The Latest: Perdue says Trump to act on ethanol waivers

DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s visit to Illinois (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says President Donald Trump will take action to soften the effects of oil refinery exceptions for blending corn-based ethanol in motor fuel.

Perdue spoke to farmers and agribusiness leaders Wednesday in Decatur, Illinois. He says it was “disappointing” that Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency granted the waivers . They came after Trump allowed for year-round sales of 15% ethanol blend in fuel. That’s up from the more common 10% blend and it lifted a summertime ban on sales of the 15% fuel because of more smog produced by higher concentrations of ethanol.

Perdue would not say what action the Republican president will take but that Trump believes the EPA waivers were “way overdone.”

Ethanol advocates contend that oil refinery waivers have reduced ethanol production by 2.6 billion gallons (9.8 billion liters) since Trump took office.


12:05 a.m.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is set to visit Illinois amid rising tensions between farmers and President Donald Trump’s administration.

Perdue’s visit on Wednesday begins in Decatur at an Ag Policy Summit hosted by U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, an Illinois Republican. GOP Congressmen John Shimkus, Mike Bost and Darrin LaHood will join them. Perdue is also slated to visit the Farm Progress Show in Decatur and later tour the Melvin Price Locks and Dam Facility in Alton after a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers briefing.

Perdue has sought to assuage farmers’ fears of financial problems after China halted purchases of U.S. farm products in an escalating trade war. Also, farmers are angry that the Republican administration ordered increased blending of corn-based ethanol in fuel but then exempted small oil refineries from complying.

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