Industry officials say up to 400 jobs in Iowa biofuels plants are at stake if the EPA’s proposed standards for blending ethanol and biodiesel into motor fuel are adopted.
Four plants in Iowa have temporarily shut down. Iowa Congresswoman Cindy Axne warns more may follow if the EPA fails to implement the deal President Trump promised the biodiesel industry earlier this month.
“This bait and switch is not good for us,” Axne says.
Iowa Republicans like Governor Kim Reynolds and Joni Ernst have urged Iowa farmers to submit public comments to the EPA to pressure a chance in policy. Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, along with the other two Democrats in Iowa’s congressional delegation are accusing the Trump Administration of doing “big oil’s” bidding.
“Once again, we’re seeing a situation where the president and this administration came to Iowa, pledged their support for farmers and then went back to Washington to give hand-outs to big oil lobbyists,” Axne says, “at the expense of hard-working Iowa families and our rural communities.”
And Axne says she doesn’t buy the argument the E-P-A has gone rogue and is proposing policy contrary to President Trump’s wishes.
“The EPA answers to the president, not the other way around,” Axne says. “Enough fancy press conference and broken promises from this president. Iowa farmers deserve action from this administration. The buck stops with him.”
The Iowa Corn Growers Association warns of an increase in farm bankruptcies as the finances of thousands of farmers who invested in ethanol plants are in jeopardy. Other farmers who’ve been selling their grain to biofuels plants are now struggling to find other buyers. Livestock producers who’ve used dried distiller’s grain — the high-protein byproduct of ethanol production — are forced to buy higher-priced feed.
(By Mike Peterson, KMA, Shenandoah; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)