Ethanol has been a hot-button topic during the Trump administration. When the President was a candidate, he told the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association he supported biofuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). Thursday the President returned to Iowa to talk biofuels at a roundtable in Dubuque.
Audio: World of Agriculture
Ethanol has been making the push for year-round sales of E15. However, ethanol had no ally in former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Pruitt. On Thursday, President Trump said they were close to getting year-round sales of E15. What has a lot of ethanol producers worried is at what cost will this happen? The reactions to the President’s statements have been cautiously optimistic.
Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association summed it up, “We appreciate President Trump coming to Iowa and acknowledging the need for year-round E15 sales. Opening up E15 would create a new market for renewable fuels producers and farmers here at home. But we are concerned that the President is being told it is ‘a very complex process’ – which likely refers to some in the Administration wanting to package E15 relief with other anti-biofuels provisions.
“Earlier this week, the new head of the EPA told reporters the agency would not be moving forward with year-round E15 sales absent some sort of package deal that included more benefits for petroleum interests, like the possibly illegal export RINs scheme that would devastate demand. Well, Iowans are asking where was the package deal when the EPA destroyed over two billion gallons of demand with dubious small refinery exemptions? Where was the package deal when over 300 million gallons were destroyed with the sweetheart PES bankruptcy giveaway? Where was the package deal when the trade dispute slammed the door shut on the potential 500-million-gallon Chinese export market for ethanol?”
Whether or not there will be year-round E15 sales remains to be seen. However, a lot of damage has been done and a relationship between the administration and the ethanol sector needs to be repaired.