Trump mulling visit to ethanol refinery later this month: report

Trump mulling visit to ethanol refinery later this month: report
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpConway defends herself against Hatch Act allegations amid threat of subpoena How to defuse Gulf tensions and avoid war with Iran Trump says 'stubborn child' Fed 'blew it' by not cutting rates MORE is reportedly looking at making a trip to Iowa to visit an ethanol refinery in the coming weeks as his administration considers lifting restrictions on the sale of ethanol-infused gasoline.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Trump's visit could signal his administration's support for allowing the year-round sale of E15 gasoline, which contains 15 percent ethanol.

Sens. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstGOP frets about Trump's poll numbers GOP senators caught off guard by Shanahan withdrawal Democrats' 2020 Achilles's heel: The Senate MORE (R-Iowa) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley raises concerns about objectivity of report critical of GOP tax law's effects Overnight Health Care: Key Trump drug pricing proposal takes step forward | Missouri Planned Parenthood clinic loses bid for license | 2020 Democrats to take part in Saturday forum on abortion rights Key Trump proposal to lower drug prices takes step forward MORE (R-Iowa) would be expected to join the president, as would Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).


The White House and Grassley's office declined to comment to The Hill on the possible visit.

A spokeswoman for Ernst said the senator spoke last week with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy: Trump proposal would nix agency reviews of long-term climate impacts | Greens rip decision | House votes to block offshore drilling for one year Overnight Energy: Fight over fuel standards intensifies | Democrats grill Trump officials over rule rollback | California official blasts EPA chief over broken talks | Former EPA official says Wheeler lied to Congress Former EPA staffer says Wheeler lied to Congress MORE and feels confident the new E15 rule will be in place by the summer driving season.

Trump last fall directed the EPA to lift the current policy that prohibits E15 during the summer months, a restriction that was in place because of air pollution concerns. The current summer limit is 10 percent ethanol.

The president earlier this year rolled out a plan that would allow the year-round sale of  E15.

Trump's move was celebrated in Iowa, where the economy depends heavily on corn ethanol and on federal ethanol regulations. But senators in states that depend on oil production have opposed the decision, arguing it's illegal and would hurt the fuel refining industry.

Should Trump further lift restrictions on E15, it would likely boost farmers in the Midwest who are taking the brunt of the president's trade war with China. 

Beijing earlier this month announced retaliatory measures for the Trump administration raising tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The duties from China will target beef, honey, rice, corn, wheat flour, spinach, peas, beans, lentils, peanut oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil and other agricultural products grown in the U.S.

Trump last week announced his administration will provide $15 billion in assistance to farmers affected by the trade war and has praised them as "Patriot Farmers" for waiting out the dispute.