The announcement on Friday from President Trump’s administration that the EPA will take steps to blend 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol with unleaded gasoline is great news for corn and corn ethanol producers in South Dakota who have suffered from the EPA’s issuance of Small Refinery Exemptions over the past several years.
U.S. Senator Mike Rounds in a media release on Friday said, “Corn and Corn Ethanol play a vital role in South Dakota’s economy and in our nations fuel supply” that statement was echoed by other members of South Dakota’s Washington delegation. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says that this move is critical for South Dakota farmers and ranchers who have been dealing with lower commodity prices and unstable market conditions.
Jim Seuer is the CEO of Glacial Lakes Energy in Watertown. Seuer agrees that the move by the Trump administration is a good one for the Ethanol industry, however he hopes this is just the beginning because, he says, there is still more work that could be done.
Seurer says that the capacity to produce more ethanol is there and if the ethanol industry is to grow they must be able to produce the higher blends.
Seurer says that with electric vehicles and stronger regulations on fuel standards cutting into the market the Ethanol industry had to come up with a different game plan and that, says Seuer is E30.
In 2018, South Dakota was ranked sixth in the nation for ethanol production capacity and accounted for seven percent of total ethanol fuel production nationally. Last year, South Dakota’s 16 ethanol plants produced more than 1 billion gallons of ethanol.