Grassley: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association ethanol push hurts Trump, Ernst

Source: By The Hagstrom Report, Fence Post • Posted: Thursday, September 10, 2020

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said Tuesday that the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is “stirring up a hornet’s nest” with its pressure on President Donald Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency to make decisions about small refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard before the election as farm leaders called on Trump to deny the exemptions.

Asked by The Hagstrom Report during a call with agriculture reporters whether EPA should make announcements about the small refinery waivers before the election, Grassley noted that the agency doesn’t “have to.”

“I wish they would say they aren’t going to give any of them before the election. That would be the best thing to happen. But I presume that there are other people in the administration that think why stir up a hornet’s nest between refineries and ethanol in regard to making that decision before the election.”

Grassley added that he had heard Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, one on one with the president saying do it, “and I hope he does do it.”

Ernst is in a tough re-election battle against Democrat Theresa Greenfield.

But then Grassley added, “I don’t hear anti-Trump stuff on ethanol in Iowa except from the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association staff. It doesn’t come up so much from individuals that ask me about ethanol — anything anti-Trump. But it seems like that organization is stirring up a hornet’s nest by raising questions about that doesn’t do the president any good.”

Grassley also said that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “is pushing to get Greenfield elected, spending tens of billions of dollars on negative ads against Ernst. Schumer is raising all this money for negative ads, and he is very anti-ethanol. If the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association wants to make sure we have senators that’s for ethanol, that is going to be Ernst’s re-election.”

Grassley also noted that he had 49 county meetings during August and that farmers were not critical of Trump and Ernst. “I want to make it very clear farmers stand with Trump and Ernst.”

Grassley added, “Greenfield and Schumer want a transition to electric vehicles, so you know what that will do for ethanol. If you have electric vehicles, you aren’t going to be burning any gasoline but you aren’t going to be burning any ethanol. Don’t forget 40% of the corn crop goes into ethanol.”

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was one of 93 farm groups and leaders that wrote Trump Tuesday to “stand up against an urgent threat facing rural communities.”

“We’ve seen too many plants shut down, too many jobs lost, and too many farmers deprived of vital markets,” the leaders wrote. “That is why we are asking you to stand strong in defense of the RFS, call on EPA to reject so called ‘gap-year’ refinery exemptions, and immediately apply the 10th Circuit Court’s ruling on the program nationwide.”

The letter was released by Growth Energy, which represents builders and managers of ethanol plants.