Trump is pandering to oil and gas companies at the expense of farmers.
Trump is taking aim at farmers again, this time so he can gift billions of dollars to oil and gas producers.
Currently, the law states that oil and gas producers must blend fuel with a certain amount of ethanol, which is derived from corn. However, under Trump, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been waiving that requirement left and right, and it all benefits oil and gas producers at the expense of the farmers who grow corn.
Just last month, the EPA told 31 refineries they didn't have to blend ethanol or biodiesel into their fossil fuels. All said, since Trump took office, 85 refineries have been told they don't have to buy ethanol, in spite of the law. That adds up to 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel that the EPA said those refineries don't have to buy.
Corn producers would have provided 1.4 billion bushels of corn to help make those 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel. Now, those farmers won't see a dime. Curt Mether, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, said that "the exemptions are ridiculous and a slap in the face to farmers."
The giveaway to oil and gas companies isn't just hurting the farmers who grow the corn. The Des Moines Register reports that 15 ethanol plants are closing nationwide. Nick Bowdish, the CEO of an ethanol company in Iowa, declared, "It's a train wreck out here," and pointed out the cutbacks will hurt small towns the most, as the ethanol industry brought prosperity to rural areas.
The entire agricultural sector has already been decimated under Trump. His trade war with China means farmers are staring down a potential $9 billion loss thanks to China's announcement they won't buy farm products from the United States. Since the trade war started, farm bankruptcies are up 45% in the Midwest alone. But the administration doesn't care. Trump said farmers who oppose his trade war are "dumb people" and Trump ally Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) said going bankrupt pales in comparison to soldiers being killed in wars.
The ethanol waivers are just the latest proof Trump doesn't care about farmers. It's too bad that, in spite of how shabbily he treats them, farmers still generally support Trump. However, as Nick Bowdish told the Des Moines Register, "If people connected to agriculture decide to vote for the president, they're just voting to cut off their own economic prosperity."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.