Trump on Ethanol: Supportive, but Few Comments
by Patrick Anderson (Argus Leader) President Donald Trump has never tweeted about ethanol. In the course of tens of thousands of posts on his social media platform of choice, the president has posted about oil about 150 times, about Rosie O’Donnell about 70 times, and exactly once about taco bowls, according to online archives of his tweets.
Trump has said he supports the ethanol industry and the existing regulations in the Congress-approved renewable fuel standards, which set mandates for ethanol use and require oil refineries to meet quotas for blending. But his appointments to the Environmental Protection Agency and other seats of power are more critical of biofuels.
Public comments made by the president, supportive as they are of ethanol, are nonspecific and tough to find outside of his Iowa campaign stops, in which he visited a Poet plant and sparred with primary candidate Ted Cruz, a senator from oil-heavy Texas. Here are a few: READ MORE / MORE and MORE (USA Today)
Excerpt from “Ethanol Future Murky…”: South Dakota’s economy depends on its corn crop. The corn crop depends on ethanol production, which depends on federal mandates.
It’s a confusing reliance on federal regulations for a red state. But as much as most South Dakotans sniff at the idea of big government, the state’s economy rises and falls with the listed value of a bushel.
That value has been plummeting in recent years. Steady decreases have resonated across the state and in Sioux Falls as sales tax revenues fell short of expectations.
Ethanol producers and corn growers look to federal policymakers for answers. As Scott VanderWal, president of the right-leaning South Dakota Farm Bureau says, mandates supporting ethanol are fair because of the petroleum industry’s reluctance to accept biofuels.
“You have to take into account that the oil industry is subsidized,” VanderWal said. “Until that would go away, then it’s probably appropriate to keep doing things the way we have been.”
Ethanol plays a major role in the state’s economy in its own right. There are 15 ethanol plants in South Dakota, each employing dozens people. Plants in the state produce more than one billion gallons of ethanol and 2.4 million metric tons of byproduct, according to South Dakota State University.
It’s the same faith rural voters placed in the president when they voted for him last November, said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the nonprofit.
“Rural America is credited with helping lift him to victory,” Jennings said. “One of the key issues in rural America in terms of the economy is demand for crops to make biofuels.” READ MORE