Oct 4, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Trump administration unveils new plan to boost corn-based ethanol

An Iowa cornfield. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration announced Friday a plan that aims to boost corn-based ethanol, the Des Moines Register reports.

Why it matters: President Trump is facing what the paper has branded a "rural rebellion," necessitating this latest twist in a never-ending battle over America's ethanol mandate. The president is stuck between two allies — agriculture and oil interests — feuding with each other.

Where it stands: The EPA, which administers the plan, and the Agriculture Department will take steps to make up for waivers that some smaller refineries, which face compliance under the law, have received.

  • "The shift, which still must be formally proposed and codified, would effectively force bigger, non-exempted refineries to take up the slack," Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: The arcane policy, which requires refineries to blend a certain amount of ethanol into gasoline, has sucked up a lot of oxygen inside the White House and the Beltway. Across much of the country, motorists are mostly not concerned about it as long as gas prices remain low.

My thought bubble: It'll be interesting to see what degree the policy becomes a big topic in this year's presidential election — specifically Iowa, a key battleground state and America's top corn-ethanol producer.

Go deeper: Nebraska's corn farmers are "outraged" at Trump

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