In 2016, candidate Donald Trump promised to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard to ensure ethanol made from U.S. grains has a place in our nation’s fuel mix. By producing homegrown biofuels, we both grow our economy and stem the flow of foreign oil. Trump’s promises attracted the Iowa farmers’ votes and got him elected president.
Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency’s blanket approval of ethanol exemptions has allowed dozens of refiners to bypass the RFS with nothing more than their word that they are “suffering economic hardships.” The EPA has approved dozens of exemptions in the last two years, not refusing a single request. Even oil giants like Exxon Mobil with record profits have had every application approved.
The petroleum industry has never been a fan of cleaner-burning American-made ethanol. Through the use of regulatory loopholes, their lobbyists and lawyers have reduced demand for over 2.5 billion gallons of ethanol. This has effectively dumped hundreds of millions of bushels of corn onto an already depressed grain market. This will spill over into all the other jobs that are related to agriculture.
Politicians from oil-producing states are getting everything they ever hoped for. We are fortunate to have Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley pushing the president. President Trump could easily keep his campaign promise to heartland farmers and rural workers who voted for him by directing his new EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, to follow the law. Refinery exemptions are little more than handouts to the petroleum industry.
Director, Iowa Corn Growers Association