DES MOINES — There’s strong, negative reaction from Iowa politicians and the state’s biofuels industry to Thursday’s EPA decision on the Renewable Fuels Standard.
“Unfortunately, President Trump turned his back on providing certainty for farmers and instead granted EPA the leeway to do what they want in the future,” Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, said.
In September, corn belt lawmakers like Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst said President Trump had agreed to make up for waivers that let some oil refineries use less ethanol and biodiesel. EPA officials Thursday said their 2020 proposal will make up for that lost demand and they will follow Department of Energy recommendations on how many oil refinery waivers to grant next year. Shaw has his doubts.
“For the three years of the Trump administration, the EPA routinely granted just about double the amount of exempted gallons as DOE recommended, so that’s not a complete fix,” Shaw said.
Republican Governor Kim Reynolds said in a written statement that the EPA’s actions continue to disappoint the people of Iowa, as biofuels plants close and farmers lose an important market. Iowa’s Republican U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst issued a joint written statement. They say the EPA is playing games and has put the president in a bad situation by failing to adhere to a deal made in the Oval Office. Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, said Iowa farmers have taken it on the chin this year and the EPA’s announcement is unacceptable, but not unexpected.