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 TrumpComey responds to Trump with Mariah Carey gif: 'Why are you so obsessed with me?' Congress to get election security briefing next month amid Intel drama New York man accused of making death threats against Schumer, Schiff 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 ErnstOvernight Health Care: Ernst endorses bipartisan bill to lower drug prices | US partnering with drugmakers on coronavirus vaccine | UN chief says virus poses 'enormous' risks Ernst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Progressive group backs Senate candidates in Georgia, Iowa MORE (R-Iowa) and Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyErnst endorses bipartisan Grassley-Wyden bill to lower drug prices Overnight Health Care: Nevada union won't endorse before caucuses after 'Medicare for All' scrap | McConnell tees up votes on two abortion bills | CDC confirms 15th US coronavirus case Mnuchin defends Treasury regulations on GOP tax law MORE (R-Iowa) would be expected to join the president, as would Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R).

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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: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge EPA will regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water Overnight Energy: Trump signs order to divert water to California farmers | EPA proposes new rollback to Obama coal ash rules | Green group ranks Bloomberg, Klobuchar last in climate plans 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.