Throughout his campaign and even now in office, President Trump has promised to support ethanol and biodiesel. During the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hearing on the 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard on Tuesday, several testifying expressed uncertainty that the proposal upholds that promise.
While in Iowa on June 21, President Trump pledged his support of ethanol production.
“By the way, we’re saving your ethanol industries in the state of Iowa just like I promised I would do in my campaign,” Trump said. “Believe me, they are under siege, folks.”
However, after reviewing the proposed 2018 RFS, energy experts and politicians alike aren’t certain the EPA is upholding Trump’s pledge.
“This proposed rule half delivers on the promise of the RFS and promises made by the President to the ethanol industry and agricultural sector,” said Rob Walther, vice president of federal affairs for POET during the hearing.
The proposed Renewable Fuel Standard for 2018 lowers total volumes for the first time in 10 years.
“When President Trump visited Iowa in June he reiterated his commitment to supporting ethanol and biodiesel as part of his plan to rebuild rural America,” said Iowa Senator Joni Ernst.
Walther echoed her sentiments adding that “at a time that the agricultural crisis, noted by the Wall Street Journal, is picking up momentum and rural America is in serious jeopardy of mass farm bankruptcies, we can ill afford regressions in the federal government’s commitment to the heartland.”
He also explained to the EPA officials present that the cellulosic and advanced numbers in the proposal do not take into account significant gains being realized by new technologies “not just at POET, but around the industry.”
It’s unclear whether or not Ernst thinks the proposal as it currently sits agrees with the President’s promises, but she urged Administrator Pruitt’s team to ensure the final rule will.
“I trust that the president’s commitment will be reflected in the final rule the EPA puts forward,” she said.