NFU urges year-round E15, Trump plans trip to Iowa

-The Hagstrom Report

The National Farmers Union last week urged President Donald Trump to allow year-round use of E15 gasoline and cease ethanol waivers to oil refiners, and a day later Politico reported that Trump is planning a trip to Iowa on Oct. 9 for an E15 announcement to bolster Republican candidates for office in November.

In a news release, NFU President Roger Johnson said he was calling on the president “ahead of an expected Trump administration announcement on changes to the nation’s biofuel policies” “to follow through on his promises to support American family farmers and the biofuel industry by allowing year-round use of E15 gasoline, ceasing undue hardship waivers to oil refiners, and making up for lost demand as a result of previous waivers.”

Johnson said that “while an E15 waiver is a step in the right direction towards expanded use of American grown biofuels, such a measure on its own would not make up for the billions of gallons of lost demand for ethanol that have resulted from Renewable Fuel Standard exemptions handed out by former EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) chief Scott Pruitt.”

“The historic decline in the farm economy over the past five years has been exacerbated by mishandling of the nation’s chief biofuel policy, the Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Johnson.

“While a move to allow year-round use of E15 gasoline is expected to increase domestic demand for ethanol by 1.3 billion gallons over the next five years, that number pales in comparison to the projected 4.6 billion gallons worth of demand that would be lost over the next six years if EPA continues handing out hardship waivers to oil refiners.”

Johnson said an announcement must be accompanied by a provision that makes up for the billions of gallons of lost demand as a result of hardship waivers, as well as a commitment not to further erode demand through continued use of waivers.

“An announcement on E15 in and of itself does not make whole a biofuels industry that has experienced significant damage as a result of the former EPA administrator’s actions,” he said.

Johnson said such a request is commonsense for an administration that has pledged to support family farmers and American-grown biofuels.

On Friday, citing renewable fuels industry sources, Politico reported that Trump is planning an Oct. 9 visit to Council Bluffs, Iowa, to boost the gubernatorial campaign of Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is in a tight race against Democrat Fred Hubbell and Rep. David Young, a Republican who is in a competitive race against Democrat Cindy Axne.

Politico said neither the White House nor EPA responded to a request for comment.