Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, is looking for a little help from his friends.
Grassley wondered Wednesday where they are in the fight to promote the use of corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel. He is frustrated that the debate over ethanol and biodiesel is characterized as an “Iowa discussion” when other states also have a stake in the federal policy.
“How come this whole thing, discussion with the White House and the EPA and everybody else, just seems to be an Iowa discussion when there’s at least 14 states that are big corn-growing states and every one of those states, I’ll bet, has ethanol in it,” Grassley said during his weekly conference call with reporters. “Where are the senators from all of these other states?”
In addition to Iowa, which produces 18 percent of the United States corn crop, the top corn-growing states are Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, South Dakota, Kansas, Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, North Dakota, Texas and Kentucky, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Six states — Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana and South Dakota — produce 70 percent of the nation’s ethanol, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Grassley made his comments as Bloomberg News was reporting the Trump administration was planning to meet with oil refiners and renewable fuel producers to develop a final plan for hiking biofuel-blending quotas.
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The Trump administration is trying to increase the use of crop-based renewable fuels without upsetting petroleum refiners. The president recently promised to unveil a package of biofuel changes he predicted would make farmers “so happy.”
One farmer — Grassley — didn’t seem happy about it.
“If the leaked version was what he was going to announce, it’s good thing he abandoned it,” Grassley said.
However, Grassley is not giving up — with or without the help of his farm state colleagues.
“There’s no reason (Sen. Joni) Ernst and I have to carry the battle all of the time, but it seems that’s what we have to do,” Grassley said. “Of course, we’re doing it, and we’re going to continue to do it.”