WASHINGTON D.C. - The Trump administration says it plans to implement new rules that will increase demand for ethanol, reversing a decline caused by exemptions given to oil refineries.
The proposal announced Friday follows months of complaints by Midwest farmers, politicians and the ethanol industry that the federal government's granting of waivers to refiners had violated federal law and forced some ethanol plants to close.
Roughly 40 percent of U.S. corn is used to produce ethanol, so declining demand for the fuel additive can depress prices for the grain.
Although the proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture wouldn't address the current loss of ethanol demand, it would ensure that beginning in 2020, the government would comply with a 15-billion-gallon standard already required under federal law.
“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,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “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."
"President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation's farmers and rural America," said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. "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.”
“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,” said Governor Pete Ricketts. “Thank you to President Trump for taking these important steps for ethanol and our great farm families!”