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Trump: ‘Dems will end ethanol’

Trump: ‘Dems will end ethanol’
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE said Tuesday that Democrats would “end ethanol” if they gained power in the upcoming midterm elections.

At an Iowa rally where he rolled out a plan to boost ethanol use by lifting a key limit on ethanol content in gasoline, Trump warned attendees that, in contrast to his own policies, Democrats would be anti-ethanol.

“The Dems will end ethanol, you know that, they’re not going to approve ethanol,” he said. “They will find a way to take it away ... you better go out there and vote for Republicans.”

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Iowa’s economy depends heavily on corn ethanol and on the federal ethanol mandate. Trump’s visit came weeks before the midterm elections and gave ethanol interests a major victory they have been pushing for years.

It’s unclear what Trump thinks Democrats would do about ethanol policy. Both the Renewable Fuel Standard mandate and Trump’s new policy on gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) have bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition, largely determined by lawmakers’ geography.

Twenty senators in both parties wrote to Trump last week warning him against the E15 policy, saying it would be illegal and hurt the fuel refining industry.

Democrats are trying to take control of the House majority in the upcoming election, and recent polling shows that it is within their reach.

Trump Tuesday directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to lift the current policy that prohibits E15 during the summer months, a restriction that had been in place due to air pollution concerns. The current summer limit is 10 percent ethanol.

The EPA would have to formally propose the policy and put it out for public comment before changing the current limitations.

“Today, we are unleashing the power of E15 to fuel our country all year long, not eight months,” Trump said at the rally, to significant cheers from the Council Bluffs, Iowa, crowd.

“I made that promise to you during the primaries. Remember? I made that promise,” he said. “Promises made, promises kept.”

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) and Rep. David YoungDavid Edmund YoungHarris presses young people to vote early in Iowa trip GOP warns economy will tank if Dems win Sanders, Harris set to criss-cross Iowa MORE (R-Iowa) both took to the podium to cheer Trump’s decision.

“Our farmers thank you, Iowans thank you and we are grateful. Promises made, promises kept,” Reynolds said.

“For years, presidents have made promises about E15 year-round. We’ve got a president who delivered and he did it,” said Young.

The policy comes amid economic pain for farmers and their communities, caused largely by Trump's trade policies and the resulting tariffs foreign countries imposed on agricultural imports.

Previous administrations have explored allowing E15 sales in the summer. The EPA’s most recent decision on the issue came in 2011, when it declared that the Clean Air Act prohibited such a regulation.

The oil industry slammed Trump’s announcement, warning that many cars can’t handle E15.

“Putting a fuel into the marketplace that the vast majority of cars on the road were not designed to use is not in the best interest of consumers,” American Petroleum Institute President Mike Sommers said in a statement.

“EPA has previously stated that it does not have the legal authority to grant the E15 waiver, and we agree with that assessment. The industry plans to aggressively pursue all available legal remedies against this waiver.”