Dear Editor: There’s a simple thing the Environmental Protection Agency can do to ease the burden facing Wisconsin farmers and biofuel producers: uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard, as required by law. Unfortunately, the agency’s actions have repeatedly hurt biofuels, which drains income from rural communities across our state.
Secret refinery exemptions allow oil companies to avoid laws designed to protect competition from biofuels. The waivers have quadrupled over the last several years, going to major corporations like Exxon and Chevron, which have destroyed demand for over four billion gallons of ethanol. Now, the EPA is considering nearly 100 new exemption requests, 67 of which would retroactively qualify refiners for billions of gallons of new handouts. At a time when the industry is already reeling from the effects of COVID-19, this would be devastating.
Wisconsin is the nation’s eighth-largest producer of biofuels, employing roughly 30,000 people statewide. Often, the industry is the lifeblood that supports smaller, rural communities. We can’t afford more hurdles from the EPA. We’re asking the administration to uphold President Trump’s promise to support biofuels and the economic value the industry provides. That means denying these new waiver requests. Doing so is critical to our state’s success.
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