their crops to submit comments on this proposal when the 30-day comment period begins on Oct. 30.”

WASHINGTON (October 15, 2019) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

Today’s notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way we calculate renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation’s fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

EPA will hold a public hearing on Oct. 30, 2019 followed by a 30-day comment period from the date of the hearing to receive public input on these issues. The agency will finalize this action later this year.

For more information, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/renewable-fuel-standard-program/proposed-volumes-2020-and-biomass-based-diesel-volume-2021

Today’s action fulfills the agreement reached on October 4th, with the White House, EPA, and USDA. Below is the overwhelmingly positive response we received following that announcement:

Cabinet

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler: “President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security. Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers.”

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue: “President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation’s farmers and rural America. The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue policy that promotes economic growth and supports our producers. Building on the success of the year-round E15 rule, this forward-looking agreement makes improvements to the RFS program that will better harness the production of our farmers and ensure America remains energy dominant.”

Senate

Senator Joni Ernst (IA): “This is great news for Iowa and rural America. President Trump is following through on his commitment to our nation’s hardworking farmers and biofuels producers. The RFS is essential to the livelihoods of folks across our state, which is why I’ve been fighting tirelessly on behalf of Iowa’s farmers and producers every step of the way and making Iowans’ voices heard throughout this process. Our message was clear: uphold the RFS—15 billion means 15 billion. The president heard that message and has acted on it. The steps outlined today by the administration will help increase demand for our biofuels, provide certainty for farmers and producers for years to come, and ensure that EPA is implementing the RFS as it was written.”

Senator Chuck Grassley (IA): “President Trump listened to the concerns of farmers and biofuels producers and delivered on their behalf… The solution outlined by President Trump, Administrator Wheeler and Secretary Perdue is exactly how the RFS is meant to function according to the law as written by Congress… Maintaining the integrity of the RFS, repealing WOTUS and allowing year-round sales of E15 will all help American agriculture and the rural economy. These are promises made and promises kept by President Trump. President Trump has made clear that he is an ally of corn and soybean farmers as well as ethanol and biodiesel producers. He is fighting for the farmer. This announcement is great news for Iowa, the Midwest and the entire country.”

Senator Deb Fischer (NE): “It’s good to see that the EPA has rolled out this supplemental rule to protect the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, I am disappointed in how the agency is proposing to address the three year rolling average to ensure a net 15 billion gallons is blended into our fuel supply. This is different than what we expected based on our previous conversations with the administration. I encourage Nebraska farmers and ethanol producers to weigh in during this comment period. I remain committed to holding the EPA accountable and providing certainty for rural America.”

Senator Mike Braun (IN):  “At my recent townhall meeting in Franklin, Indiana, this issue was top of mind for Hoosier farmers and producers.  I worked closely with USDA and the Trump Administration to make sure those concerns were realized here in Washington. This is why I am proud to announce that President Trump kept his promise to Hoosier farmers to ensure the RFS is implanted in a manner consistent with Congressional intent. This agreement to expand domestic energy production is a win for Hoosier farmers, and it comes on the heels of a year-round E-15 decision.  Hoosiers will not forget that President Trump is in their corner.”

Governors

Governor Pete Ricketts (NE): “Ensuring RVOs do not go below 15 billion gallons and expanding access to E15 will bolster the RFS and ethanol production at a critical time for our nation’s rural economy, which has been suffering from low commodity prices. Thank you to President Trump for taking these important steps for ethanol and our great farm families!”

Governor Kim Reynolds (IA): “A robust renewable fuel standard is critical to a healthy ag economy in Iowa and across the nation. We are grateful to President Trump for honoring the federal statute to blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol annually, and allowing existing E10 pumps to deliver E15 fuel, helping drive domestic demand for biofuels. By protecting the RFS, President Trump demonstrated his commitment to rural America and the American farmer.

“Today’s announcement is a reflection of the strong, united front from the renewable fuels industry as well as strong leadership from Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst. The President clearly heard us when we said 15 billion gallons means 15 billion gallons, and this deal proves it.

