Today a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear updates on the Trump Administration’s moves to exempt oil refiners from blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The hearing is titled, “Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration’s Abuse of Secret Waivers.” The multiple exemptions have outraged farmers and ethanol producers. Frustrations have even been heard from bipartisan lawmakers representing farm states. Unfortunately, North Dakota’s leadership has been noticeably absent on this issue.
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Since taking office, President Trump and his EPA have handed out 85 waivers to refineries that includes 31 exemptions granted in August of 2019. The latest round vocalized many farmers who are also feeling the impacts of the ongoing trade war with China. Due to increasing public pressure from farmers, Trump announced a “giant package” that was supposed to ease tensions between big oil and agriculture. The move was met with applause from North Dakota’s elected officials who have been trying to sit this one out.
Again and again, the administration has made big promises to family farmers. And again and again, they have failed to deliver on those promises. We shouldn’t be surprised, then, when President Trump and the EPA swear to fully repair the harm inflicted by small refinery exemptions and then only offer half a solution.
– National Farmers Union Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew
Unfortunately, the package rolled out by the EPA was much smaller than what had been promised by the President according to farm groups. Actions speak louder than words when it comes to public policy. As I stated before, while farmers struggle, big oil continues to get the break in this administration. Hopefully, today’s hearing provides North Dakota farmers the answers they deserve.