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Change by EPA is good news for Iowa

Agency to reduce waivers for refineries

Corn growers and ethanol producers finally got a bit of good news from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has reversed its position on a policy issue in a move that, in the long run, will grow the market for ethanol.

Refineries are required by federal law to blend billions of gallons of ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. However, they can seek and receive waivers that exempt them from blending the required amount of ethanol.

Perhaps there are some valid reasons why a refinery would need a waiver. But it seems like such instances would be far and few between.

But over the last four years, the number of waivers issued jumped dramatically. It seemed as if the EPA was granting waivers to any refinery that asked for one.

The whole situation ended up in federal court when farm groups and the Renewable Fuels Association filed a lawsuit. In the wake of a ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the EPA has done a 180 degree turn and is now supporting the farm groups and the Renewable Fuels Association. In other words, the EPA is now stating that it is in favor of fewer waivers for refineries.

While the litigation may not be over, we are pleased that the EPA has apparently come to its senses on this issue.

The agency’s new stance means a better market for corn growers and ethanol producers. It also means cleaner air for all Americans.

It is a win for everyone.

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