LINCOLN, Neb. — This morning, the White House announced its intentions to honor the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by upholding the existing law that requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year, starting in 2020. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed to implementing a process that will eliminate barriers that inhibit the sale of higher ethanol blends and cause confusion among consumers and fuel retailers.
“The wait for this decision has been agonizing, especially for Nebraska farmers and biofuel producers struggling in today’s industry,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and farmer from Cambridge. “Thank you to the White House for listening, and, to our Congressional delegates for working tirelessly to ensure our voices are heard. As you contemplate how this decision will unfold, hear this: our life’s work is to take the land we are privileged to call home and nurture it to sustain the masses. The decisions made today impacts the now and the future. Thank you for recognizing the importance of the biofuel industry and your commitment to its prosperity.”
The Nebraska Ethanol Board’s mission is to see that the production of ethanol continues and grows. Over the past several months, the future of ethanol has looked dismal due to the trade wars and refinery exemptions. Seventeen ethanol plants across the country have ceased operation, which has directly affected the price of corn for Nebraska farmers. When the Board submitted comments to the EPA on its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for ethanol, it urged the EPA to redistribute the more than four billion gallons of ethanol that have been stripped out of the RFS over the last three years. Today’s statement from the White House is a step in the right direction but it does not address the wrongs of the past.
“We are encouraged by the Trump Administration’s announcement to uphold the law by way of the RFS and to remove barriers that are holding back the biofuel industry’s ability to compete and thrive,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Today’s announcement is good news and we appreciate the step forward but we are disappointed in its lack of details. There is a lot of work that still needs to take place to help stabilize the damage already done and increase biofuel consumption. We look forward to working with the administration and our Congressional champions to help shape a concrete plan of action soon, as our farmers and ethanol producers cannot take any more hits and need immediate relief.”
The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.