EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been on a tour of farm country this week, meeting with corn farmers and ethanol producers in Kansas and South Dakota already and next to Nebraska.
At the East Kansas Agri-Energy ethanol plant in Garnett, Kansas, Pruitt sat down with a roomful of farmers and ethanol supporters who told him they were “mad as hell” about EPA efforts they believe undermine the RFS law.
Kansas Corn Growers Association President Ken McCauley says the group pressed Pruitt on EPA’s granting of small refinery exemptions which Pruitt claims he must do for refineries who claim financial hardship. “We asked him what constituted financial hardship and I can’t say we got an answer,” McCauley said.
The corn farmers also pointed out to the administrator that they were experiencing financial hardship themselves right now and EPA is making it worse for them. “I told him that EPA’s attacks on ethanol don’t just hurt ethanol plants, they hurt farmers, rural communities and American consumers who benefit from ethanol with lower prices and cleaner air,” said McCauley.
Farmers and ethanol producers in South Dakota held a good old fashioned tractor rally in Sioux Falls as Administrator Pruitt met with farmers in Reliance about 200 miles west. “Corn prices right now are at breakeven or below and we’ve lost 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol to exemptions that EPA has granted to refiners,” said South Dakota Corn Growers president Troy Knecht. “That equals about 570 million bushels of corn.”
American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings says they just want Administrator Pruitt to do his job. “He needs to uphold the RFS as the law of the land and stop the secret waivers and he needs to make good on the president’s promise to allow E15 use year round,” said Jennings.
Click on the audio files below for interviews with McCauley and Jennings and Knecht’s remarks at the rally:Interview with Ken McCauley, KS Corn president Remarks by Troy Knecht, SD Corn president Interview with American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings