- Cruz vs Grassley feud is bigger than Northey
We suppose corn chauvinism is to be expected as is petro chauvinism from farm and oil state Senators respectively. But call the practitioners fair minded or conservative poseurs, consistent or inconsistent, the position of the oil industry senators, Senator Cruz et al, have more (not exclusive) truth and rational basis for the good of the country as a whole (indeed mankind) than that of the corn-ethanol industry senators such as espoused by our own Senators Grassley and Ernst, et al.
The narrowness of corn-ethanol politics is unsustainable and is not for the good of the majority of tax payers anywhere, including Iowa, as it has bred an unhealthy dependence on subsidies.
If any government regulation or subsidy is to be involved, it ought to be such that Iowa’s corn acreage is used predominantly for food or product chains not efficiently sourced otherwise, not in furtherance of the boondoggle of corn based ethanol for automotive fuel driven by Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) mandates ( a “marketing” subsidy).
Incredibly, given the subsidies (mandates), the corn ethanol industry has continued to insist that it is an efficient energy source (BTU’s in more BTU’s out). If that were the case then no government subsidy or mandate would be necessary. The industry could stand on its own. If various derivatives of the industry are so compelling then the over-all economics at this stage of the game should suffice to make the massive use of corn for ethanol viable without content mandates (RFS) by government. We would not like it that farmers devoted so much cropland to corn for fuel but we would allow the market to adjust so as to keep food prices down.
We admire Senators Grassley and Ernst and Governor Reynolds for much, no Democrat could ever be better and few Republicans on balance, BUT GOOD GOD PEOPLE — TWO GENERATIONS OF ETHANOL SUBSIDIES OR MANDATES ARE ENOUGH.
The matter of RFS which EPA administrator Scott Pruit has said will be continued as Trump promised has resulted in a demand by oil state Senators that they be heard and compromise be struck over the matter as it adversely impacts their interests. Senator Cruz has been characterized by politicians here as an obstructionist by putting a hold on hearings for Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey regarding his desire to cap his career with a gig in Washington. But what led up to this, why is such leverage required, among the gentlemen and ladies of the Senate?
Even the no-friend-of-Ted-Cruz Cedar Rapids Gazette reports: (bold emphasis ours)
EPA Director Scott Pruitt had announced the likelihood of decreasing the amount of advanced biofuels that would be required. After being pressed by Grassley, Ernst and other senators from corn-growing states who cited Trump’s commitment to corn-based ethanol, Pruitt reversed course.
During the fight for the higher renewable volumes, Ernst temporarily blocked an EPA nominee until the administration supported renewable fuel policies benefiting Midwest farmers and producers.
Now Cruz is using the same tactic by blocking the Northey nomination.
His oil state allies say the price of credits used to show compliance with the rule have been driven up by speculators. That’s increasing costs for refiners, according to Cruz, and risking jobs.
Senator Grassley’s vociferousness towards Cruz regarding the matter is not without some additional perhaps conflicts of interest besides seeking home state advantage — perhaps homestead advantage –as in wiring his grandson to replace Northey by appointment.
It could be Pat Grassley is as qualified as anyone. Or not. But then we figure anyone appointed will be totally in the tank for continuing mandates. Who the Iowa Ag Secretary appointee is after Northey is confirmed (we predict Northey will confirmed soon) may lend credence to the rumors.
With the understanding that none of these media outlets like Grassley all that much, certainly not Trump and definitely not Cruz, they each provide a tidbit of useful background.
As regards ethanol subsidies long being past their shelf-life if there ever was utility to them:
These two articles are from a bona fide “green” publication albeit one that prefers wind and solar subsidies to ethanol.
Then you have the refrain from Big Ethanol that they deserve subsidies because Big Oil gets them. A petroleum industry publication published a response to similar cries from wind and solar interests about such alleged subsidies. The nature and cost benefit has some bearing.
A number of links to ethanol vs petro controversy are available in these pages provided by the American Petroleum Institute.
But not to leave on a sour note as regards Grassley we do appreciate that:
Even if Grassley supports the filibuster, which we find on balance inextricably subject to abuse and should be ended, you can’t beat his worth as head of the all important Senate Judiciary Committee as regards moving Trump’s judicial appointments along.