“We will never stop fighting for the renewable fuels industry because of its central role in our economy and we appreciate President Trump’s willingness to listen and work with this industry. It is clear, this President remains committed to America’s farmers.”

Governor Doug Burgum (ND): “This agreement strikes a balance for our farmers, ethanol producers and refiners, protecting demand for renewable fuels while still allowing for exemptions for small refineries.  We appreciate the administration hearing the concerns of our corn and soybean growers, ethanol producers and other stakeholders and coming up with an agreement that promotes ethanol and biodiesel production, provides market certainty and gives a much-needed boost to our farmers, building on the year-round E15 sales that we pushed for and the president approved earlier this year.”

Governor Kristi Noem (SD): “This is a big win for producers.  With expanded ethanol capabilities, producers will see an increased market for their product and improved long-term stability. This move is absolutely critical for South Dakota farmers and ranchers as recent years have seen lower commodity prices and unstable market conditions. Thank you, President Trump, for supporting agriculture.”

Congress

Congressman Roger Marshall (KS-01): “President Trump, Secretary Perdue, and Administrator Wheeler have delivered on their promise to support the renewable fuels industry, make improvements to the RFS program to utilize the production of America’s farmers, and continue America’s energy independence,” U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. said. “The renewable fuel industry is not only good for producers and consumers, but also good for our environment. I applaud the work of the USDA and EPA, and look forward to working with the Administration to continue making productive changes to the ethanol and biofuels industry.”

Congressman James Comer (KY-01): “President Trump’s announcement could not have come at a more critical time for farmers and ethanol producers. With the state of the farm economy, any viable market for grain producers is key. I’m proud to support this welcomed news from the Administration, and I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump, Secretary Perdue, Administrator Wheeler, and my colleagues in Congress to see this agreement put into action.” -Congressman James Comer, KY-1

Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06): “Biofuels are a major market for the farmers in my district in North Missouri and today’s announcement is welcome news in what has been a challenging year due to weather,” said Congressman Sam Graves (MO-06). “The Renewable Fuels Standard is critical to the farm economy and the President’s proposal will go a long way towards ensuring that it remains strong. I’m thankful that President Trump has listened to our farmers and I’m grateful for his commitment to our rural economy.”

Congressman Rodney Davis (IL-13): “I want to thank the President for working with me to bring parity to farmers in my district, and the ethanol industry as a whole, by addressing the issue of small refinery exemptions. I recently introduced the bipartisan Small Refinery Exemption Fairness Act to address this issue and reobligate gallons lost to these exemptions, and I look forward to seeing the details of this plan that will put us on the right path forward.”

Congressman Mike Bost (IL-12):  “This announcement comes at a time when Illinois ethanol producers needed a big win. By maintaining the 15 billion gallon baseline and increasing access to E15, President Trump has shown he is working for American agriculture. Farmers across Illinois’ 12th District will be pleased with this announcement and the security it provides for the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Congressman Darin LaHood (IL-18): “In Illinois, biofuels drive demand for our corn and soybean farmers, and the announcement by President Trump’s Administration today is a victory for Midwest agriculture and biofuel producers,” stated Rep. LaHood. “This deal ensures that lost gallons from small refinery waivers are accurately accounted and remove barriers to higher biofuel blends. I continually urged this Administration to uphold the original intent of the RFS, and I applaud President Trump and his team for hearing the concerns of Midwest producers and keeping to their promise. I’ll continue to fight for Illinois producers and work with this Administration to bolster our agriculture economy.”

Congressman Don Bacon (NE-02): “Thank you President Trump for working with our farmers and ethanol producers to bring certainty and security to the RFS program. I have long been an advocate for low-carbon biofuels and am hopeful that the finalized rules will unleash ethanol potential, provide transparency for Nebraska farmers and producers, and benefit consumers at the pump across the country.”

