In a sort of good news/bad news announcement last week, key Democrats behind the biofuel push contained in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 announced that they had “made a mistake” with the ethanol mandate, and they introduced new legislation to fix it.
“The law hasn’t worked out as we intended,” said former California Congressman and Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman. Following a joint call with reporters, Waxman joined current members of Congress, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) and Sen Tom Udall (D-NM), to introduce legislation that will phase out corn-based ethanol. Speaking for the group, Welch said:
“We’ve now had more than a decade of experience with it, and it had the best of intentions. But it has turned out to be a well-intended flop.“It actually doesn’t cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, it expands them. It’s had a significant impact on overplanting in fragile areas of the corn belt. It has had significant impacts on small engines. And it’s also had a significant impact on feed prices … and there is a lot of evidence it has increased the cost of food.”
So, that’s the good news. The bad news is that Trump promised to protect corn-based ethanol and he, along with a host of ethanol-loving Republicans from red state producers of corn, wants the RFS to stay.
It was just a few months ago that Trump caved to Big Corn when he overruled an effort by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to make major modifications to the RFS following heavy resistance from a gang of Midwestern Senators led by Chuck Grassley. And with his reelection campaign officially launched, Trump will be in campaign mode for the rest of his first term as he prepares for Iowa in 2020.
Trump promised in 2016 to protect ethanol mandates, a promise that he’s already bragged about keeping. And even though he’s demonstrated a propensity to break his promises when politically convenient, it’s very likely that Trump will continue to keep his ethanol promise to Iowa.
Not because it’s good for America, but because it’s good for his campaign.
I believe in acting on principle, which is why I'd never have made it as a politician.