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During his first visit to Iowa since taking office, Biden announces looser restrictions on high-ethanol fuel, talks infrastructure

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Clay Masters
/
IPR
Biden announced his administration will allow gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol to be sold in the summer.

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This post will be updated.

President Joe Biden has made his first trip to Iowa since being elected president.

Speaking at an ethanol plant in Menlo, Biden announced his administration will allow gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol to be sold in the summer. It’s intended to ease gas prices as American inflation hits its highest monthly figure in four decades.

“The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to issue an emergency waiver to allow E15 gasoline that uses more ethanol from home-grown crops to be sold across the United State this summer in order to increase fuel supply.”

The biofuel industry applauds the move, though a 2019 Government Accountability report noted ethanol mandates have a "limited effect, if any, on greenhouse gas emissions.”

Biden also talked about the bipartisan infrastructure law passed by Congress.

U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Iowa’s 3rd District, joined Biden on-stage for the event. She represents the swing district (that Menlo is in), which Republicans have targeted ahead of the November election.

“Iowa has more bridges than any other state in the nation that are classified as structurally deficient — 4,500 are in poor condition. Here’s the reason Cindy’s work on the infrastructure law was so important: about two-thirds of bridges in need of repair in this country are considered off-system.”

Axne and Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley were the only members of Iowa’s congressional delegation who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.