EPA should rethink exemptions

EPA should rethink exemptions

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Letters to the editor

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) exists to support the growth of the U.S. biofuel industry and create a market for Illinois and American farmers. Under this program, the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry grew to more than 2 billion gallons of production. The industry supports 65,000 jobs across the country and generates more than $17 billion in economic opportunity for agriculture, transportation, and other industries.

Illinois is one of the largest biodiesel producers in the country with six plants and an estimated annual production capacity of 177 million gallons. It’s a big deal for our state. Several biodiesel producers closed their doors and laid off workers because of EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions. In Illinois, one biodiesel producer halted expansion plans due to the uncertainty that was taking place in the biodiesel marketplace. This pause hurts Illinois farmers and the local economy. Moreover, during one of the toughest years for U.S. agriculture, farmers lost an important market.

Biodiesel production can add more than $1 to the value of a bushel of U.S.-grown soybeans. On March 11, Sen. Tammy Duckworth made a simple request of EPA: Stop handing out small refinery exemptions. If EPA decides to honor the court’s decision, then most refineries won’t qualify for an exemption. If EPA chooses to challenge the court’s decision, it can still hold off granting additional exemptions until the issue is settled.

I’d like to thank Sen. Duckworth and encourage EPA to grant that simple request.

Ron Kindred, Atlanta

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