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A Bandaid for the Ethanol Industry with Trump Plan

Siouxland Public Media Newscast, 4:04, 10.04.19

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The Trump administration says it will increase ethanol requirements to make up for waivers allowing oil refiners to blend less biofuel into gasoline  But the plan does not restore everything the industry has lost.

The waivers add up to about a billion gallons in lost ethanol demand each year. That cuts into corn demand, too, at a time when farmers are seeing low prices.

The Environmental Protection Agency says going forward it will expand the ethanol mandate each year to close the gap created by the waivers. But University of Illinois agricultural economist Scott Irwin says the industry really is being asked to cut its losses from past years. 22

It’s a partial victory in the sense that you’re running in place starting in 2020, but what about the 4 billion gallons that never get recovered.

Irwin says an oversupply of ethanol continues to hang over the industry and likely keep many of the plants that have recently shut down from reopening anytime soon. 

The chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court has apologized for “diminishing public trust and confidence in the court system.” That’s after cybersecurity workers contracted by the judicial branch allegedly broke into at least two county courthouses last month.

Court system officials told the Iowa Senate Oversight Committee they don’t know if someone at their agency authorized late-night courthouse break-ins. But an independent investigation is underway, as are criminal cases stemming from the break-ins. 

Senators from both parties raised concerns that the break-ins put people at risk, and that the resulting investigations will cost taxpayers a lot of money.