Congressman Tom Emmer (MN-06): “I am grateful to the Administration for hearing the concerns of the agriculture community and delivering much-needed results. Biofuels are an integral piece of Minnesota’s economy, and the announcement today will help promote cleaner fuel, energy independence, and greater demand for Minnesota corn and soybeans. This is a clear example that the Trump Administration supports agriculture and rural America, and I applaud their efforts to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02): “For far too long, the integrity of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) has been severely harmed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) misuse of small refinery exemptions (SREs),” said Congressman Steve Watkins (KS-02). So far, nine producers have closed their doors or reduced operations, resulting in the loss of hundreds of jobs for rural communities across the country. With today’s announcement from the EPA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), America’s farmers will appreciate President Trump listening to their concerns and his commitment to scaling back regulations and runaway government overreach.

As a leader on renewable fuels issues and a cosponsor of the Small Refinery Exemption Fairness Act, I am thankful for the commitment that the administration has shown to our rural communities and the renewable fuels industry and applaud their decision. This is just another positive step in moving us closer to restoring the integrity and initial intentions of the RFS.”

Congressman Dusty Johnson (SD-AL): “Today’s announcement is a win for South Dakota farmers, ethanol producers and anyone that cares about a strong rural economy and job growth. I’m proud of the coalition of farm-state members that made it clear that we must maintain the integrity of the RFS as Congress intended.”

By maintaining the integrity of the RFS and preventing the abuse of Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs), as well as forward-looking proposals that cut red tape and build biofuel infrastructure, the Administration showed they are committed to rural America.”

State Officials

Lt. Governor Adam Gregg (IA): “Today’s announcement by EPA is welcome news for Iowa farmers and the renewable fuels industry. A strong RFS drives rural prosperity. Thank you to Governor Reynolds, Senator Ernst, and Senator Grassley for your advocacy!”

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig: “This is welcome news for Iowa’s farmers and the renewable fuels industry. President Trump listened to our producers’ concerns and took action to address them. This is what happens when farmers, biofuels producers and government leaders work together to make our voices heard. We are grateful to President Trump for directing EPA to uphold the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard, and we look forward to working with EPA and USDA to implement today’s announcement. As the number one producer of ethanol and biodiesel in the country, Iowa is proud to lead the nation in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We will continue to work to restore and build demand for these critical markets for Iowa agriculture.”

Stakeholders

Growth Energy: “It’s been a long process, but when the chips were down, President Trump delivered for farm families and biofuel producers. This is a victory for rural America, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress, USDA Secretary Perdue, and governors across the heartland who fought to put homegrown energy back on the market. We also thank President Trump for hearing the voices of farmers and biofuel producers and his commitment to finding a solution that will make an immediate difference for rural families.

“By accurately accounting for lost gallons from this point forward based on a 3-year average of all exempted gallons, beginning with the 2020 biofuel targets, and breaking down regulatory and infrastructure barriers to higher biofuel blends, we will be able to realize the true potential of the opportunities President Trump opened by approving year-round sales of E15. Our industry and farm suppliers are eager to put this plan in place and deliver more lower-cost, lower-carbon biofuels to American consumers. We look forward to finalizing this rule to help America’s farmers.

“To restore growth and revitalize farm income, it’s vital that the EPA stay true to the president’s promise, and we will be working closely with leaders in Washington to ensure that happens. What matters now is how quickly we can restore demand for U.S. farmers and put biofuel gallons back to work for America’s economy.”

Dan Nerud, President of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association: “We’ve been waiting for a reallocation of waived gallons for a long time. To say we were upset with the refinery waivers is an understatement, so today’s announcement is welcome news. We’re very happy with today’s announcement.”

David Bruntz, Chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board: “I’m extremely excited with today’s announcement. Today’s news just goes to show what our growers can achieve when our voices are unified. Thanks to all of Nebraska and our nation’s corn farmers who rallied together to ensure we have vibrant corn and ethanol industries for years to come.”

Washington, D.C. – Industry and government officials from 60 countries are meeting with U.S. officials in the nation’s capital this week at the Global Ethanol Summit to learn about changing biofuels policies in countries around the world and prospects for expanded global ethanol use.

