Chuck Grassley’s post-Trump priorities

Source: By Axios Des Moines • Posted: Monday, February 8, 2021

With President Biden at the helm, Sen. Chuck Grassley is focusing on protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard — a law that had its ups and downs under the Trump administration.

  • “I hope it will be easier than [with] the Trump administration to protect ethanol and biofuels,” Grassley told Axios.

Why it matters: The ethanol mandate boosts the price of corn and establishes a floor price for Iowa’s most popular crop.

  • RFS requires oil refineries to annually blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol into the U.S. fuel supply.
  • Drops in fuel sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic already hurt farmers’ pockets in 2020, and the EPA’s unpredictable commitment to RFS under former director Andrew Wheeler didn’t help.

His focus: In 2022, the 15-billion-gallon requirement will sunset and could leave Iowa farmers with too much corn, resulting in lower revenue.

  • Grassley said he has urged Biden’s EPA nominee, Michael Regan, to quickly issue a rule and commit to the current volume.

What to watch: The Biden administration could move to prioritize support for renewable energy sources, like solar or electric, rather than ethanol.

More from his chat …

On COVID: The 87-year-old senator said he feels fine after contracting COVID-19 three months ago.

  • Yes, he can still taste his favorite Dairy Queen.
  • Grassley said he was asymptomatic and mostly bored inside his D.C. townhouse for two weeks, including over Thanksgiving.
  • “I didn’t even have my wife. She was isolated on the farm,” Grassley said.

On his routine: He still runs daily, but he’s gone from three miles down to two.

On retiring: Grassley said the virus hasn’t slowed him down, but he’s expected to announce his plans in the coming weeks.

  • He added that he would be proud of his grandson, Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley, if he decided to run for the U.S. Senate.
  • Pat Grassley has declined to tell reporters his 2022 plans … yet.
  • “It’s up to him. Obviously, I’d be very, very proud of him if he were to do that,” Grassley said. “And (I’m) also proud of his work as the Speaker of the House.”