President Trump has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to ease regulations and allow for the sale of gasoline with ethanol year-round, a move aimed to help farmers in Midwestern states.
E15, fuel made of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, is already available for sale nine months out of the year, but the hope is that the year-round sale will help farmers who grow corn in states like Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas. Some of those same farmers are facing the brunt of suppressed prices as a result of the president's tariff disputes. Mr. Trump is expected to tout the changeTuesday night.
"We're heading out to Iowa where we have a big statement to make as you know on ethanol and for our farmers," Mr. Trump told reporters before leaving the White House.
Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, whose state's top industry is agriculture, said the president's decision is "providing a shot in the arm" to farmers across the country — in a good way. He and other GOP senators who met with the president at the White House Tuesday behind closed doors expressed gratitude to the president for following through on his commitment to farmers.
Environmentalists have long held concerns about fuel with higher percentages of ethanol because of fears that it might worsen CO2 emissions, a greenhouse gas believed to contribute to climate change.
The president has not announced a deadline for the EPA to draft the revised regulations, Sen. Joni Ernst told reporters after the meeting. Ernst and other senators were careful not to criticize the president's tariffs. She said many of her constituents realize tariffs may cause short term pain, but they want long-term gain.
Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a statement that he thinks the change will also decrease the country's dependence on foreign oil.
"Opening the door for year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol is a victory for farmers, rural America and the nation as a whole," Grassley said in a statement. "Allowing an open marketplace with more fuel options for consumers encourages competition, drives down consumer fuel costs and is good for the environment. It also maintains and creates jobs in parts of the country that need them most and decreases America's dependence on foreign oil. I want to thank President Trump for his leadership and for keeping his promise to the farmers and agricultural workers in Iowa and throughout the nation. I appreciate his hard work and ability to successfully navigate the challenges surrounding this issue."