EPA Nixes SREs, MFP Disparities Come to Light

Sep 18, 2020  | 2 min  | Ep4605

On Friday, Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that USDA would provide an additional $14 billion in aid to farmers via the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The infusion of cash is only part of the Trump Administration’s renewed focus on rural America.

Josh Buettner has our report. Producer contact:: josh@iowapbs.org 


This week the Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to deny petitions for small refinery exemptions which previously waived fees bringing certain domestic oil producers into compliance with the Renewable Fuel Standard. The move includes 54 of 68 so-called “gap filling” requests for the compliance years 2011-2018. Uproar from biofuel sector prompted corn-state lawmakers to lobby the president to follow the letter of the law on the RFS and deny the waivers, though EPA hadn’t followed through until now.

On behalf of the nation’s refining trade associations, the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers responded to the EPA’s announcement, in part, saying: “...Telling ethanol interests everything they want to hear in a press release is not going to increase the amount of ethanol that gasoline can absorb or do anything to help farmers and ethanol producers. EPA knows this.”

Late in the week, Reuters reported on Trump administration plans to relieve oil companies impacted by denied waivers.

The West Wing also approved the expanded use of E15 fuel in tanks and pumps which previously only allowed E10.  The president green-lit year-round sales of E15 in 2019.

Farmers had hoped RFS enforcement would provide another outlet for crops while trade with China was strained. 

The World Trade Organization ruled there was no justification for the 2018 Trump Administration tariffs on some Chinese goods coming to America, calling the $200 billion U.S. action illegal.

President Donald Trump: “But I'm not a big fan of the WTO that I can tell you right now. Maybe they did us a big favor.”

USDA’s Market Faciliation Program was an effort to assist producers impacted directly by Chinese trade retaliation against U.S. agriculture, and this week the Government Accountability Office issued a report on $14 billion doled out in 2019.

The non-partisan watchdog found while corn and soybean producing states led in individual recipients among the well over half a million beneficiaries nationwide, critics point out operations in Secretary Sonny Perdue’s home state of Georgia reaped double the national average.

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.

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