COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa—President Donald Trump announced ending the summertime ban of E15 sales—a higher ethanol blend of gasoline at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Trump’s Oct. 9 trip to the “Hawkeye State”—the largest ethanol producer in the United States—comes after a whirlwind lineup of campaign stops last week where he rallied for Republicans in Minnesota, Mississippi, Kansas, and Tennessee.
The lifting of the ethanol restrictions would allow for year-round sale of E15, which contains up to 15 percent ethanol. The fuel is currently available 8 months a year. Trump has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rule-making. The new rule, once ready, will become effective after a public comment period.
“We are going with E15 year around. I made that promise to you during the campaign, I made that promise to you during the primaries,” Trump told the crowd inside the Mid-America Center. “Promises made, promises kept.”
The move would benefit corn farmers in the state—the ethanol industry supports about 43,000 jobs throughout the Iowa economy. It comes after corn farmers and politicians pressed for it, believing it would help stabilize the farming industry.
The shift in the ethanol policy could also help two republicans Trump endorsed at the rally—Rep. David Young and Gov. Kim Reynolds, who are both running for re-election. Trump won the state by about 10 percentage points in the 2016 elections.
The rally comes a day after the White House held another swearing-in ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was initially sworn in on Oct. 6 in a ceremony at the Supreme Court.
“This is truly a historic week for America,” Trump said in his opening remarks at the rally. “Yesterday at the White House we proudly swore in the newest member of the United States Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh.”
Trump made special mention of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judicial Committee, for his work during the confirmation hearings.
He called Grassley an “Iowa legend” and thanked him for his “backbone and leadership” that helped the Republicans with the nomination victory.
Trump, as in his previous rallies, again blamed the Democrats for their “shameful campaign of political and personal destruction” during the hearings. He said the policies from the Democrats are increasingly shifting far-left and called them “dangerous.”
“You don’t hand matches to an arsonist,” Trump said.
The president repeatedly touted the lifting of the ethanol restrictions during his hour-long rally and reiterated his support for the farmers of Iowa. Many in the audience wore bright green caps with the phrase “Make Farmers Great Again” stamped on it.
“My administration is protecting ethanol. Today we are unleashing the power of E15 to fuel our country all year long, not 8 months” he said. “The Dems will end ethanol, they will take it away. They will find a way to take it away.”
“We’ve also achieved another historic victory for Iowa farmers by replacing the job killing NAFTA deal with the USMCA,” he said. USMCA stands for the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement.
Trump invited both Rep. David Young and Gov. Kim Reynolds up to the stage to speak as he called on his supporters to vote for them.
“Thank you for USMCA and Mr. President thank you for the year-round E15, our farmers thank you, our Iowans thank you,” Reynolds told the crowd during her remarks.
Reynolds will face off with Democrat candidate Fred Hubbell in November. Trump called Hubbell “weak on crime, weak on borders” and said he only wants to raise the taxes of Iowans and to take away ethanol.
A recent poll by RealClearPolitics found the pair in a tight race with Hubbell leading by 3 points.
Meanwhile, Young will face off against Democrat candidate Cindy Axne, where he is 16 percentage points down, according to a recent poll.
“On Nov. 6 you have the chance to stop the radical democrats… We have done nothing wrong—except create one of the greatest economies,” Trump told his supporters.