Trump makes pitch to farmers: Ethanol plan will be 'great for all!'

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAdvocate calls for fundamental shift in criminal justice system Shame on Europe at the G-7 Senate GOP pledges to oppose any efforts to ‘pack’ Supreme Court MORE on Thursday sought to allay farmers’ concerns after his administration decided to grant waivers to small refineries that don’t add ethanol to their gasoline, a move farmers had opposed.

“The Farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for Ethanol,” Trump tweeted. “It will be a giant package, get ready! At the same time I was able to save the small refineries from certain closing. Great for all!”

Trump had promised in June to review a national program granting the waivers, but the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent decision to issue new exemptions signaled an administration study would not be carried out.

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The president had promised corn farmers he would review the waiver system after a June trip to Iowa.

Farmers expressed outrage over the reversal, saying the EPA’s decision to grant 31 exemptions to small refineries across the country showed the president sided more with the fuel plants than corn growers.

“President Trump’s promises on the future of ethanol were broken with the approval of 31 unjustified refinery waivers as it kills the demand for corn, and Iowa corn farmers are fed up,” the Iowa Corn Farmers Association said in a statement hammering Trump on Tuesday.

“Agriculture is in one hell of a bad situation right now. The government put us in this situation, and they need to help us get out of it,” added Vic Miller, a corn farmer from Fayette County. “It’s time for President Trump to make rural America and the [Renewable Fuel Standard] great again. He made promises to American farmers and now it’s time for him to keep them.”

While some farmers maintain that the ethanol requirement would be an economic boon for them, the EPA said it is following the process for giving waivers to those plants that would face financial hardship by being forced to add ethanol to their fuel.

“EPA, with our federal partners, including USDA and the Department of Energy, continues to implement the Renewable Fuel Standard program in accordance with the Clean Air Act, taking into consideration additional direction from Congress, and relevant court decisions,” the agency said in a statement to The Hill.

“There is zero evidence that EPA’s congressionally mandated small refinery exemption program, which provides regulatory relief to small refineries around the country, has had any negative impact on domestic corn ethanol producers.”

Besides his ethanol policy, farmers have hammered Trump over his prolonged trade war with China as Beijing continues to target agricultural goods with tit-for-tat tariffs to try to chip into a core part of the president’s political support.

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