Kansas Corn Farmers: Speak Up During EPA Ethanol Comment Period

Just days after Kansas farmer Dennis McNinch completed corn harvest, he went to Michigan to testify at a public hearing on EPA’s proposal to address how it will account for ethanol waivers granted to refineries in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). McNinch represented the Kansas Corn Growers Association at the hearing on Oct. 30. He serves on the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Board and is chairman of the Kansas Corn Commission.

Waiting for his panel, McNinch reviewed his comments at the EPA Hearing

The hearing kicked off a public comment period on EPA proposal, which is open until Nov. 29. Farmers are encouraged to submit comments online at kscorn.com/action.

“I went to Michigan to testify because EPA needs to know how these decisions affect corn farmers in Kansas,” McNinch said. “They need to hear from more farmers, and we can all do that by taking a few minutes to submit comments online at the kscorn.com website.”

At issue is EPA’s proposal to account ethanol demand lost through EPA refinery exemptions going forward in the RFS. The recent expansion of RFS waivers has reduced RFS requirements by more than 4 billion gallons over three years. However, EPA’s proposal uses a formula that would return just half of the actual waived gallons to the 2020 RFS and doesn’t provide certainty for future years. EPA proposes to base its formula on the amount the Department of Energy (DOE) recommended in waivers, instead of the amount EPA actually waived. Because EPA consistently waived nearly double the gallons the DOE recommended, the proposal using DOE numbers to redistribute future waived gallons is half of what the President committed to in early October.

McNinch said in his testimony:

“Earlier this month, the President announced that he intended to see to it that the EPA would adhere to the 15 billion gallon annual ethanol blending requirement as set out by the RFS, and that starting in 2020 the waived gallons created by the SRE’s would be reallocated using a three-year average of the actual waived gallons granted by the EPA. This was great news to our industry. Then, just a few days after the President’s announcement the EPA came out with a different formula using a three-year average based upon the DOE’s recommendation. This proposal falls short of what I heard the President say and still does not ensure that the 15 billion annual ethanol blending requirement is met, thus putting the agriculture economy at risk.

My request today is simple, please follow the spirit and intent of the RFS. If your agency is going to grant waivers to the small refiners, please make sure that those waived gallons are reallocated back into the fuel supply as originally suggested by the President. Our industry needs stability, meeting the annual RVO requirement of 15 billion gallons of ethanol blended into our nation’s fuel supply would be a great start.”

The Kansas Corn Growers Association is asking corn farmers to submit comments on EPA’s proposal and tell EPA to keep the RFS whole.

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