TRUMP’S SMALL REFINERY WAIVERS MAY BE THE FINAL STRAW FOR FARMERS; CREATING POLITICAL PERIL FOR HIM IN FARM COUNTRY

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Mike carr, executive director

august 21, 2019

Earlier this month, the Trump Administration’s EPA announced that it had granted another 31 small refinery exemptions (1.3 billion gallons) to major oil corporations, totaling 4 billion gallons of Congressionally-mandated biofuels demand destroyed under this President. Days later, it was reported that Donald Trump himself had approved the decision following mounting pressure from Big Oil, ignoring the bipartisan commitments made by Congress in 2005 and 2007, and exposing the emptiness of Trump’s promises to rural America. 

Democratic Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03) announced yesterday that her office will hold a bipartisan event in Iowa today calling for a federal investigation into President Trump’s most recent approval of waivers, and his Administration’s continued abuse of power over the last two years. The event will include prominent industry representatives as well, even though Trump has been willing to target critics before, signaling the real economic and job impacts the President’s reckless decisions are having in the Heartland.

“It’s a relief to see Congress stepping up to investigate this abuse of power and finally give it the attention it deserves. For three years, Donald Trump has pretended to have the backs of farmers who put their faith in him in 2016. But the hard truth has come out -- it is now irrefutable that this was the President’s doing from the start. He consciously allowed the oil industry to line their pockets at the expense of hardworking middle-class folks across rural America. POET being forced to idle production at their facility in Cloverdale, Indiana is only the most recent example.”  said New Energy America Executive Director Mike Carr. 

Republicans and Democrats agree this has decimated the nation’s renewable fuel industry, jeopardizing our chances of decarbonizing the transportation sector, and delivered another crippling blow to farmers across the Midwest -- one they may not recover from. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), two of Trump’s top allies, have since made public statements condemning the President’s actions, representing a poignant shift in Congress as many of his top supporters call out the gaslighting of his voters while coddling his oil-industry base. It has become increasingly clear that, contrary to his team’s belief that there’s nothing they can do to lose the support of farm country, the act is wearing thin and could lose him critical support from farmers at the polls come 2020. 

“People need to realize that the dam is breaking. Trump can only pick the pockets of voters across rural America for so long. This could make the difference in states like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan,” Mike Carr added. “The fact that even Republicans in Iowa are turning on him now puts Trump in an incredibly vulnerable position. Democratic Presidential hopefuls are paying attention -- they are seeing the opportunity to break through and show their support for rural America in a clean energy economy and call out these actions for the attacks on opportunity that they are. Farmers have shown that they can take a lot, but it’s not clear they’ll accept the continued sell out of hardworking Americans to oil industry billionaires any longer.”

BACKGROUND

Since the expansion of the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007, the biofuels industry experienced slowed but continued growth year over year, and felt its first contraction in 2018 due to the Trump Administration’s issuance of quadruple the number of small refinery waivers since the President took office. Coupled with the fallout from his ill-conceived trade policy and recent catastrophic flooding enhanced by the climate crisis, this has led to historic economic decline in rural America. 

ABOUT NEW ENERGY AMERICA

New Energy America is a non-profit 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to the expansion of clean energy policies that support job creation and economic growth across rural America, while solving the climate crisis that would otherwise undermine the well being of our children and grandchildren.