U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke to corn and ethanol industry constituents this week at a rally to support the Renewable Fuel Standard, held at Progress City in conjunction with the Farm Progress Show. Perdue said that President Trump wants to provide the RVP waiver (it would allow for year-round sales of blends above E10, including E15) but that he needs to figure out “…the balance with the refineries. He needs to have something he can demonstrate to them as well.” Them there’s fighting words, as far as we’re concerned, since the Trump Administration has already waived billions of gallons of ethanol inclusion obligation to benefit refineries owned by oil companies who remain operating at a profit, despite those waivers being designated for so-called hardship situations.
Energy News from Ag Wired has the secretary’s comments recorded from a press gaggle. The quote specific to the RFS deal sought by President Trump is at about 6 minutes in the audio file here, at Energy.AgWired.com. Hat tip to our friends Chuck and Cindy Zimmerman for providing the audio.
In a tweet, University of Illinois Ag Economist Scott Irwin said, “I decode this as saying that President Trump will not get behind enforcing the RFS according to the original Congressional intent for the policy. In other words, he is siding with the refiners on the RFS.”
We certainly hope you’re wrong, Mr. Irwin, but it the president’s actions indicate you’re likely closer to right than wrong.
IL Corn continues to engage the White House on this issue, affirming that the EPA has the authority to grant the RVP waiver and that EPA should also immediately terminate their practice of granting hardship waivers where they’re unwarranted. IL Corn also believes that EPA should reassign the waived gallons.