In the News
Oct 20 2017
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A push by Iowa lawmakers and ag groups to keep promised amounts of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supplied has paid off.
On Wednesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and renewable fuel supporters talked about cutbacks potentially threatening thousands of Iowa ethanol jobs in an event in Pella. The governor mentioned then she’d had a phone call from both President Donald Trump and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt that morning promising no changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Thursday night, that ethanol pressure produced results.
In a letter to seven Midwestern senators, including Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, Pruitt ruled out any cuts to the RFS standards for next year and put those promises in writing.
With harvest in full swing, Linn County farmers like John Airy haven’t followed the political battle over ethanol blow by blow.
But Airy says with almost 40 percent of Iowa’s corn crop used to make ethanol, the decision is a big deal.
“That’s a good thing. That means the gallons and the bushels we’re using now for ethanol are still going to be used for ethanol. That won’t be cut,” Airy said.
The letter from Pruitt said the EPA would maintain a 15-billion gallon a year yearly requirement for refiners to blend ethanol from corn with gasoline.
In addition, the requirements of 4.24-billion gallons of biofuel (like bio-diesel) from other sources will remain intact as well.
In a stop in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Governor Reynolds said the reversal was a sign that persistence pays off.
“We’ve made tremendous progress, I think it was a big step to get them to put it into writing. We worked with the previous administrator and were promised a lot of things then they would go back to Washington, D.C. and do just the opposite,” she said.
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst added “This is a huge victory for farmers and manufacturers to get this in writing. Because we have it in writing rather than just hearsay,” Sen. Ernst said.
Administrator Pruitt also talked about E-15 in his letter. That’s the higher blend fuel with 15 percent ethanol that can only be sold nine months out of the year due to air quality regulations.
Pruitt promised a review of a waiver that would allow E-15 at the pumps year round.