New Poll Finds Iowa Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose EPA’s Efforts to Undercut Renewable Fuel Standard with Exemptions for Oil Refiners

Source: By Brandi Snyder, Iowa Corn Growers • Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A new poll found that Iowans overwhelmingly oppose waivers given by EPA to oil refiners allowing them to ignore their obligations to blend renewable fuels like ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The poll also found Iowa voters strongly support the RFS and use of renewable fuels. By a margin of nearly 2-to-1, Iowans said they oppose RFS waivers, and more than four out of five respondents expressed a favorable opinion of renewable fuels and support for the RFS.

Eighty-six percent of Iowa voters have a favorable opinion of renewable fuels, and eighty-one expressed support for the RFS, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult, a Washington DC polling and news site.

Under the Trump administration, the number of waivers for oil companies has grown so dramatically that almost one-third of all oil refineries in the country have recently been exempted from the requirements of the RFS. As a result of these waivers and the effects of COVID 19, more than 130 renewable ethanol plants were partially or fully shut down, depressing farm incomes and pushing down the price of corn across the Midwest.

Additionally, several oil state governors have called for even more waivers for oil refineries in their states, exacerbating concerns that the RFS will continue to be hollowed out rather than strengthened during the pandemic. Most survey respondents with an opinion on this issue opposed the Governors’ requests for further exemptions.

“Iowa voters know support for the RFS is support for corn growers. In contrast, the EPA has sought to protect Big Oil over the American farmer. Their decision to expand these waivers has been incredibly detrimental to the livelihood of farmers, and to continue in stride amid this pandemic has been particularly callous. Iowans believe our growers need more support now than ever – not less,” said Jim Greif, President of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard is crucially important to the rural economy and an integral component of our nation’s strategy to achieve energy diversity and security. These issues are very important to Iowans, as well as voters across the nation. What we’re hearing from Iowa voters is an urgent call for the EPA to stop doing favors for oil companies, follow the law, and implement the RFS as intended by Congress. That call is echoing across the Midwest,” said Geoff Cooper, President of the Renewable Fuel Association.

The poll was taken July 22-29 of 695 registered voters across Iowa.

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