Trump Tells Farmers He Plan to Scrap Biofuel Waivers

USAgNet - 09/10/2020

Trump administration officials have told ethanol advocates the government will reject requests by refineries to be waived from renewable fuel-usage requirements -- a bid to reinforce the president's support in key swing states of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

According to Bloomberg, the Environmental Protection Agency could reject as many as 67 of those retroactive waiver requests as soon as this week, according to four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named prior to an announcement.

The planned move would follow another announcement that disappointed the oil industry and was aimed at shoring up support in a battleground state. Trump signed a presidential order on Tuesday to block offshore oil development near Florida, as well as Georgia and South Carolina.

The refinery waivers have been the subject of intense lobbying by Iowa ethanol producers and politicians, including Republican Senator Joni Ernst, who is in a tight race for re-election.

In 2016, Trump won Iowa by 9.4 percentage points but now leads challenger Joe Biden by just 1.7 percentage points in the state, according to a RealClearPolitics average of recent polls. Iowa ethanol supporters warned the administration last month that without action, the state's six electoral votes "hang in the balance."

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