Government

Trump to tour Council Bluffs ethanol plant

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S., October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, U.S., October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

CEDAR RAPIDS — President Donald Trump will travel to Council Bluffs June 11 to visit an ethanol refinery where he is expected to focus on the finalization and implementation of the year-round E15 rule.

His visit follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement last Friday that would no longer ban summer sales of E15 — a fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline often marketed as Unleaded 88. The ability to sell E15 year-round makes the fuel more attractive for retailers.

He is scheduled to tour Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, LLC (SIRE) in Council Bluffs. In remarks there, Trump is expected to highlight his administration’s accomplishments for American farmers, according to the White House.

He will then travel to West Des Moines to attend a Republican Party of Iowa fundraiser.

In 2005, members of the Iowa Quality Producers Alliance and other producer leaders founded SIRE. Today, the company has over 800 members, many of whom represent area farmers, local banks and other Midwest agriculture business owners.

Iowa ethanol plants produced a record-breaking 4.35 billion gallons in 2018. That accounted for about 27 percent of the total U.S. production last year.

The elimination of the ban on E15 summertime sales — first promised in October by President Donald Trump — prompted praise from Iowa lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, as well as Democrat House members Dave Loebsack and Abby Finkenauer.

Industry officials anticipate year-round E15 sales to boost the growth of compatible pumps across the state.

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Trump last visited Council Bluffs at the Mid-America Center in October 2018. He has made at least three trips to Iowa as president.

• Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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