As an Iowan who began farming over 30 years ago, I realize that dealing with down markets and uncertain weather is part of the job. Many factors important to a successful crop can be completely out of our hands. However, a bureaucratic agency in Washington, D.C. should not be one of them.
Rather than help support the biofuels industry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been granting refinery exemptions to billion-dollar giants in the oil industry like Exxon and Chevron. This gives the oil industry permission to skirt federal blending laws and wrecks demand for ethanol and biodiesel.
As a member of the Iowa House Agriculture Committee I know biofuels are a critical part of our economy in Iowa. They make up $5 billion of the state GDP. Iowa is both the largest biodiesel and ethanol producing state in the country. The ethanol industry in Iowa alone supports 43,697 jobs and $2.2 billion in annual income.
The EPA’s handouts to the oil sector have destroyed over 4 billion gallons of biofuel demand, and they have been taking their toll on Iowa production plants. In the past few months, we’ve had multiple plants in Iowa close down or halt production – the most recent being Siouxland Energy’s ethanol plant in Sioux Center and W2 Fuel in Crawfordsville.
President Trump wants to be a champion for farmers and has shown support for the biofuels industry. We appreciate him delivering on year-round sales of E-15, as he promised. But the EPA’s abundance of exemptions have nullified any benefits. I urge the President, and our federal delegation, to stop the overuse of these exemptions and demand the EPA protect the ag community.