Trump Shores Up Midwest Support With Ethanol-Blend Rules

WASHINGTON (CN) — Following months of complaints from the Midwest, the Trump administration announced fuel-blend requirements Friday that will boost ethanol demand, turning the page on oil-refinery exemptions that crippled some corn farmers.

A field of corn is seen in front of a barn carrying a large Trump sign in rural Ashland, Neb., on July 24, 2018. After Iowa, Nebraska is the the nation’s second largest ethanol-producing state. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

The biofuels plan released this morning by the EPA and U.S. Department of Agriculture calls for 15 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into the U.S. fuel supply by 2020.

Congress first authorized a Renewable Fuel Standard in 2005, but refiners portray the cost of compliance as burdensome.

With Democratic contenders for the presidential nomination like Senator Amy Klobuchar looking to capitalize on this frustration, the government boasted that Trump had “cut burdensome red tape through deregulation  … to expand American energy dominance.”

Trump also included praise for the move from the nation’s top ethanol-producing states.

“This is what happens when farmers, biofuels producers and government leaders work together to make our voices heard,” Mike Naig, Iowa’s secretary of agriculture, said in a statement through the EPA. “As the No. 1 producer of ethanol and biodiesel in the county, Iowa is proud to lead the nation in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We will continue to work to restore and build demand for these critical markets for Iowa agriculture.”

Naig had spoken against Trump’s ongoing trade war with China in late 2018, saying retaliatory tariffs by the nation on American agricultural products had hurt farmers.

Friday’s announcement from the EPA also touts the administration’s repeal of portions of the Clean Water Act and the Waters of the United States rule, both of which will cause streams and waterways in the nation to fall out of federal protection from pollutants.

“The administration has also expedited permitting approvals, has opened up federal land for development, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and will continue to enact pro-growth energy policies to expand American energy dominance,” the release states.

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