Two Ex-Senators Want Donald Trump to Keep Backing Ethanol Subsidies

Source: By MAGGIE HABERMAN, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rick Santorum, left, with Donald J. Trump at an event in Iowa before the caucuses there. Damon Winter/The New York Time

On the eve of a major energy policy speech by Donald J. Trump, two former United States senators are urging him to hold the ground that he carved out during the Iowa caucuses in support of the ethanol industry.

While campaigning in January in Iowa, a major source of the corn-based ethanol, Mr. Trump supported an ethanol mandate, which is set to expire in 2022, and he criticized Senator Ted Cruz, one of his main rivals, for opposing it.

But Mr. Trump is now being advised by Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who does not favor extending the Renewable Fuel Standard, the act that provides for the mandate, and believes in letting market forces determineit..

Mr. Trump is set to give a speech on energy on Thursday at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, N.D.

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In an interview on Wednesday, Rick Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania and winner of the G.O.P. caucuses in Iowa in 2012, and Jim Talent, a former senator from Missouri, said they viewed Mr. Cramer’s position on ethanol unfavorably and hoped he would not encourage Mr. Trump to embrace it.

Mr. Santorum, who is now with Americans for Energy Security and Innovation, a group that supports ethanol, said he anticipated that Mr. Trump would stick with his focus on what could help American jobs. He pointed out that he had recently endorsed Mr. Trump.

“Now that I am a Trump supporter newly minted and I thought it was important to weigh in,” he said, suggesting that a letter that he and Mr. Talent wrote to Mr. Cramer on the topic would be a “little reminder” to Mr. Trump of the need to stick with his position supporting ethanol.

Mr. Talent objected to Mr. Cramer’s view that the Environmental Protection Agency could stop setting amounts of ethanol that will be blended into gasoline once the Renewable Fuel Standard expires.