70 rural mayors urge EPA to protect biofuel, farm jobs


Seventy mayors from 10 states wrote EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler calling for the agency to “reject unjustifiable RFS waiver requests and protect rural communities.”

The 70 farm belt mayors are upset by the oil industry attempting to seize markets from farmers and biofuel producers.

“Some of us have already seen our local ethanol plant shutter its doors while others have witnessed their local ethanol plant reduce operations,” the letter read. “This is having devastating ripple effects throughout our economy. Such waivers would further damage our communities and the farmers, workers, and families who depend on a vibrant biofuels industry.”

In the letter, the mayors wrote that the biofuels industry was “reeling” because of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 70 plants have been shuttered or cut production significantly, including the two largest plants in Nebraska and Iowa. Overall, the mayors say more than 350,000 rural jobs are at risk.

“Our communities depend on the RFS to support commodity prices for our farmers, high-skilled job opportunities for our workers, and reduce harmful air pollutants in our air,” the letter concluded. “We ask that EPA reject unjustifiable RFS waiver requests and protect rural communities.”

The letter was signed by rural mayors in South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Colorado.

Read the full letter here.