Iowa Republican Senator Grassley Criticizes Ethanol Waivers
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of waivers granted to refiners from the national ethanol standard in the Trump administration. EPA recently announced that 31 unidentified refineries had been granted hardship waivers to the annual renewable fuel standard, which requires fuel companies to blend certain amounts of ethanol and other biofuels into their traditional gasoline and diesel.
In an unusual move, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) harshly criticized the Trump administration's latest round of waivers. Grassley noted that the Obama administration had only granted 10 waivers over its eight years in office. "[The Trump administration] screwed us when...they issued 31 waivers. What's really bad isn't a waiver. It's that it's being granted to people that really aren't hardship," said Grassley, whose state dominates the national corn-based ethanol industry.
The waivers are the latest development in an ongoing battle between refiners and the corn industry. Both industries have strong allies in the Republican Party. Iowa is a swing state President Trump won narrowly in 2016 and is expected to be a key swing state in 2020. Farmers are also suffering from Trump's ongoing trade war, which has reduced international demand for their products.