Ethanol Blog

Trump Pressured to Change RFS Small-Refinery Waivers Program

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The agriculture industry continues to pressure President Donald Trump to make changes to the small-refinery waiver program. (DTN photo by Todd Neeley)

The future of EPA's approach to issuing small-refinery waivers may be coming to a fork in the road, as agriculture and ethanol groups are keeping the pressure on the agency to make changes and President Donald Trump may be listening.

Earlier this week Dow Jones reported that following his stop at an Iowa ethanol plant in Council Bluffs recently where a couple of farmers gave him an earful, Trump ordered members of his cabinet to review the waivers program.

Since early 2018, EPA has granted 53 waivers totaling 2.61 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons of renewable fuel.

The National Corn Growers Association said in a news release this week the waivers effectively reduced the 15-billion-gallon implied ethanol volume to 13.18 billion gallons. Federal data show ethanol consumption in the United States fell for the first time in 20 years in 2018.

Refining interests have maintained the agency is bound by recent legal decisions to issue waivers to refiners that produce less than 75,000 barrels per day.

Currently the agency has 39 waiver requests retroactively pending for 2018.

DTN reported last week,… that newly released EPA documents show now-former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was warned by agency advisers not to issue waivers. Pruitt, however, ordered the agency to approve waivers, suggesting the EPA has a fair amount of flexibility on requests.

This week the NCGA launched an advertising campaign,…, as the group began airing this 30-second video on Fox News affiliates.

The video features NCGA First Vice President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross who called on Trump to stop the waivers, at his visit to Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy. "The EPA's oil refinery waivers threaten to undo your good works," Ross said.

Todd Neeley can be reached at

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