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EPA issues additional RFS hardship waivers

Jim Parkin iStock ethanol plant with corn field in the front
NFU urges Administration to uphold biofuel law after news that ExxonMobil’s Montana refinery received hardship waiver.

According to recent reports, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a “financial hardship waiver” to a refinery owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., exempting it from requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Exxon Mobil is the largest American oil and gas company, reporting earnings upwards of $20 billion last year.

“Exxon’s waiver was granted before the review began and covers its 60,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Billings, Mont., for the 2017 compliance period,” according to a report in Reuters.

National Farmers Union (NFU) president Roger Johnson said the group is “deeply disappointed” in the ongoing mishandling of the RFS.

NFU said the RFS exists to drive investment in American-grown biofuels. “However, the EPA has consistently misappropriated RFS waivers to large oil refiners, ultimately cutting demand for biofuels by 2.25 billion gal. in 2016 and 2017 and undermining the intent of the law,” NFU said in a statement.

Johnson explained, “Farmers and rural communities rely on the RFS to create market opportunities -- a role that is particularly important as they endure low commodity prices and large surpluses. Yet, the EPA continues to bungle the enforcement of the law and erode its function.”

Johnson added that with the farm economy at its weakest state in nearly three decades, “it is frankly disgusting that multibillion-dollar corporations are receiving government handouts at the expense of struggling family farmers and ranchers. The EPA must not only halt the misappropriation of these so-called ‘hardship waivers,’ but they also must work to find other mechanisms to account for the billions of gallons of demand they have already destroyed.”

TAGS: Policy
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