Iowa producers say ethanol limits would mean 'war'

Warn President against restrictions on biofuel production.

Posted: Apr 6, 2018 4:59 PM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa ethanol and biodiesel producers warned President Donald Trump on Friday that imposing restrictions on biofuels production "would be viewed as a declaration of war on rural America."

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, a group representing the state's 43 ethanol and 12 biodiesel refineries, wrote a letter to Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst on Friday. It called on them to tell Trump that limiting biofuel production would be a "complete abdication of his repeated promises" to protect the renewable fuel standard, a federal law that mandates a minimum volume of biofuels to be mixed in the nation's gasoline and diesel fuel supply.

The group said it has heard that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will push Trump on Monday for a proposal advocated by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas that would significantly reduce demand for biofuels.

The EPA and the White House did not immediately respond to messages seeking confirmation of a meeting.

Cruz has tried to get Trump to waive some of the requirements in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard law that would ease gasoline and diesel refiners' volume mandates. That would reduce demand for the biofuels and violate the RFS, the biofuels producers said.

The biofuels producers allege that Pruitt already has taken action to lift some of the mandated blending requirements through secretive waivers to some petroleum refiners exempting them from compliance and destroying more than a billion gallons of biofuels demand.

"Since taking the helm at the EPA, Pruitt has repeatedly and relentlessly sought ways to subvert the President's RFS promises and to undermine, if not destroy, the effectiveness of the program. His anti-RFS actions must be put to an end because today Scott Pruitt is essentially making a liar out of President Trump," the group said.

Trump gained early support in Iowa during his presidential campaign in part of emphasizing his support for the decades-old RFS program, which is managed by the EPA.

Corn, soybeans and animal fat are used in the production of biofuels and farmers rely heavily on markets for their products created by the fuel additives.

Farmers already are stinging from Trump's tariff fight with China which has affected pork exports and prices and the export of ethanol to China. The next round of tariffs could impact exports of soybeans for which prices already have fallen in anticipation of Chinese tariffs.

Pruitt was closely aligned with the oil and gas industry as an elected Republican official in his home state of Oklahoma. He proposed modest cuts last summer to production quotas for ethanol and other biofuels, despite promises from Trump to leave the RFS alone.

"EPA is chipping away at the Renewable Fuel Standard by issuing secret 'hardship' waivers to oil refining corporations making billions of dollars in profits," Grassley said in a statement, adding further erosion of the RFS would "deal a massive blow to rural America."

Ernst said in a statement that she and Grassley have had countless meetings with Trump and the administration on ethanol and she is "fully committed to protecting the RFS and will not support anything that will harm the 88,000 farms in Iowa or the 50,000 jobs tied to the renewable fuels industry."

The American Petroleum Institute, a trade group for the oil and natural gas industry, said it continues to work with leaders in Congress to come up with a comprehensive approach "to fixing the outdated and broken ethanol mandate."

"We appreciate the president elevating this important consumer issue and support efforts to seek a legislative overhaul of the RFS," the group said in a statement.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 768112

Reported Deaths: 8639
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1533481923
Ramsey63323978
Dakota56954525
Anoka53854520
Washington33598331
Stearns28397253
St. Louis23627358
Scott21603160
Wright21301171
Olmsted18125120
Sherburne15480115
Carver1361255
Clay1023599
Rice9966131
Blue Earth964559
Crow Wing9467109
Kandiyohi834397
Chisago833563
Otter Tail8020105
Benton7472111
Beltrami652879
Mower645440
Douglas627590
Goodhue619485
Itasca615382
Winona611254
McLeod593770
Steele585225
Isanti569274
Morrison556066
Becker532762
Polk510778
Freeborn487642
Nobles480852
Lyon454856
Carlton445566
Nicollet433352
Pine427031
Cass423144
Mille Lacs415367
Brown409947
Todd398836
Le Sueur385332
Meeker356253
Waseca327231
Martin326236
Wabasha29516
Hubbard289944
Dodge273310
Roseau263827
Fillmore243212
Redwood239643
Wadena236629
Houston231017
Renville227349
Faribault220230
Pennington216527
Sibley210612
Cottonwood196628
Kanabec191330
Chippewa190240
Aitkin182543
Watonwan170811
Pope16128
Yellow Medicine156620
Rock155019
Jackson146514
Koochiching138319
Clearwater136018
Swift134519
Marshall134320
Murray134311
Pipestone133327
Stevens124511
Lake109121
Wilkin102214
Lac qui Parle98324
Mahnomen89312
Norman8729
Big Stone7974
Lincoln7825
Grant7819
Kittson60822
Red Lake5899
Unassigned529124
Traverse5125
Lake of the Woods4714
Cook2460

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 474151

Reported Deaths: 6785
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk74657729
Linn29194394
Scott24733274
Black Hawk20335358
Woodbury19207244
Johnson17988100
Dubuque15834229
Pottawattamie14276200
Dallas14109108
Story1288551
Warren774296
Cerro Gordo6951110
Webster6950111
Clinton6929101
Des Moines667594
Marshall641885
Muscatine6352113
Wapello5936137
Jasper578279
Lee565689
Sioux565676
Marion508191
Buena Vista491746
Plymouth463487
Henry389847
Jones370861
Washington366856
Benton359257
Bremer357168
Boone350937
Carroll346353
Crawford339347
Mahaska322856
Dickinson301052
Clay279133
Buchanan279039
Jackson273546
Kossuth271873
Hardin270249
Tama264976
Fayette260649
Delaware258546
Cedar249526
Page249328
Wright243645
Hamilton233954
Winneshiek233338
Floyd221845
Harrison217777
Madison216925
Clayton214558
Poweshiek211741
Iowa208029
Butler206638
Cass201557
Jefferson201040
Mills199929
Allamakee194753
Cherokee193844
Lyon192941
Hancock187639
Winnebago186633
Calhoun186116
Appanoose180850
Shelby178439
Louisa171052
Grundy168537
Humboldt167727
Emmet167146
Franklin164628
Mitchell164043
Union162637
Chickasaw159318
Sac157924
Guthrie155434
Montgomery142342
Palo Alto142032
Clarke141328
Keokuk139635
Monroe134335
Howard128222
Ida118641
Greene116315
Davis115225
Lucas113724
Pocahontas111423
Monona108738
Worth10818
Adair105335
Osceola94017
Fremont86111
Van Buren84221
Decatur82612
Taylor79713
Wayne74824
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Adams5095
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