ethanol waivers

OCTOBER 21, 2019

The governors of Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota say they believe President Donald Trump still supports Midwest farmers. 

All three were in Siouxland for the Tri-State Governor Conference held in Dakota Dunes.

Some ethanol industry advocates are frustrated about a proposal the EPA released last week to account for lost demand for renewable fuels because of small refinery waivers. 

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The Trump administration announced today it plans to implement new rules that will increase demand for ethanol, reversing a decline caused by exemptions given to oil refineries.

The proposal follows months of complaints by Midwest farmers, politicians and the ethanol industry that the federal government's granting of waivers to refiners had violated federal law and forced some ethanol plants to close.

The Iowa Department of Transportation has reopened a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 29 in western Iowa, after flooding closed it late last month.

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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.

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Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says until the U.S. House votes on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, she’s not convinced there’s a case.

Reynolds is an honorary state chairwoman of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Reynolds says the House should focus on issues such as a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.

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Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has not yet seen a document outlining how the Trump Administration may address farmers’ fury over ethanol waivers granted to oil refineries.

Bloomberg and Reuters are reporting President Trump is expected to sign-off on the deal Friday and make the details public next week. Reynolds was in the Oval Office a month ago, arguing for a policy that will increase federal biofuel production and blending requirements. The oil industry has been pressing for concessions that would alter what Reynolds and others discussed with Trump.

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Officials in western Iowa are watching the rising Missouri River. Water breached a levee in Pottawattamie County last night (Wednesday evening). This is the third protective structure in the area to breach due to the Missouri River’s third round of flooding this year.

Officials estimate about 40 homes are in the affected area. The county has sent out emergency alerts to people. Scott Manz (MAN-z) is an emergency management specialist with the county. 

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Water began creeping over county roads and flowing through already-broken levees in parts of western Iowa on Wednesday as the Missouri River rose.

Interstate 29 north of Council Bluffs remained open to traffic Thursday morning. The Iowa Department of Transportation reported some ramp closures west of Crescent, Iowa, on Interstate 680 and on I-29.

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Governor Kim Reynolds says she’ll take President Trump “at his word” after he verbally agreed to a fix for his decision to exempt 31 refineries from blending ethanol into gasoline.

But Reynolds says she hasn’t talked to Trump since their meeting in Washington DC last week. She was asked if the president would announce an agreement in Iowa.

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It looks like the dispute over ethanol waivers will go one a little longer than expected. Governor Kim Reynolds says due to the natural disaster caused by hurricane Dorian, the Trump Administration’s announcement about ethanol has been delayed.

Woodbury County Jail

A northwest Iowa man has pleaded not guilty to charges related to the July death of a man injured in a car crash.  

Thirty-eight-year-old Darrick Toel, of Le Mars, pleaded not guilty in Woodbury County District Court to charges of vehicular homicide and operating while intoxicated.   

Toel was the driver of a vehicle that crashed into a tree on the evening of July 1.

His passenger, 37-year-old Ryan Toel of Struble, was injured and died two days later.