President Donald Trump directly authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent issuance of 31 small-
refinery exemptions, per a Reuters report. The action will eliminate demand for biofuels by an estimated 1.43 billion gallons, bringing the total losses due to the misallocation of waivers to more than 4 billion gallons.
The EPA has offered small-refinery exemptions to relieve small refineries of “economic hardship” caused by compliance with Renewable Volume Obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard since 2013. But the number of approved exemptions has almost quadrupled in the past six years. Many of the recent recipients are owned by multi-billion-dollar oil corporations.
The misappropriation of waivers is destroying our domestic market for renewable fuels and creating enormous stress in the countryside. I am frustrated with the administration’s actions to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard and American-grown biofuels.
The Renewable Fuel Standard has been under attack for some time, but this most recent news is particularly egregious. The farm economy has been floundering for many years. Farmers are making half of what they were in 2013, and farm debt is the worst it has been since the 1980s farm crisis.
Policies like the Renewable Fuel Standard that expand markets for American agricultural products are meant to help farmers during difficult times such as these. For the EPA to undermine the program just when farmers need it most is rubbing salt in the wound.
For the duration of his campaign and presidency, Donald Trump has declared his support and appreciation for American farmers and ranchers, frequently calling them “great patriots.” But it has become abundantly clear he is talking out of both sides of his mouth.
He may say he loves farmers, but his actions say otherwise. In the past two-and-half years his administration has destroyed our reputation as a reliable trading partner. His EPA has sabotaged the American biofuels industry in order to line the pockets of oil executives.
Together those efforts have decimated our markets and threatened our very livelihoods.
Roger Johnson is the president of the National Farmers Union. Visit nfu.org for more information.