Statewide Iowa – Republican Senator Joni Ernst says there’s a strong, negative reaction to the Reuters report indicating President Trump directed the EPA to grant oil companies waivers reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline.
The EPA last week granted 31 so-called “hardship” waivers that exempt a refiner from blending ethanol into gasoline. The ethanol industry says the waivers are a back-door way for big oil to avoid the federal ethanol mandate — and experts say this year’s waivers already have reduced ethanol consumption by at least 10 percent. Ernst says former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who’s now the U.S. Ambassador to China, hopes to bring up the issue during a meeting with President Trump.
The President traveled to Iowa in June to announce EPA rules had been changed to allow year-round sale of gasoline with a higher, 15 percent blend of ethanol. And he has repeatedly talked about how loyal voters farmers are to him. Senator Ernst suggests these ethanol waivers are endangering that.