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RFN releases statement on COVID-19 pandemic and state of ethanol industry

RFN today released the following statement in regards to the current state of the ethanol industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While we know all sectors of the economy are hurting, Nebraska’s ethanol industry is suffering unprecedented economic hardship as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic. Motor fuel demand has plummeted, ethanol prices have fallen to record lows, and ethanol producers are experiencing negative margins like rarely seen before. These virus-related challenges are compounded by the effects of the ongoing oil price war, trade disputes, and small refinery exemptions under the RFS. Not surprisingly, many ethanol plants across the nation are idling or on the verge of short to mid-term closures and potential layoffs.

Ethanol provides high-quality feed to livestock and vital octane and greenhouse gas reductions to our liquid fuel supply. As a result, ethanol is considered essential infrastructure by the Federal government and the industry’s number one focus is the safety and well being of our skilled workforce.

In order to keep the ethanol industry and its workforce productive and contributing during this crisis, we are asking that first, the Federal government do no harm. For instance, at a time and in market conditions like this, it would be unfathomable for the EPA to appeal the recent 10th Circuit decision on small refinery exemptions or to grant dozens more SREs currently under EPA consideration. We have also conveyed ideas we think would help the industry weather this storm to the Nebraska Congressional Delegation for consideration when and if a business assistance package comes together on the Hill.

While we know the current situation is dire, we are also cognizant of the essential role the ethanol industry will play in getting our country through this pandemic and onto a robust recovery once this crisis has been resolved."

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