Federal regulators on Monday handed a victory to corn farmers and the renewable fuels industry by refusing to allow a group of petroleum refiners in 14 states to forego requirements to blend ethanol into the gasoline they make.
Some farm groups and farm-state lawmakers expressed anger at the Trump administration Thursday over final ethanol rules that they said failed to uphold the president’s promises to the industry.
Agriculture commodity groups and some farmers expressed frustration and anger Wednesday with a rule released by the Environmental Protection Agency that they said fails to uphold a promise President Donald Trump made 12 days ago.
Administration officials agreed to the broad contours of a renewable fuel plan, including further moves to encourage the use of E15 gasoline containing 15% ethanol, beyond the 10% variety common across the U.S.
The owner of a western Indiana ethanol plant is blaming its shutdown on the Trump administration’s decision to allow some refineries to not blend ethanol with gasoline as required under federal law.
A biofuel deal between the two nations would come as a relief for the U.S. ethanol industry, which has been beset by a supply glut and the weakest margins in more than 15 years.
The study conflicts with a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that found corn-based ethanol’s greenhouse gas emissions were 39% lower than gasoline over the entire life cycle.
A senior administration official said Monday that the EPA will publish a rule in coming days to allow high-ethanol blends as part of a package of proposed changes to the ethanol mandate.
The Obama administration has failed to study as legally required the impact of requiring ethanol in gasoline, the Environmental Protection Agency inspector general said Thursday.
Ethanol advocates, largely from Midwest farming states, testified that the Environmental Protection Agency's target for biofuels next year again falls short of what Congress had in mind.
Record stockpiles of ethanol are forcing some biofuels producers into the ranks of energy companies that are slowing operations in the face of $30-per-barrel crude oil.
The EPA’s rule could revive a congressional debate over the Renewable Fuel Standard and spill over into the presidential campaign, as candidates stump in Iowa and other corn-belt states.
Noble Americas, a U.S. subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Noble Group, bought the plant two years ago after a previous owner went bankrupt and the plant had to close.
Indiana's ethanol producers warned that their industry could face a long-lasting "chilling effect" if the federal government lowers the amount of ethanol blended into the U.S. fuel supply.
Prosecutors say a suspect in a $90 million biodiesel scam in central Indiana made threats to harm or kill people who might give evidence against him.
The consequences from the ethanol era are so severe that environmentalists and many scientists have now rejected corn-based ethanol as bad environmental policy. But the Obama administration stands by it, highlighting its economic benefits to the farming industry.
A joint venture bought the New Energy Corp. plant at auction last week for $2.5 million. New Energy had hoped the auction would cover the company’s $54 million in debt. A large portion of that debt is owed to the U.S. Department of Energy, which guaranteed the original loans.
High corn prices, large ethanol inventories, lower gas prices and lower fuel demand were factors cited for the shutdown.