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Trump reportedly orders his cabinet to calm farmers’ anger over new biofuel exemptions they lobbied against



donald trump cabinetEvan Vucci, File via AP

  • President Donald Trump on Monday ordered cabinet members to alleviate anger from corn farmers over his administration’s decision to exempt some refiners from US biofuel laws, Reuters reported.
  • The administration granted exemptions to 31 small refineries on August 9, allowing them to use less ethanol when mixing gasoline.
  • Ethanol producers and corn farmers lobbied to cut the number of exemptions granted, according to Reuters.
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President Donald Trump ordered cabinet members Monday to alleviate discontent in Farm Belt states over his administration’s decision to give 31 small refineries exemptions from US biofuel laws, according to Reuters.

The exemptions, granted on August 9, allow the refiners to use a smaller amount of ethanol when mixing their gasoline. Trump’s administration has handed out a record number of such exemptions. Refiners are required to blend biofuels such as ethanol into their gasoline or help fund peers that do so. 

Ethanol producers and corn harvesters lobbied to cut the number of exemptions, according to Reuters.

Iowa is the US’ largest producer of corn and ethanol, and the state swung to Trump in 2016 after voting for President Barack Obama twice. 

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“At a time when ethanol plants in the Heartland are being mothballed and jobs are being lost, it is unfathomable and utterly reprehensible that the Trump administration would dole out more unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum refiners,” Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper said in a statement following the decision.

Trump held a two-hour cabinet meeting during which the matter was discussed on Monday, two sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.

Corn prices were down about 1.3% as of 2:40 p.m. ET Tuesday, at $3.60 per bushel. Corn closed as much as 12% lower after the administration’s August 9 announcement.  

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