The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted another small refinery waiver from 2017, bringing the total number of refineries exempt from US biofuel legislation to 35, Reuters reports.
These waivers exempt smaller refineries from blending biofuels, including corn-based ethanol, into their fuels.
In response to this latest waiver, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor expressed concern for the impact such exemptions will have on the US ethanol industry, in particular rural farm communities.
Skor said: “New leadership at the EPA was supposed to mean a return to the president’s pro-biofuel agenda. Instead, we’re getting a man-made recession in rural America, just to boost profits for a few oil giants. There’s no way to view the continued abuse of EPA waivers except as a betrayal of rural manufacturing workers and farm communities.
“The EPA has now destroyed 2.6 billion gallons of biofuel demand, eliminating the market for a billion bushels of US grain. Farm families are already facing natural disasters, on top of lost export markets.
“If the EPA doesn’t act now to restore the market promised to farmers, there is little hope for a swift rural recovery. EPA must start considering denials for the record 39 exemption requests that have already arrived for 2018.
“If 2018 looks anything like 2017 in terms of refinery handouts, the damage to the rural economy could be irreparable.”