 

“In the spirit of global collaboration, access to free trade and increased use of ethanol worldwide, we look forward to hosting, along with our partners, this meeting that focuses on ethanol’s role in improving human lives around the world,” said Ryan LeGrand, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) president and CEO.

 

“The number of countries with ethanol policies on the books has grown exponentially in the last 18 months, and ethanol trade around the world remains strong, showing the level of commitment these countries have to reaping the benefits of this biofuel. The Council is proud to bring this group together in Washington, D.C.”

 

This week’s Summit, sponsored by the Council, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), features high-level government and industry officials from Algeria to Vietnam, who are working together to expand the global use of ethanol by developing policies with a role for trade.

 

Building on the success and momentum of 2017’s Ethanol Summit of the Americas and 2018’s Ethanol Summit of the Asia Pacific events, the Global Summit seeks to capitalize on potential markets around the world as demand increases for higher-level biofuels policies – including decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving clean air quality. The Council and its partners are working in all of these countries to highlight ethanol’s benefits and address constraints to expanding ethanol’s use.

 

“The Summit highlights policy conversations going on in governments around the world, scientific rationale for the increased use of ethanol and market development opportunities for U.S. ethanol,” LeGrand said. “The benefits of ethanol use provide common ground for countries to collaborate as they seek to meet their societal goals.”

 

The Summit also allows senior-level officials from agriculture, environment and energy ministries from around the world to discuss environmental, human health and economic benefits of ethanol use with industry leaders, while it fosters collaboration and trade across the region.

 

The two-day conference will feature remarks from both the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky and Foreign Agricultural Service’s Associate Administrator Daniel Whitley, who will speak on collaboration and trade and the U.S. energy renaissance, respectively.

 

The conference also includes views and analysis on the overall global ethanol outlook; a focus on Brazil and Canada’s changing environmental policies; the costs of inaction on both air quality and related human health consequences; a look at industrial ethanol use and the bioeconomy; octane economics; vehicle compatibility; perspectives from ethanol retailers; and prospects for the future use of ethanol.

 

The U.S. ethanol industry’s efforts, including conferences like the Summit, establish the United States as the resource for experience in developing an ethanol industry and as a trading partner.

 

The United States exported 6.1 billion liters (1.62 billion gallons, or 609 million bushels in corn equivalent) of ethanol in 2018, valued at $2.7 billion. According to analysis of USDA data, the volume of U.S. ethanol exports grew by 18 percent per year over the last five years, making ethanol the fastest growing U.S. agricultural export.

 

Because building collaboration creates additional markets, the U.S. Grains Council is sponsoring several pre- and post-Summit tours so participants are able to see the full production and value chain of ethanol in the U.S. These tours will highlight ethanol in Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

 

Agriculture is hoping sees momentum building for more trade deals, after President Trump signed a $55 billion dollar trade agreement with Japan Monday.

The American Farm Bureau Federation says it hopes momentum from the Japan deal that lowers or ends tariffs on U.S beef, pork, poultry, corn, wheat, almonds, wine, ethanol and other ag goods, sets the stage for similar deals with other nations.

President Trump says China is key…

Especially U.S. soybeans, possibly a ‘sweetener’ by the Chinese, as a delegation arrives here Thursday for renewed talks.

Trump meantime, is leaning on Speaker Nancy Pelosi, amid the political drama over Democratic impeachment efforts, to allow the US Mexico-Canada Agreement to come up for a House vote…

Pelosi earlier charged it was up to Trump to make concessions on USMCA enforcement language, while Republicans counter Democrats have slow-walked the deal worth billions for US Ag, since last December.

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the following statement today after President Trump signed the official text of new trade agreements with Japan:

“This agreement between the U.S. and Japan is a victory for Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers, and ethanol producers. By securing reduced tariffs on a variety of exports like beef, pork and ethanol, this agreement expands markets for Nebraska’s great ag products. I appreciate the administration’s hard work on this deal, and look forward to continuing to work with the president toward additional trade agreements.”

Under these trade agreements, Japan will eliminate or lower tariffs on American beef, pork, wheat, ethanol, and more, as well as expand digital trade between the two countries.

