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The following is a statement from North Dakota farmer Kevin Skunes, president of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), on EPA’s Proposed Biofuel Requirements for 2019.

“For corn farmers, what’s not included in EPA’s proposed rule says more than what’s included.

“It is encouraging that EPA is following Congressional intent and proposing some growth in the RFS volumes and continuing to propose an implied 15-billion-gallon volume for conventional ethanol. However, by continuing to allow retroactive exemptions to refineries, EPA will undercut the volumes in this rule, rendering the proposed blending levels meaningless. Furthermore, the proposed rule states that EPA will not consider comments on how small refinery exemptions are accounted for. 

“EPA also had an opportunity to propose a remedy for the 1.6 billion gallons the agency has retroactively waived from the 2016 and 2017 volume requirements over the past year. NCGA believes that if EPA is going to grant retroactive waivers to cut volume requirements for certain refineries, then EPA must also reallocate those gallons to others, so the obligation to blend renewable fuels is not lost. 

“Every gallon of renewable fuel blending waived by EPA reduces the clean air benefits of the RFS and costs consumers choice and money at the pump, particularly today when ethanol is considerably less expensive than gasoline. EPA is also missing an opportunity to propose the removal of the outdated regulatory barrier limiting year-round sales of ethanol blends greater than 10 percent, such as E15.

“America’s farmers are experiencing their lowest net farm incomes since 2006, along with the increasing threat of a trade war. The EPA can provide more certainty to farmers by addressing the gallons already exempted, spelling out how future exemptions will be handled to ensure waived gallons are reallocated and moving forward with a stronger RFS that supports America’s farmers and their rural communities.”

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