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Grain producers across Wisconsin are worrying: Where will the demand for grain come from? Over the last few years, demand for grain by ethanol plants has plummeted. Forecasts are worse for this growing season, and the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the problem.

One major contributor to decreased demand is the Environmental Protection Agency. By liberally granting blending waivers to major oil corporations, Administrator Andrew Wheeler hurt Midwestern rural economies. In fact, over 4 billion gallons of biofuel demand were destroyed by this administration, undercutting President Donald Trump’s promise to revive rural America.

They now can repair some damage by applying the recent 10th Circuit Court ruling nationwide. That decision would end the abuse of these waivers and ensure biofuels have a fair opportunity to compete in the fuel market, as required by law.

Ethanol production in the United States creates jobs and economic development in rural areas, strengthens rural economies that are struggling and generates local, state and federal tax income. Foreign oil does none of these things. Imported oil may work at the pump, but the benefits of locally produced fuel are much more helpful to the economy.

With the COVID-19 outbreak keeping most drivers at home, biofuel demand is already hitting historic lows. It will take a major commitment if Trump hopes to protect those jobs and America’s farm income. One welcome sign of hope would be for the White House to immediately demand Wheeler move to protect the well-being of Wisconsin farm families.

Jerry Emmert

Baldwin

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