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EPA waivers undercut rural America, domestic soybean demand

Article cover photo
Demand for biodiesel has been reduced by more than 360 million gallons since 2015, due to decisions made by the EPA. (Photo Credit: Joseph L. Murphy/Iowa Soybean Association)

Statement courtesy of ISA President Lindsay Greiner who grows soybeans near Keota, Iowa.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s granting of additional renewable fuel waivers to the petroleum industry couldn’t come at a worse time for America’s farmers and a country that’s hitting its stride in improving the quality of our air, land and water.

As many farmers in key growing regions struggle with flooding and suppressed prices due to U.S. trade disputes with key customers, they must also take into account the impact of the EPA’s continued support for petroleum refineries.

Demand for biodiesel has been reduced by more than 360 million gallons since 2015, due to decisions made by the EPA. The agency continues to grant exemptions to the petroleum industry, unfairly decreasing market demand for U.S.-produced biodiesel. Iowa’s soybean farmers condemn these exemptions that continue to put the interests of the oil industry over soybean growers, biodiesel producers and the environment.

The soybean sector urgently needs an uptick in domestic demand amidst uncertainties with China and other key trade partners. A growing and transparent Renewable Fuels Standard should be made whole after lost demand from small refinery waivers. Extending tax credits for biodiesel producers would bring some certainty to an industry that benefits rural communities.

In just five years, U.S. net farm income has declined nearly 50 percent while crop prices have dropped 60 percent. Now is not the time for petroleum interests to add to a downturned market. Iowa soybean farmers remind the EPA and the Administration that action, not words, matter most to farmers and America’s rural communities. The president has stated that he has the back of U.S. farmers; EPA taking measures supportive of ‘Big Oil’ calls the president’s support into serious question. End small refinery exemptions and promote a homegrown fuel that benefits the environment, motorists and farmers.

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