Cloverdale, Indiana — A biofuel refiner with a plant in our area says they’re slowing down production due to a number of issues, especially ethanol waivers.
POET has announced it will idle production at its bioprocessing facility in Cloverdale, Indiana due to recent decisions. The process to idle the plant will take several weeks, after which the plant will cease processing of over 30 million bushels of corn annually and hundreds of jobs in that community will be impacted.
POET says they have reduced production at half of their biorefineries, with the largest drops taking place in Iowa and Ohio. As a result, POET says numerous jobs will be consolidated across their 28 biorefineries and corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels across Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Missouri.
POET Chairman and CEO, Jeff Broin says that the Renewable Fuel Standard or RFS was designed to increase the use of clean, renewable biofuels and generate grain demand for farmers. He says the industry invested billions of dollars based on the belief that oil could not restrict access to the market and EPA would stand behind the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Unfortunately, says Broin, ”…the oil industry is manipulating the EPA and is now using the RFS to destroy demand for biofuels, reducing the price of commodities and gutting rural economies in the process.”
The RFS authorizes small refinery exemptions for refiners that process less than 75,000 barrels of petroleum a day and demonstrate “disproportionate economic hardship.” Broin says that over the past two years, the EPA has issued waivers to refineries owned by ExxonMobil, Chevron, and other large oil companies. He says none of those are small and none have economic hardship.
POET President and COO, Jeff Lautt says POET made strategic decisions to support President Trump’s goal of boosting the farm economy. However, he says these goals are contradicted by bailouts to oil companies. The result is pain for Midwest farmers and the reduction of hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of economic activity.
POET, the world’s largest biofuels producer, has a network of 28 production facilities.