August 16, 2019

Contact: Hannah Packman, 202-554-1600

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump directly authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) issuance of 31 small refinery exemptions (SREs) last Friday, 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 over 4 billion gallons.

EPA has offered SREs to relieve small refineries of “economic hardship” caused by compliance with Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) since 2013. However, the number of approved exemptions has nearly quadrupled in the past six years, and many of the recent recipients are owned by multi-billion-dollar oil corporations.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson voiced  opposition to the EPA’s announcement last week, saying that the misappropriation of waivers is “destroying our domestic market for renewable fuels” and “creating enormous stress in the countryside.” In response to today’s news, he reiterated his frustration with the administration’s actions to undermine RFS 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 highest it has been since the 1980s farm crisis. Policies like RFS that expand markets for American agricultural products are meant to help farmers during difficult times such as these. For the EPA to undermine this 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 that 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, and his EPA has sabotaged the American biofuels industry in order to line the pockets of oil executives. Together, these efforts have decimated our markets and threatened our very livelihoods.”


About NFU
National Farmers Union has been working since 1902 to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through advocating grassroots-driven policy positions adopted by its membership.

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