Siouxland ethanol producers react to Supreme Court ruling

Local News

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KCAU) – Siouxland ethanol producers say they’re disappointed in the latest chapter of an ongoing fight with the oil industry.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision Friday. That reversal could make it easier for small refineries to ask for an exemption from the Renewable Fuels Standard—a federal mandate requiring at least 15 billion gallons of ethanol be blended into oil refinery products each year.

Jeff Altena, with Siouxland Energy Cooperative, says small refineries have raked in billions through these waivers.

“These refineries have to prove hardships specifically due to their requirement to follow the Renewable Fuels Standard,” Jeff Altena with Siouxland Energy Cooperative said.

“Actions such as this kind of take us just a little bit of a step back,” Pam Miller with Renewable Fuels Nebraska said.

The ongoing battle between corn and oil ramped up during the Trump Administration, which granted 85 waivers to small refineries.

“You had Scott Pruitt initially in the EPA, who was a friend of petroleum–handed off that office to Andy Wheeler, who was a petroleum lobbyist,” Altena said.

“There’s less demand for ethanol, there’s less demand for corn. So that’s, that’s the local level. That’s what it really gets down to,” Miller said.

Producers say while the ruling is disappointing, it does not open the floodgates for SRE’s moving forward.

“Right now, there’s 70 small refinery exemptions petitions. We’re hoping that those will be adjudicated properly,” Miller said.

“Going forward, there’ll be a much finer eye applied to these applications. The existing administration is much more environmentally friendly, and renewable friendly, so we’ll just have to see how it plays out,” Altena said.

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