Ag Policy Blog
Iowa Seeks to Ramp Up Politics of Ethanol
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is lining up farm groups to ensure politicians running for president in the Hawkeye State are willing to defend ethanol and other renewable fuels.
Branstad announced the effort Thursday during a press conference at the Iowa State Capitol. Iowa political strategists and ethanol groups have created "America's Renewable Future" as a group to lead a campaign targeting presidential candidates coming into the state. As a Bloomberg article stated, “We are designing it to look like a presidential campaign, but the RFS is our candidate,” said Eric Branstad, the governor’s son and a group organizer. “We’re going to be talking to people” and making the presidential candidates respond, he said on a conference call.
Gov. Branstad has pushed back on the EPA effort to roll back parts of the Renewable Fuels Standard. The governor and ethanol groups plan to use Iowa's status as the first-in-the-nation caucus to re-establish political support for ethanol.
“Americans of both political parties know that a robust RFS creates jobs in America, reduces our dependency on foreign oil and offers more consumer choice,” Gov. Branstad said in a statement.
“The last time there was a wide open race for the presidential nomination in both parties was 2007, just as the RFS was beginning to take effect. Since then, Iowa has built 17 new bio-refineries, doubled ethanol production, tripled biodiesel production, and launched commercial scale production of cellulosic ethanol with three brand new facilities.”
The effort will draw headlines as candidates stop in Waterloo or Council Bluffs and share their two cents with local reporters. However, caucus-goers are generally a small group of hard-core party backers with more focus on unions and the environment among the Democrats and social issues among Republicans. It will be interesting to see if ethanol policies translate into shifting caucus favorites as presidential politics heat up.
Bloomberg article: http://www.bloomberg.com/…
Des Moines Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/…
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