Iowa governor making the rounds in defense of the indefensible, i.e., the Renewable Fuel Standard

Last month’s news that the Environmental Protection Agency is finally, mercifully considering easing up on their hitherto absurdly intractable commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard — the environmentally degrading, price-hiking, and corporate-pork-tossing federal mandate that requires refiners to blend the country’s fuel supply with ever-increasing volumes of certain types of biofuels, or else purchase from a limited number of available credits for exemption — was greeted with cheers by just about everyone, minus of course Big Ethanol’s many lobbyists and the politicians who unfailingly cater to them.

The corn lobby has been running every play they can think of to convince the Obama administration that it somehow actually would not be in their interest to finally, if obliquely, fess up to the fact that they’ve only been supporting ethanol these past few years in order to add another grandiose “green” feather to their cap of munificent “all of the above” energy plans, but the increasing exposure of ethanol’s true and definitively not-“green” colors are depriving it of its erstwhile attractions in that arena. They’re ready to challenge the EPA’s [ever-questionable] legal authority to even move anywhere but forward with the Renewable Fuel Standard at all, but I think they’re hoping to head off the problem before it comes to that, if they can. Via the DesMoines Register:

Gov. Terry Branstad said today he will be testifying Thursday at a public hearing in Virginia sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a proposed rule to weaken the federal government’s Renewable Fuel Standard.

The governor said in a statement that he will offer strong public support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, which he contends the EPA is seeking to dismantle, potentially causing significant economic harm to Iowa families.

And more from the National Journal:

It’s not his first Beltway visit in defense of the RFS. In late October, Branstad met with administration officials from the Office of Management and Budget, which was then reviewing 2014 RFS levels. His pleas evidently went unheard, as EPA announced reduced levels for many renewable fuels last month. Among the officials Branstad met with was Dan Utech, who has since been named President Obama’s top climate and energy adviser.

While Branstad’s first pitch didn’t sway EPA’s initial level-setting, it’s unlikely his follow-up appeals during the mandate’s public comment period will cause the agency to rethink its ruling.

One would hope not, but he may as well give it his best go; the, ahem, Republican governor is going to be running for his sixth term in short order, and with plenty of Iowans all about providing the corn industry with as much artificial market support as it can get, it certainly can’t hurt to knock the Obama administration for having the audacity to even think about partially walking back the RFS. It ain’t the full repeal that America needs and deserves, but it’s something.

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