Oct 24, 2017

In Iowa, ethanol trumps even healthcare

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, is coming to Washington, D.C. Tuesday to make the case for ethanol in planned meetings with Vice President Mike Pence and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Driving the news: She'll be defending a federal mandate that requires refineries to blend biofuels — mostly corn ethanol — into the nation's gasoline supply. Corn-rich Iowa is the nation's top biofuels producer, and also a pivotal political battleground.

Highlights from my chat with her:

  • Why she's meeting with them: "In Iowa, we have Obamacare failing citizens in the state, so we're also going to be talking about that. The RFS, that's our priority though."
  • Is President Trump just backing the mandate because Iowa is an important political state? "He traveled the country and listened to U.S. farmers, and we made our case and he supported it. I'm very appreciative of that."
  • Critics say biofuel backers aren't open to any compromise. "That's not true. There used to be subsidies and we got rid of that. We have changed along the way."
  • Are you worried electric cars could erode the need and support for biofuels, which are liquid like oil, in the longer term? "That's part of the future too and we're embracing that in Iowa."

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