Finkenauer Brings Biodiesel Concerns Over Trump To Congress

Photo: Finkenauer meeting with farmers in district earlier this month. Iowa Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer wasted no time this week jumping back into her work in Washington after a long summer recess in the 1st District. On Tuesday, as chair of the Small Business Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship, Finkenauer led a hearing on the clean energy economy. “The clean energy economy has had an especially beneficial impact on small towns and rural areas,” said Finkenauer, an outspoken advocate for Iowa’s renewable energy sector and agriculture industries. “Rural communities in the Midwest, in states like Iowa, have experienced […]

Ep112: New Rural Messaging Ideas, Sanders College Tour

Pat Rynard sits down to discuss this week’s Iowa Caucus happenings, and Josh Cook joins to talk about Congressman Ro Khanna’s help with a new tech jobs in Jefferson, Iowa, and how it could provide a new rural America messaging and policy approach for Democrats.

Unlikely Allies: California And Iowa Look To Cleaner Ethanol

The Midwest can help save our planet’s natural resources with responsible farming practices. Presidential candidates have hinted at it with their plans and speeches in Iowa, but it’s not something we should gloss over as pandering; it’s a real possibility. Leaders from the California Air Resources Board (CARB), a major influencer in how markets nationwide respond to environmental concerns, took a trip to Iowa last week to visit ethanol production plants and corn farms, talking to ethanol-industry leaders in the state about expanding biofuel usage in California. The goal was to continue building the working relationship between ethanol producers and […]

Latest Round of Refinery Waivers “The Last Straw With Farmers”

“The small refinery waivers that came out on August 9th by President Trump are like the nail in the coffin, or the last straw, with farmers,” said Pam Johnson, former President of the Corn Growers Association, at a press conference at the Iowa Capitol Tuesday afternoon. Johnson was joined by former USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Senator Amy Klobuchar to discuss the latest round of 31 ethanol refinery waivers granted by the EPA. “I believe in biofuels, and I’ve never backed away from that,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar explained. “That’s why I’ve gotten to work with Secretary Vilsack on this, and […]

Trump Knows He “Really Messed Up With The Farmers,” Say Branstad/Ernst

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said President Donald Trump understands he “really messed up with the farmers” when he approved 31 waivers allowing refiners to forgo ethanol blending requirements outlined in the Renewable Fuel Standards. However, Ernst said the President, after several conversations with top staff and herself, didn’t agree to change that decision. Ernst told a crowd gathered in Forest City on Friday that she had two calls with Trump on Thursday. She added that Ambassador Terry Branstad also spoke with Trump about the waivers earlier in the week. “When I followed up with Ambassador Branstad after that meeting, he […]

Ernst Plans Visit With Trump On SREs, Hopes For USMCA Resolution

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said she and Senator Chuck Grassley were able to slip messages about the Environmental Protection Agency’s proliferation of the Small Refinery Exemptions to Ambassador to China Terry Branstad before he met with President Donald Trump on Monday. Ernst said at a town hall meeting in Rockwell City Thursday morning that Branstad and Trump were supposed to talk about negotiating a trade deal with China, but that it ultimately “evolved into an SRE discussion.” “[Branstad] took my comments and comments from Senator Grassley and presented those to the President,” Ernst said. “I am expecting to have a […]

Rep. Cindy Axne Calls For Federal Investigation Into EPA’s Biofuel Waivers

In the wake of news an Iowa-based biofuels producer will cut jobs and production due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proliferation of “Small Refinery Exemptions” for oil companies, Iowa congresswoman Cindy Axne called for a federal investigation into the Trump Administration’s controversial policy. Axne held a press conference Wednesday afternoon at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs to highlight the letter she sent to the EPA’s acting inspector general, Charles Sheehan. “I remember hearing the president say that he’s the best thing to ever happen to farmers,” said Axne, at the press conference. “As a matter of fact, that’s […]

Biden On Trump In Iowa: “Easy To Be A Bully” When Others Getting Hit

Around 75 people showed up at Sunset Ridge Farm this afternoon to hear Vice President Joe Biden speak earlier today. Biden framed the 2020 race as “the most important election any of you have ever voted in, regardless of how old, or young, you are.” Biden hit many of his frequent talking points, including the divisiveness of Donald Trump and his rhetoric, increasing racial tension under Trump’s leadership, the energized resurgence of white supremacy, the cost and importance of education, teacher pay and gun violence. “We can overcome four years of Donald Trump, it will be difficult, but if we […]

Ernst, Grassley Warn Trump He’s Losing Iowa Support On Waivers

In the wake of 31 Renewable Fuel Standard waivers being granted to refineries last week, Republican senators from Iowa are warning President Donald Trump about the political fallout he’s causing, noting that “our farmers are angry.” The waivers allow oil refineries to avoid blending ethanol into their final product, benefiting oil companies’ bottom lines at the expense of corn farmers. “Mr. President, you should have done more,” Sen. Joni Ernst said on Saturday. “So, what I’m hearing from our farmers is extreme disappointment, and I’m disappointed, because there is a promise that needs to to be kept for our farmers.” […]

Gillibrand Plans School-Based Health Centers For Rural Children

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand rolled out a new plan today to create School-Based Health Centers that will provide children in rural Iowa and across the nation with mental health care services that are currently lacking. A few Iowa schools have already tried to launch similar programs, but they aren’t fully funded and they don’t necessarily meet every child’s needs. Indianola brought in licensed therapists as early as 2017, but the district had some issues with keeping their providers early on. The district has since become one of more than 50 Iowa schools to begin working with Integrative Counseling Services, which is […]