Perry: Ethanol will survive diminished mandate

Source: Kevin E. Schmidt, QUAD-CITY TIMES • Posted: Sunday, March 2, 2014

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that ethanol will survive a diminished renewable fuel standard, but there may be a transition as the mandate becomes “less impactful.”

Perry was in Davenport on Friday to meet with business and political officials. In an interview beforehand, he said although he believes in incentives, “I also think that there’s a time that these incentives mature and that they can go away.”

The Texas governor, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has long been a critic of the federal mandate, which requires that a certain amount of renewables be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

The Obama administration has proposed reducing the mandate, leading to vigorous opposition by Midwest agriculture groups and politicians.

Gov. Terry Branstad has said the administration’s proposal would be devastating to Iowa’s economy.

Perry, in a meeting with reporters and editors at the Quad-City Times, said that he thinks ethanol will continue to survive but that “there may be a transition period as the renewable fuel standard becomes a less impactful part of the industry.”

He noted the development of wind energy in the state. Iowa ranks second only to Texas in wind energy.

“Cellulosic ethanol has a very bright future. I think ethanol is not going to go away. Does it play as an important role to the Iowa economy as it has in the past? I don’t know that,” he said. “What I feel comfortable saying is that a diversifying of the Iowa economy, which Terry Branstad is helping create, is very important as you go forward and to certainly not have all of our eggs in one basket energy-wise.”

Perry, who will leave the Texas governor’s office at the end of this year, also weighed in on the minimum wage debate.

Democrats have been attacking him for comments he made last week on the issue, saying Perry doesn’t think there should be a minimum wage at all.

States can choose to have a minimum wage if they would like, Perry said Friday, but more time ought to be spent talking about tax and regulatory policy, the legal system and education. That, he said, is what leads to a better economy.

“I think this whole debate on trying to say you don’t think the minimum wage is appropriate, no I don’t think the minimum wage is appropriate for Washington, D.C., to be mandating to all these 50 laboratories of innovation. I don’t. I think that is inappropriate for Washington,” Perry said.