Axne, Young weigh in on RFS waivers

Source: By KMA • Posted: Monday, October 19, 2020

(Des Moines) — Candidates for Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District seat are critical of the Renewable Fuel Standard waivers granted to large oil refineries in recent years.

Democrat incumbent Cindy Axne and Republican challenger David Young squared off in a debate earlier this week on KCCI television in Des Moines. One of the questions asked during the one-hour debate concerned the Trump Administration’s granting of dozens of RFS waivers, allowing oil companies to avoid blending four billion gallons of ethanol. Both candidates were asked whether Congress should end the waiver program. Congresswoman Axne, who defeated Young in their first matchup in 2018, calls Trump’s handling of ethanol and agriculture, in general “unconscionable.”

“We moved away from the five billion gallons that were supposed to be able to sell for ethanol,” said Axne. “This administration hit our farmers hard, allowing over 80 waivers from the renewable fuels program. In doing so, they took money out of the pockets of hard working farmers, to put in the pockets of the rich shareholders of fossil fuel companies, at the expense of those workers, at the expense of our economy here in the state of Iowa.”

The West Des Moines Democrat says she’s fought for the past year-and-a-half to address the issue in Congress.

“I have opened up an investigation into the EPA’s issuance of these waivers,” she said. “I have stood there by our farmers to make sure that we’re pushing ethanol at every possible opportunity, domestically and internationally, trying to get tariffs off of the ethanol from Brazil. We have so much work to do. If this administration would just start supporting farmers over fossil fuel, we could get somewhere.”

Young also blasted the RFS waivers when asked the same question.

“We certainly shouldn’t be giving waivers to refineries that making billions in profits,” said Young. “That’s not a hardship at all. So, I think it’s ridiculous that the many waivers that have been given have been given in a way that I believe is unnecessary. And, it’s abusive.”

Young, who served in the U.S. House from 2015-2019, also sponsored legislation to combat attacks against the ethanol industry.

“I introduced legislation to bring transparency to the waiver process,” he said, “so we could see these companies who are asking for waivers, what really their finances are. But, I’m disappointed that there’s not been the commitment in law that there should be to make sure that Iowa farmers, our corn growers, our biodiesel folks get the amount that is blended into law into an actuality. And, it’s one thing for our farmers to take some pain when they’re going up against China, and trying to redo a trade agreement, but we cannot stand to go up against big oil. It’s just wrong.”

Axne, Young and Libertarian candidate Bryan “Jack” Holder will participate in a candidates forum Sunday evening at 6 on KMA AM 960 and FM 99.1. Video of the forum will also be livestreamed at kmaland.com.

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