Statement Courtesy of Iowa Soybean Association President Tim Bardole of Rippey.
The negative impact of Coronavirus and African Swine Fever combined with ongoing trade disruptions nearly two years ongoing continue to slam farmers, rural communities and Iowa.
One issue directly tethered to the farm economy is biodiesel. For too long now, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has continued to get it wrong on biofuels, to the detriment of our country.
The agency’s litany of small refinery exemptions which have undercut demand and the price of what farmers grow are illegal. I salute Sen. Joni Ernst for demanding the EPA follow the recent 10th Circuit Court’s ruling, which invalidated several of the exemptions, as the “law of the land” and stop giving exemptions to refiners that don’t deserve them.
It’s time to rise and stand in unison against the EPA for continuing to sidestep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Congress adopted the federal program more than a decade ago to build a domestic biofuel industry and a new market for American agriculture.
The U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry grew from a few hundred million gallons at the start of the program to more than 2 billion gallons today. It supports 65,000 jobs nationwide and is one of Iowa’s most important economic drivers.
In overseeing the RFS, Congress gave the EPA some flexibility to ensure the program didn’t disrupt other industries. But EPA abused that by inventing new hardship exemptions for dozens of oil refiners, according to the court. EPA handed out 85 of these exemptions in the past 3 years, claiming hardship even as the oil industry enjoys some of its most profitable years. Meanwhile, 10 biodiesel producers went out of business last year – including one in Iowa – and laid off workers because of EPA’s “arbitrary and capricious” actions.
EPA has much more to do to put the RFS back on track and restore the faith of Middle America in this administration. But at least we know our congressional delegation is fighting for integrity. Let’s join them in this fight as we scratch and claw our way back to profitability in agriculture.
Not funded by the soybean checkoff
The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) is “Driven To Deliver” increased soybean demand through market development and new uses, farmer-focused research and results, timely information and know-how and policy initiatives enabling farmers and the industry to flourish. Founded in 1964 by farmers to serve farmers, ISA is governed by a board of 22 farmers to advocate on behalf of the state’s 40,000 soybean producers, including more than 12,000 ISA farmer members and industry stakeholders.