Rural Issue

Iowa group outlines candidates’ stance on ethanol

Just ahead of next week’s Iowa Republican caucus, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has released a voter guide on issues related to ethanol.

IRFA executive director Monte Shaw says the most important question is where the candidates stand on the renewable fuels standard (RFS).

“Especially with the ethanol blenders’ tax credit going away at the end of 2011, the renewable fuels standard is really the only policy we’re going to have in place to help fight the most-favored treatment that petroleum gets,” Shaw says. “I mean, most people forget that the petroleum industry will still be getting tax credits, even though we don’t.”

And Shaw says that’s why it’s important to have a President who supports the RFS.

“If Congress ever tried to get rid of it, or hurt it, a President can obviously veto those bills,” he says. “But there’s also waiver requests—so if we have a person who doesn’t like renewable fuels in the White House, they could order their EPA to just waive the RFS—even if there might not be a truly legitimate reason to do so.”

Shaw says three of the six Republican candidates—Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum—have expressed their support for the RFS.  Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul and Rick Perry have not.

“To us, that’s the clear dividing line between people who understand that we need to help renewable fuels compete against all of the benefits the government is giving petroleum,” says Shaw. “Otherwise you’re just going to have that oil monopoly continue.”

An electronic version of the voter guide can be viewed at

AUDIO: Monte Shaw (6:00 MP3)


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