Darryl Custer: Time for EPA to stop playing games with the heartland – Madison.com

Dear Editor: With tough times facing the biofuels industry, the Environmental Protection Agency must stop playing games with those of us in the heartland. Thankfully, President Trump recently instructed the agency to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is a step in the right direction.

Over the last several years, special refinery exemptions have been distributed generously to major oil corporations, like Exxon and Chevron, allowing them to keep ethanol out of the fuel mix. The secretive waivers have destroyed demand for over 4 billion gallons of ethanol so far, which comes at the expense of farmers and biofuel workers across the corn belt. The president recently called on the EPA to reject dozens of retroactive waiver requests, but the battle is far from over. The EPA must still reject 17 gap-year exemptions, along with 35 additional exemptions covering 2019 and 2020.

These remaining petitions remain an urgent threat to farmers, biofuel workers and rural families working to rebuild the rural economy. They must be rejected without further delay. We’re also waiting on the agency to propose biofuel targets for 2021 — a process that normally starts in June. Final targets are due by law at the end of November, and every week of delay creates uncertainty over our ability to restore the agricultural supply chain in the wake of COVID-19.

Wisconsin is a major biofuel producer, supporting over 30,000 families and keeping markets open for U.S. farmers. It’s time for the oil industry’s regulatory attacks on farm income to come to a permanent end.

Darryl Custer

Chippewa Falls

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