Ethanol Issue Becoming a Local Critical Talking Point

It is becoming a large topic of conversation in the area, waivers issued to oil companies so the federally-required amount of ethanol doesn’t have to be blended into gasoline.

Ernst in a Town Hall meeting at Waldorf University.

In a recent town hall meeting, U. S. Senator Joni Ernst was asked if President Trump understood what was happening to area corn growers as a result of the issuing of waivers. Ernst responded that Trump appears to know that a mistake might have been made by allowing the waivers, but no action to rescind them has been taken.

U. S. Representative Steve King also heard from constituents in a town hall meeting in Lake Mills last week. He could offer nothing except that he has addressed the issue with the President and will continue to press the President to change policy.

King addressing the ethanol issue at a Town Hall meeting in Lake Mills.

King expressed grave concerns on the impact of local production of ethanol and feels for those who are employed in area ethanol plants.

Now, Governor Kim Reynolds and Midwest governors are planning a trip to Washington, D.C. to talk with President Trump about unrest in the farm country.

Reynolds wants to address the Trump Administration recently granted waivers and their impact on corn growers and the midwest.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will visit with President Trump on the ethanol issue.

A northwest Iowa plant shut down temporarily earlier this month and another company that owns six plants in Iowa has cut its company-wide ethanol output. The Iowa Corn Growers Association issued a statement Tuesday morning, saying farmers are “fed up” with President Trump’s broken promises. In addition to the ethanol situation, farmers have been up in arms about USDA harvest projections that caused corn prices to nose dive.

Reynolds is hoping the Trump Administration will embrace a compromise plan that would boost ethanol production by requiring additional ethanol use at oil refineries that did not get a waiver.

Reynolds says Trump “is trying to do the right thing” by farmers, but the EPA continues to “undercut” the federal ethanol production mandate.

According to the Reuters wire service, Trump personally gave the go-ahead for the oil refinery waivers. Reynolds says she’s not sure Trump “fully understood the ramifications” of those waivers at the time, but the governor says Trump does now after lobbying by her and several other Iowa officials. Reynolds, who just signed on as Iowa co-chair of Trump’s reelection campaign, says “relationships matter” and she’s able to call Trump and his top administrators to discuss these issues.

Meanwhile, local corn growers are beginning to make their voices heard by placing pressure on Washington officials to get something done. The future of over 1.4 million acres of corn is at stake according to Ernst and King. This means that over 4 million gallons of ethanol will not be produced. Corn growers are not happy with the uncertainty of those acres particularly when corn prices continue to drop due to foreign trade disputes and stiff competition from South American growers.

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