Inslee sees a place for corn in plan to scrap EPA’s ethanol mandate

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee says there would be a place for corn ethanol in his plan to replace the nation’s renewable fuel program with one that has a record of making corn farmers wary.

Inslee tells John that his plan focuses on more advanced second-generation biofuels, but that he believes corn ethanol should have a place.

The interview was conducted while Inslee was touring Iowa earlier this week. Iowa is the largest ethanol producer in the nation, and a key state for determining the next president of the United States.

President Trump recently said his promise to increase the amount ethanol sold year-round benefitted him in the 2016 race. Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency enacted a rule last week to fulfill that promise

The question put to Inslee: Would your Low-Carbon Fuel Standard welcome more, or less, corn ethanol?

“I think we have to be ambitious in looking at all potential low- and zero-carbon fuels, and that includes that potential fuel source,” the Washington governor responded. “It is something where technology is changing and we ought to continue to allow its growth. That’s my belief.”

Inslee says that he is currently in the process of enacting a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard in his state, similar to the one in California and another in Oregon.

California’s original version of the program penalized corn ethanol, leading the ethanol industry into a court fight with the state. Later, changes were made to how the state assessed ethanol’s benefits, and now ethanol makes up the largest portion of low-carbon fuel in the Golden State.

Renewable fuel advocates want the same thing to occur in Washington and Oregon, although they are wary of Inslee’s proposal to create a national low-carbon standard.

Inslee says, for now, the fuel standard in his state is off the table until the next legislative session. A bill that would enact his plan failed to pass this year amid opposition from the oil industry.

He did issue an executive order to enact rules that would favor fuels that produce less carbon dioxide pollution. But that is tied up in the courts.

Nevertheless, Inslee says his record on legislation is pretty good. “We passed four out of five bills that I proposed, but that one did not pass, yet,” the governor added.

“But I do believe we need a clean fuel standard, also known as a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard,” he said. “I think it’s an effective tool. It’s working in California, and I think the nation needs one and it can be very effective.”