Lee Nerison: Don't give ethanol waivers to huge corporations

Lee Nerison: Don't give ethanol waivers to huge corporations

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Here’s a fun fact about our state: Wisconsin is the seventh largest ethanol producer in the United States. This is because of the hard-working farm families that produce energy-rich grains for biofuel production.

When the Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency lifted outdated seasonal restrictions on sales of E15, a gasoline blend with 15 percent ethanol, it was great news. New options at the pump mean lower prices for drivers and bigger markets for farmers.

But that potential growth is being undermined by the small refinery exemptions the EPA is handing out to large oil corporations like Exxon. These waivers allow massive oil companies to lock ethanol blends out of the market.

Ethanol production in Wisconsin supports more than 19,000 jobs and creates $4.2 billion in economic activity. And it doesn’t just positively affect our farmers, but the environment as well.

The EPA had the right intentions when they lifted seasonal restrictions on E15. But by continuing to put large oil companies first, they are harming the communities President Donald Trump promised to help.

Lee Nerison, Westby

Lee Nerison is a former state representative.

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