White House Seeks Solution for Corn Growers, Ethanol

The White House is putting together a deal to mitigate damage done to corn growers and the ethanol industry as a result of waivers being granted to small oil refineries who have sought exemption from blending ethanol into gasoline.

After a meeting with President Trump and others in September, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed cautious optimism.

“We’re waiting to see that in writing, and hopefully we’ll get that sooner rather than later,” Reynolds said. “And we’ll continue to touch base with the administration and just see where they’re at on it. But I take them at their word. It was a really, really good meeting with a good dialogue and ideas committed to the farmers.”

The EPA in August granted 31 exemptions to oil refineries, bringing the total for the year to nearly 80. That compares to about eight such exemptions granted in a year during the Obama administration.

Industry leaders say the waivers have destroyed demand for 1.4 billion bushels of corn used to make ethanol and wiped out demand for 825 million bushels of soybeans that go into biodiesel.

Biofuels plants across the country have either closed or idled indefinitely because of mounting losses. Most U.S. plants have cut production and workers.

The priority for Reynolds and the ethanol industry is for Trump to ensure a continued commitment to 15 billion gallons of ethanol blended each year, which is mandated in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard.

“One of the main messages was 15 billion gallons is 15 billion gallons,” Reynolds said. “So if there are small refineries that need an exemption, that’s fine, but that needs to be reallocated in the 15 billion gallons, which is law.”

Source: Des Moines Register