Trump signals he’s backing away from ethanol mandate

Source: By Timothy P. Carney, Washington Examiner • Posted: Monday, February 27, 2017

In an effort to win the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump became a fierce champion of the renewable fuel standard (RFS, or ethanol mandate) in late 2015 and early 2016. In the general election, Trump tapped an ethanol lobbyist as his Iowa chairman.

Trump finished second in the caucuses in February, and he beat Hillary Clinton in Iowa in November.

Since then, it seems, his love for the ethanol mandate has waned. Ethanol mandate champions, such as Obama Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack started worrying aloud in December that Trump might abandon the ethanol mandate.

The letter President Trump just sent to the National Ethanol Conference ought to worry Vilsack and the ethanol barons even more.

Trump reaffirms that “renewable fuels are essential” but he never mentioned the RFS. Most of the letter pledges to relieve the industry from “job-killing regulation.” These free-market promises are probably cold comfort to an industry that depends on government favors.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner’s commentary editor, can be contacted at