(Photo courtesy of the American Coalition for Ethanol)
This week, farmers across the Midwest made their voices heard and shared their frustrations with EPA Administer Scott Pruitt for not moving forward with the president’s request to make higher blends of ethanol, like E15, available year-round and for granting RFS waivers to refineries at the expense of farmers.
Pruitt made his way through farm country, making stops in Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska.
“Corn growers came out in force this week to reinforce the importance of allowing higher blends of ethanol in the marketplace and shine a spotlight on EPA’s actions that are destroying demand for corn,” said NCGA President Kevin Skunes. “We have to continue to beat-the-drum and be vocal about these issues. Farmers have been very clear – It’s time for Administrator Pruitt to uphold the president’s statements on granting E15 year-round and time to stop granting waivers to refiners.”
Pruitt started his visit in Kansas, where he toured the East Kansas Agri Energy LLC ethanol plant in Garnett, Kansas. Kansas Corn Growers Association members participated in a meeting with Administrator Pruitt after the tour. KCGA President Ken McCauley said farm and ethanol groups at the meeting wanted to set the tone and help Administrator Pruitt understand the frustration being felt in rural America.
“When you look at what EPA is doing, they are most definitely picking winners and losers and right now, ethanol is the loser,” McCauley said. “Our concern was that Administrator Pruitt thought he could come to Kansas, take a few photos with smiling farmers and tell the President that corn farmers are okay with his actions. That would be a gross misinterpretation of what happened here today. I told him that EPA’s attacks on ethanol don’t just hurt plants like EKAE, they hurt farmers, rural communities and American consumers who benefit from ethanol with lower prices and cleaner air.”
In South Dakota, more than 200 farmers and ethanol workers gathered to participate in a tractor rally to show Pruitt the importance of RVP parity for higher blends of ethanol above E15. Farmers in attendance broke out in a chant “E15! E15! E15!”
SDCGA President Troy Knecht addressed the group saying “Corn prices right now are at a break even or below. We’ve lost 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol to exemptions that the EPA administrator has granted to refiners. That equals about 570 million bushels of corn. When President Trump ran, he made the promise to uphold the RFS to the rule of law. It’s time for President Trump to step up and support the people that elected him and get the EPA Administrator to do his job.”
In Nebraska, Board Chairman Dave Merrell is participating in a meeting today with Administrator Pruitt.
“We want Administrator Pruitt to take note of the damage he is causing to rural America,” said Dave Merrell, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board. “The EPA is destroying demand for ethanol and caving into big oil demands. We will not stand idly by and watch this happen. Any disruption to the ethanol industry is bad for farmers, for our nation’s economy and for consumers in general. Pruitt needs to follow through with President Trump’s stance to grant RVP relief as well as the president’s commitment to the RFS.”
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
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