Brown Blasts Trump Renewable Fuel Standard Proposal as Betrayal to Ohio Farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) blasted the Trump Administration after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they are setting the 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements at 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol. Today’s rule falls short of providing farmers and the biofuels industry the certainty needed to make important business decisions.

“Once again President Trump is choosing oil companies over family farms,” said Brown. “While farmers continue to struggle with low commodity prices, the oil companies seem to get whatever they want. The Administration’s rule and abuse of these waivers is a betrayal to rural America.”

In September, Brown slammed the Trump Administration for abusing the use of federal waivers to help big oil while undercutting farmers and rural economies. The Administration is using ‘small refinery waivers’ to grant exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard for some of the world’s largest oil companies, driving down demand for biofuels by more than 1.4 billion gallons. Brown joined Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN) and Senate colleagues to send a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler calling on EPA to stop the abuse of these waivers and end the harm to rural economies and farmers across the country.

In a separate letter to President Trump in September, Brown strongly urged him to help rural Americans, and the environment, by rescinding the 31 recently approved small refinery exemptions (SRE) for biofuels. He also urged the Trump Administration to uphold the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The letter followed recent news reports indicating that the Administration is considering changes to the RFS that would boost biofuel volumes following backlash from farmers after 31 additional SREs were approved on August 8. SREs, or so-called “hardship” waivers, are intended to help small refineries by exempting them from the RFS, but the EPA has issued dozens of waivers, including for some of the most profitable oil companies in the world.

Brown is a long-time supporter of sensible biofuel production that promotes Ohio agriculture and reduces the need for foreign oil. In 2017, Brown applauded the groundbreaking of an expansion at POET Biorefining-Marion that will create jobs and double the size of the facility.