Growth Energy members urge Trump to reallocate lost SRE volumes

By Erin Voegele | August 26, 2019

Nearly 100 members of Growth Energy sent a letter to President Trump Aug. 26 urging him to call upon the U.S. EPA to honor his commitment to American biofuels and rural prosperity by restoring biofuel demand lost due to small refinery exemptions (SREs). “The future of our industry and the livelihoods of millions of biofuel workers and farmers are in your hands,” they wrote.

The letter expresses appreciation for the White House’s support of year-round E15, but notes the EPA’s actions with regard to SREs threaten to undo that work. “Over the last three years, the EPA has abused the [SRE] process and issued 85 SREs, including handouts to some of the world’s largest oil companies,” the ethanol industry members wrote, noting each approved SRE erodes the Renewable Fuel Standard, eliminating the incentive to offer lower-cost options at the fuel pump, including E15.

The members of Growth Energy stress that SREs have already destroyed billions of gallons of U.S. biofuel demand. Several plants have idled, they said, noting that U.S. ethanol consumption fell for the first time in two decades last year.

“Each time a plant idles production, farmers are notified that biofuel producers can no longer accept grain deliveries, and the impact has been devastating for communities already on the edge,” they continued. “Farm income is now down by half since the start of this year along, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Without your support, this harvest could be the last for many facilities.”

The letter points out that each new SRE is a threat to hundreds of thousands of jobs. “Make no mistake, the rural manufacturing that keeps our communities strong could soon vanish if unelected bureaucrats at the EPA continue to eliminate the market for biofuels,” the members of Growth Energy said. “America would no longer be the world’s top producer and exporter of ethanol.”

While famers are suffering, the letter stresses that oil companies enjoyed their most profitable year since 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. “Rural workers and farmers can no longer pay the price for handouts to oil giants like Exxon and Chevron,” the letter continues.

Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy, is also calling in the Trump Administration to move swiftly to restore biofuel demand lost due to the EPA’s continued abuse of SREs. “Our members and farm suppliers need the White House to make this right,” Skor said. “The EPA must immediately repair the damage from abusive refinery exemptions and get lost gallons back into the marketplace before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from the EPA website