1,700 Ethanol Producers Sign Letter to EPA

Jacob Notermann The ethanol industry may be fighting for its survival.

Seventeen hundred biofuel producers and advocates sent a letter to the White House, imploring President Trump and the EPA to change course.

Of those signing the one-page letter, 55 are from North Dakota. This state is home to five ethanol plants, all of which have felt the pressure the entire industry is feeling.

In the letter, the industry calls for the EPA to stop ignoring their own commitments: "Despite your own vocal support for ethanol and biodiesel, the agency's underhanded actions have shuttered dozens of biofuel plants, left thousands out of work, and destroyed vital markets for America's farmers."

Congress requires a certain amount of ethanol to be produced each year. Over the past three years, the mark has been missed by four billion gallons.

"All we need to do is reallocate the gallons. Congress wrote this in the law, and remember it is the law, and all that we are asking for is to reallocate the gallons," said Ryan Thorpe, COO for Tharaldson Ethanol Plant.

This fall was a tipping point. The EPA said they would reallocate the lost production. One month later, a new ruling. They wouldn't make up what was lost. Rather, what the EPA predicted to lose. Producer's weren't happy.

"There's very little trust there now due to the fact that we thought we had a deal. And then, they're not standing up to what they agreed to," Thorpe said.

Industry leaders say their losing trust and worry their investments are all for nothing.

The ongoing trade disputes are also hampering the biofules market; breaking up what were consistent and reliable markets.