Iowa ethanol leader: Trump needs to do more, Biden needs to visit
President Donald Trump needs to take more action on ethanol to assure that farmers will vote for him in November, while former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for president, would sway more farm voters if he would visit Iowa to state his commitments to the ethanol industry in person, the leader of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association has told The Hagstrom Report.
In an interview late last week, Monte Shaw, the executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said that the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to reject the small refinery exemption petitions from the Renewable Fuel Standard for previous years known as “gap year” petitions had been reassuring to Iowa farmers.
But he noted that he is not sure the action is “enough” to persuade farmers upset by the Trump administration’s previous actions that have been perceived as anti-ethanol.
Some farmers, Shaw said, will still look upon the first three years of the Trump administration as damaging to the ethanol industry and say that the rejection of the small refinery waivers is not enough of a signal to vote for Trump for a second term.
Shaw said there are several actions that the Trump administration could take to reassure the Iowa ethanol producers:
▪ EPA could get the analysis of remaining small refinery waiver petitions from the Energy Department and reject those positions.
▪ EPA could declare that the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said EPA had exceeded its authority in granting past small refinery exemptions will be applied nationally.
▪ And EPA could release the 2021 volumetric requirements for biofuels use, which have been delayed.
Shaw also said Biden could probably win more votes if he would travel to Iowa and give a speech on ethanol. Biden has issued statements that he supports ethanol and called the rejection of the gap year waivers Trump’s “latest insult to the ethanol industry” because the administration had taken so many previous actions that hurt it.
“Lip service 50 days before an election won’t make up for nearly four years of retroactive damage that’s decimated our trade economy and forced ethanol plants to shutter,” Biden has said in a statement.
“We can — and we must — do better,” Biden said, adding that if elected he and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., “will fight for family farmers and revitalize rural economies — from keeping our promises to farmers by ushering in a new era of biofuels, to investing in the broadband infrastructure and rural health care access that families and communities need.”
But Shaw said a press release does not have the same impact as a public statement delivered in person.
Shaw, a former aide to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, noted that the outcomes of Iowa presidential elections depend on how Republican Iowa’s rural counties go. When the rural counties are “light red,” the Democrats win, he said.
Shaw made the statements shortly after national renewable fuels leaders called on the Trump administration to take more action on ethanol policy. He noted that the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is independent of the national Renewable Fuels Association.
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