Senators Stabenow, Peters Urge Trump Administration to Stop Choosing Oil Companies over Michigan FarmersWednesday, August 28, 2019
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry, and Gary Peters (D-MI) joined five Senators to urge the Administration to support a strong Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for Michigan farmers. The President recently took action to benefit oil companies and undercut American-grown biofuels.
On August 8, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued 31 small refinery hardship waivers, which allows oil companies to blend less biofuels into gasoline, effectively reducing demand for renewable fuels by over 1.4 billion gallons. This is on top of the 54 refinery waivers already approved by this Administration over the last two years.
“A strong Renewable Fuel Standard is an important driver of Michigan jobs and our bio-based economy,” said Senator Stabenow. “The President needs to stop putting the interests of big oil companies ahead of Michigan farmers who are already struggling thanks to this Administration.”
“The RFS was created to reduce our reliance on foreign oil by shifting to homegrown biofuels that we grow and produce in Michigan,” said Senator Peters. “I’m disappointed that Michigan farmers continue to be undermined by the Trump Administration’s waivers for big oil companies. I’ll continue to stand with Michigan farmers against the abuse of these exemptions.”
“Michigan corn farmers are already seeing the impact of these waivers on our markets,” said Matt Frostic, President of the Michigan Corn Growers Association. “The waivers are reducing demand for biofuels and decreasing the value of our crop. After six consecutive years of depressed commodity prices, on top of a challenging growing season, farmers can’t afford to take another hit. The President needs to take a stand for agriculture and rein in EPA’s abuse of RFS waivers for big oil companies.”
The Trump Administration has increased the use of waivers by 370%, with waivers going to some of the world’s largest oil companies. In recent months, more than 13 ethanol plants and eight biodiesel plants have idled production or shut down across the country. Biofuel plants support thousands of rural jobs across the country and serve as important markets for farmers, processing millions of bushels of corn, soybeans, and other commodities.
In addition to Senators Stabenow and Peters, the letter was also signed by Senators Tina Smith (D-MN), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
The full text of the letter is below. A PDF of the letter is available here.
The Honorable Andrew Wheeler
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
Dear Administrator Wheeler,
We are extremely concerned that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to abuse the use of small refinery hardship waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). On Friday, August 8, 2019, the EPA issued another 31 such waivers, effectively reducing demand for renewable fuels by over 1.4 billion gallons. This is on top of the 54 refinery waivers already approved by this Administration over the last two years, which eliminated demand for more than 2.6 billion gallons of biofuels. Comparing the last three years of the previous administration to the first three years of the current administration, the Trump Administration has increased the granting of waivers by an astounding 370 percent, with "small refinery" waivers going to some of the world's largest oil companies.
This pattern of demand destruction is wreaking havoc on our nation's rural economy. In recent months, more than 13 ethanol plants and 8 biodiesel plants have idled production or shut down across the country. Not only did these biofuel plants support thousands of rural jobs across the country, they served as important markets for farmers, processing millions of bushels of corn, soybeans, and other commodities. At a time when farmers are already struggling after years of low prices and a chaotic trade agenda, this Administration chose to destroy more markets for farmers and harm rural communities across the country.
To add insult to injury, recent reports indicate that President Trump personally made the decision to grant these 31 waivers, despite numerous promises to support renewable fuels. EPA continues to undercut the integrity of the RFS by misusing its waiver authority, which in turn has a direct adverse impact on farmers and jobs in rural communities. We write to urge you once again to end the abuse of these small refinery exemptions, immediately reallocate the remaining gallons, and make public information regarding any recipients of these exemptions.
Thank you for your attention to this critical issue.
Next Article Previous Article