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Ag and Biofuels Groups Thank Gov. Reynolds for Defending Them Against EPA False Narrative

October 18, 2019

Today ag and biofuel groups thanked Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds for standing up for them and defending the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Last night, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds told Brownfield Ag News radio: “I’m going to hold the President to what he said and I’m going to hold the EPA accountable to follow through with what the deal actually was.” Talking specifically of the EPA proposal to use the DOE recommendations, Reynolds noted: “I understand completely the industry’s concerns and the hesitation about going with what [EPA proposed]. That’s not the language that we agreed to when we were in the office. And so we’re going to continue to try to go back to that and try to put that into the 30-day comment because we were pretty specific in the language that we asked for.” Reynolds concluded: “I’m going to continue to fight hard on behalf of our Iowa farmers and producers and a renewable fuel industry that I believe has a role to play.”

In response to Governor Reynolds support and setting the record straight, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, and Iowa Biodiesel Board issued the following joint statement:

“We are sincerely grateful to Governor Reynolds for standing by her constituents and setting the record straight. We told the truth at our press conference and we will not be cowed by the EPA’s questioning of our facts. The record is crystal clear: President Trump’s RFS deal guaranteed the integrity of the RFS. EPA’s proposal does not. We will continue to stand by President Trump’s deal, shared on October 4, and work with our supporters to ensure the final EPA rules reflect the President’s deal, which does guarantee that RFS levels will be met and not watered down by future exemptions.”

On Wednesday, October 16th, Iowa agriculture and biofuels groups came together to hold a press conference highlighting that the recent EPA draft supplemental RFS rule reneged on President Trump’s deal to guarantee the integrity of the RFS. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Biodiesel Board noted the language in the EPA proposed rule was not consistent with what President Trump agreed to with Midwest elected officials on Sept. 12, was not what White House and EPA officials briefed biofuels supporters on the eve of the public announcement, and was not what EPA Administrator Wheeler told Iowans during the public rollout on Oct. 4th.

EPA responded by questioning the validity of Iowa’s agriculture and biofuels leaders’ statements, claiming they were “not accurate,” while painting a false narrative that their draft rule was in fact “the text of the agreement negotiated by President Trump.” 

Reynolds came to the defense of Iowa farmers and biofuels supporters by backing up their facts. As one of the key participants in the September 12th Oval Office meeting with President Trump, Reynolds has first-hand knowledge of what was discussed and agreed to. In fact, the key component of the proposed rule, that small refinery exemptions (SREs) should be accounted for using the lower DOE recommendations instead of actual EPA SRE approvals, was not even discussed, let alone agreed to, with the President. The only fix discussed with the president was using a 3-year rolling average of actual past EPA SRE approvals.

Important Timeline and Facts

June 12 – Ag and biofuels industry applauds President Trump’s approval of year-round E15 sales but warns him that continued abuse of SREs will push an industry already hurt by trade disputes and previous SRE demand destruction over the edge. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2019/06/11/trump-touts-ethanol-victory-but-iowans-say-waivers-undermine-gains/1421255001/

August 9 – The EPA grants another 31 SREs, resulting in immediate reductions in ethanol and biodiesel margins and corn prices. It is estimated that 70 percent of the nation’s ethanol plants were losing money on every gallon they sold after this action. Farmers and biofuels supporters were up in arms.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2019/08/25/donald-trump-ethanol-waivers-iowa-farm-country-lose-support-president-election-voters-farmers/2085033001/

August 29 – Responding to the outrage in farm country, President Trump tweets that a “giant package” is coming to help stop the havoc wreaked by SREs. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1167064301565358080

September 12 – Midwestern lawmakers, including Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, meet with President Trump to hash out a deal. The meeting focuses on ensuring the RFS is kept whole by prospectively accounting for future SREs using a three-year rolling average of past SREs actually granted. At no time during this meeting is the use of the lower (and ignored) DOE recommendations for SREs discussed. https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/governor-reynolds-im-going-to-hold-the-president-to-what-he-said/

September 16 – Siouxland Energy ethanol plant in Sioux Center, Iowa shuts down. https://www.agweb.com/article/nw-iowa-ethanol-plant-idles-over-sre-waivers

September 24 – W2Fuel closes its biodiesel plant in Iowa along with another plant in Michigan. Twenty-eight biofuels plants around the country are now shut down. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2019/09/24/another-renewable-fuel-plant-closes-iowa-leaders-wait-biofuels-fix/2433255001/

October 3 – White House and EPA officials hold a briefing call for agriculture and biofuels supporters to review President Trump’s deal. On the call, in response to a specific question, biofuels supporters are told that the proposal would be to project future SREs based on actual waived gallons from the prior three years.

October 4 – As part of the Trump deal rollout, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler goes on WHO Radio and tells Iowans: “Yes, there may be waivers next year, because those are required under the law, but what we’re doing is we are putting forth 15 billion gallons plus an additional amount based upon what we’ve given out in the last three years in the waivers…” https://whoradio.iheart.com/content/2019-10-04-the-epa-makes-a-big-announcement-on-ethanol/ (Audio starts at 2:22)

October 15 – EPA unveils its proposed supplemental rule that was supposed to reflect President Trump’s deal. Instead, the use of actual SREs granted is replaced with the use of DOE recommendations, which are roughly half the amount of what EPA has done over the last 3 years. The EPA proposal does not guarantee that RFS levels will be met. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2019/10/15/epa-ethanol-biodiesel-gallons-lost-trump-administration-oil-industry-waivers-iowa-corn-growers/3974604002/

October 16 – Iowa ag and biofuels leaders hold a press conference to call on President Trump to force the EPA to stand by the deal that he agreed to with elected officials, that was briefed to industry leaders, and that was promised to Iowans by Administrator Wheeler. https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/agriculture/2019/10/16/ag-leaders-angry-over-trump-epa-ethanol-proposal/3998834002/

October 17 – After EPA questions the accuracy of Iowa ag and biofuels leaders, Governor Reynolds steps forward to set the record straight and debunk the false narrative that EPA has tried to peddle since their proposal became public. https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/governor-reynolds-im-going-to-hold-the-president-to-what-he-said/

For More Information:

Brandi Snyder, Public Relations Manager, bsnyder@iowacorn.org, 515-225-9242

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