Statement by Steve Nelson, President:

“The trade deal with Japan formally signed today by President Trump makes good on his promise to strike an agreement with one of Nebraska’s most important trading partners. This deal represents a huge win for Nebraska’s farm and ranch families. When implemented it will put them on a level playing field with some of our largest competitors that are currently participating in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP). More specifically, Nebraska’s beef, pork, dairy, and ethanol producers, will all greatly benefit from this agreement which significantly reduces or eliminates tariffs and increases overall market access to this important strategic ally and trading partner. We are hopeful this agreement will provide a long-term economic boost and is a sign of more good things to come on the trade front.”

NCGA President Kevin Ross
Japan is the number two buyer of U.S. corn, purchasing more than $2 billion in the most recent marketing year. This is a high value market for our livestock industry, therefore, also a major purchaser of U.S. corn through exported meats. NCGA has been a long-time supporter of trade with Japan. With many farmers struggling amid some challenging times, this is some much-needed good news. This agreement reaffirms and builds on our trading relationship with Japan and NCGA looks forward to continued work for a successful Phase 2 of these important negotiations.”

 

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston

“I was deeply honored to attend the ceremony at the White House where we celebrated a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. As the top market for U.S. beef exports, Japan accounts for one quarter of our exports and roughly $2 billion in annual sales. As a beef producer, I understand the value of exports to my bottom line, and President Trump understands that increased access to foreign markets like Japan is the economic stimulus we need. We are grateful for President Trump’s leadership and for the hard work of our trade negotiators who fought hard to strengthen our access to the Japanese market. Because of their efforts, future generations of American ranching families will benefit from trade with Japan.”

Houston hailed today’s announcement as an important step forward for the U.S. beef industry.

“For the past few years, U.S. beef producers have benefited greatly from growing demand for U.S. beef in Japan. While Japanese consumers enjoy high quality U.S. beef, they unfortunately pay a higher price for U.S. beef due to the massive 38.5 percent tariff. Removing that tariff allows more Japanese consumers to enjoy more U.S. beef at a more competitive price. Today’s announcement is welcome news for American families who produce U.S. beef and Japanese families who purchase it.”

 

LINCOLN, Neb. – This morning, the White House released its intention to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by reallocating waived gallons of ethanol. The Nebraska Corn Board and the Nebraska Corn Growers Association thank President Trump and his administration for following through in their commitment to our nation’s corn farmers and our ethanol industry. Nebraska Corn also thanks the USDA, our state’s congressional delegation, Gov. Pete Ricketts and Nebraska’s corn farmers who took a unified stand in demanding the law is upheld and the goals of the RFS are reached.

“We’ve been waiting for a reallocation of waived gallons for a long time,” said Dan Nerud, president of the Nebraska Corn Growers Association and farmer from Dorchester. “To say we were upset with the refinery waivers is an understatement, so today’s announcement is welcome news. We’re very happy with today’s announcement.”

“I’m extremely excited with today’s announcement,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Today’s news just goes to show what our growers can achieve when our voices are unified. Thanks to all of Nebraska and our nation’s corn farmers who rallied together to ensure we have vibrant corn and ethanol industries for years to come.”

Nebraska Corn looks forward to working with the administration to ensure the RFS is fully realized and the clean-burning, renewable ethanol industry continues to thrive.

The Renewable Fuels Association sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency this week, regarding its testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

The letter had a lot to say about the real impacts of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuels Standard. The letter followed EPA assertion that there is “zero evidence” that the waivers are negatively impacting ethanol producers.

“In light of our August letter and the continued evidence of deterioration in the ethanol market, we were disappointed to hear you make similar claims about the impact of the small refinery exemptions,” said RFA CEO Geoff Cooper to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Several statements made during the hearing about ethanol supply and demand are inconsistent with government data and market intelligence. I write today to challenge your statements on the impact of exemptions and provide additional information.”

Wheeler told the committee that ethanol production and consumption is “on the rise.” Data from the Department of Energy and even the EPA itself tell a different story.

