Trump to un­veil plan for more ethanol in gas

USA TODAY International Edition - - MONEY - Don­nelle Eller

Af­ter months of false starts, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was to tell Iowans on Tues­day night dur­ing a cam­paign rally in Coun­cil Bluffs that he’s open­ing the door to year-round ac­cess to gaso­line with higher ethanol blends. A se­nior White House of­fi­cial said Mon­day that Trump di­rected the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency to be­gin rule-mak­ing that al­lows for year-round use of gaso­line with 15 per­cent ethanol or E15. The an­nounce­ment sets off a re­view that could make E15 avail­able to con­sumers as soon as next sum­mer. In ad­di­tion, the pres­i­dent will seek re­forms to bio­fu­els credit trad­ing the White House says will pro­vide greater trans­parency and help re­duce volatil­ity in the mar­ket. E15 is banned dur­ing the sum­mer months, based on con­cerns it con­trib­utes to smog, a claim ethanol ad­vo­cates say is un­founded. Al­most all gaso­line con­tains 10 per­cent ethanol. The move should help Iowa farm­ers and U.S. con­sumers at a time when years of record har­vests – and Trump trade wars with Canada, Mex­ico and China – have helped de­press corn and soy­bean prices. U.S. farm in­come this year is ex­pected to be 50 per­cent be­low a 2013 high. “It’s won­der­ful for the Amer­i­can farmer. It’s great for bio­fu­els pro­duc­ers. And it’s great for the Amer­i­can con­sumer, so we’re thrilled,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth En­ergy, a Wash­ing­ton, D.C., ethanol ad­vo­cacy group. Skor said in­creased adop­tion of higher ethanol blends could boost corn use by 2 bil­lion bushels. That’s big news in Iowa, the na­tion’s largest corn grower and ethanol and biodiesel pro­ducer. About half of Iowa’s corn crop is used to make ethanol and a high-pro­tein byprod­uct called dis­tillers grain that’s fed to live­stock. While farm­ers backed the pres­i­dent in the 2016 elec­tion, many are weary about his ap­proach to trade. A trade war that could cost Iowa about $2.2 bil­lion has hit some of his farm sup­port hard­est. Farm­ers have gained some cer­tainty with Trump’s new trade deals with Canada and Mex­ico an­nounced ear­lier this month, which would re­place the 24-year-old North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment. The U.S. is still in­volved in an on­go­ing trade dis­pute with China, the largest buyer of Amer­i­can soy­beans and sec­ond-largest pur­chaser of pork, based on vol­ume. Monte Shaw, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Iowa Re­new­able Fu­els As­so­ci­a­tion, said Trump de­served credit for get­ting year-round E15 when other ad­min­is­tra­tions did not. “This is some­thing we’ve worked on for seven years – non-stop,” Shaw said, adding he sees few prob­lems with the re­forms pro­posed to trad­ing bio­fu­els cred­its, called re­new­able iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers or RINS. “This is the first pres­i­dent that’s taken ac­tion,” Shaw said. “It was a prom­ise made and a prom­ise kept.” The pres­i­dent wants more fre­quent com­pli­ance re­port­ing, pub­lic dis­clo­sure of bio­fu­els credit hold­ings and lim­its on who can buy the cred­its and how long they can be held.

Pres­i­dent Trump

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