Iowa Governor to Lobby EPA on Cutbacks to Corn Ethanol

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad is an ardent defender of the Renewable Fuel Standard.
National Journal
Alex Brown
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Alex Brown
Dec. 3, 2013, 7:40 a.m.

If at first you don’t suc­ceed, lobby a dif­fer­ent fed­er­al agency.

That seems to be the ap­proach Iowa Gov. Terry Bran­stad is tak­ing in his de­fense of the re­new­able-fuel stand­ard. The five-term corn-coun­try ex­ec­ut­ive will testi­fy Thursday at an En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency hear­ing on its pro­posed re­duc­tions to the corn eth­an­ol man­date and some oth­er re­new­able fuels, The Des Moines Re­gister re­ports.

It’s not his first Belt­way vis­it in de­fense of the RFS. In late Oc­to­ber, Bran­stad met with ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials from the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Budget, which was then re­view­ing 2014 RFS levels. His pleas evid­ently went un­heard, as EPA an­nounced re­duced levels for many re­new­able fuels last month. Among the of­fi­cials Bran­stad met with was Dan Utech, who has since been named Pres­id­ent Obama’s top cli­mate and en­ergy ad­viser.

While Bran­stad’s first pitch didn’t sway EPA’s ini­tial level-set­ting, it’s un­likely his fol­low-up ap­peals dur­ing the man­date’s pub­lic com­ment peri­od will cause the agency to re­think its rul­ing. But it can’t hurt, as the GOP gov­ernor pre­pares to run for a sixth term, to let his corn-pro­du­cing con­stitu­ents see him as the face of op­pos­i­tion to the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s cut­backs to corn eth­an­ol. In Iowa, RFS sup­port is al­most a polit­ic­al ne­ces­sity, as even small-gov­ern­ment con­ser­vat­ives such as Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Steve King have be­come out­spoken de­fend­ers of the man­date. 

Bran­stad is also do­ing a press call Wed­nes­day with re­new­able-fuels and farm groups to de­tail the con­sequences of lower­ing the RFS.

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