Iowa Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she has asked President Trump and administration officials to help the ethanol industry after Trump reportedly approved exemptions that lowered demand for the corn-based biofuel.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this month issued 31 waivers exempting refineries from blending ethanol into gasoline. The move sparked outrage from elected officials and Iowa corn growers who say it’s a blow to the ethanol industry.
Reynolds said she conveyed those concerns to Trump.
“So I’m just not sure he fully understood the ramifications of what that means,” Reynolds said. “I would say he has a pretty good idea now of what those ramifications entail.”
Reynolds added she understands refineries were asking for waivers to avoid shutting down.
“But by the EPA doing what they did, now the narrative is going to switch to we have ethanol and biofuels plants that are shutting down,” Reynolds said.
She praised the Trump administration for allowing year-round access to gasoline containing more ethanol. But Reynolds said these refinery exemptions undermine that progress.
She said the federal government should get other refineries to use more ethanol to reach the federally mandated 15 billion gallons.
“We can’t continue to lower the floor and expect the industry to survive and continue to grow,” Reynolds said.
She added this has already been a “rough year” for farmers with flooding, delayed planting, and disruption from renegotiating trade deals and Trump’s tariff fight with China.