A new study shows that the Renewable Fuel Standard not only saves drivers money at the gas pump every day, but also enhances energy security by greatly reducing or even eliminating the blow to our nation’s drivers when global oil production is disrupted. The analysis confirms that the growing supply of ethanol significantly helps dampen gasoline price shocks that result from sudden oil market disruptions. If renewable fuels were removed from the fuel supply, gas prices would be more than $1 per gallon higher, the study found.
With gas prices now rising because of the recent attacks on Saudi oilfields, this research is especially relevant today, noted Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.
“This research underscores what should be common sense: We need a diverse domestic fuel supply for real U.S. energy security,” Cooper said. “We can avoid unnecessary price spikes at the pump by incorporating more renewable fuels into the nation’s fuel supply and ensuring that healthy competition exists in the marketplace.”
The study, by independent economist and energy expert Dr. Philip K. Verleger, Jr., looks at oil market disruptions over nearly 50 years and provides an example in which the availability of ethanol avoids a significant impact to U.S. gasoline prices from a supply disruption.
“Retail prices would today be above $4 per gallon, not $2.90, were renewable supplies removed from the supply mix,” Verleger writes. “The lower gasoline prices, in turn, allowed consumers to spend more on the things they wanted rather than motor fuels. … The economic benefit of lower gasoline prices that is directly attributable to the availability of renewable fuels adds one to two percentage points to the U.S. GDP every year.”
Dr. Verleger catalogs various crises and their impacts on the oil supply, from the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo to ongoing political and economic challenges in Venezuela. This week’s attack on Saudi Arabia, which took place after this report was prepared, are estimated to affect 5 percent of the daily global oil supply. When it comes to crises such as these, Verleger asserts that even “a modest amount of renewable fuels can significantly moderate the price impact of market disruptions.”
The study incorporates and builds upon a May report by Dr. Verleger that found the RFS lowered gas prices by an average of 22 cents per gallon from 2015-2018, saving the typical American household $250 annually.
Finally, Verleger looks at how the competition in the fuel marketing sector, together with the availability of renewable fuels, acts as a counterbalance to the impact of refinery consolidation on supply and pricing. “Consumers would likely pay even higher prices if the mergers that created the large oligopolistic independent refiners had not been accompanied by a second trend: the creation of an aggressive, competitive petroleum marketing sector,” Verleger writes.
Drone attacks Saturday in Saudi Arabia destroyed oil fields and caused a record spike in oil prices overnight, again calling into question claims that increased U.S. oil production has made America energy independent. The following is a statement from Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper:
“The crude oil and gasoline price spikes following the attacks on Saudi Arabia show once again that the Unites States cannot simply frack its way to energy independence. Even with growth in domestic oil production, $18 billion flowed out of the U.S. economy to Saudi Arabia last year in return for 330 million barrels of petroleum. What the oil industry doesn’t want you to know is that the United States imported 2.8 billion barrels of crude oil last year, equivalent to 45 percent of the oil processed by U.S. refineries. In fact, California imports nearly 60 percent of the oil it uses from outside the U.S., and nearly half of this imported crude comes to California via the Strait of Hormuz.
“Diversification of our liquid fuel supply is the only way to truly insulate American consumers from the volatility and price shocks that plague the global petroleum market. The good news is we have a solution right here in America’s farm fields and rural communities. Our nation’s ethanol industry produced more than 380 million barrels of lower-cost, cleaner-burning renewable fuel last year—more barrels than we imported from Saudi Arabia. And we can do more. With the faithful enforcement of the Renewable Fuel Standard, removal of arcane and unnecessary regulatory barriers, and a rapid transition to 15% ethanol blends nationwide, U.S. ethanol producers could quickly ramp up production and help fill the void in the global liquid fuel supply caused by the Saudi oil attacks.
“The hard truth is that our nation remains highly vulnerable to the geopolitical vagaries that create turmoil in the world oil market. We call on President Trump to unleash the strength and innovation of America’s ethanol industry in this time of crisis.”