Ethanol booster and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the COVID-relief package is a win for biofuels, despite leaving it up to the Ag Secretary to trigger producer aid. Grassley and junior Iowa GOP Senator Joni Ernst lobbied Secretary Sonny Perdue for six months to use earlier COVID relief aid for impacted biofuel producers, but “the Secretary kept telling us he didn’t have the authority to do it, and we said, ‘yes, you do.’ But he didn’t agree. So, this makes very clear he has the authority to do it,” Grassley said.
Their efforts were to no avail and the relief package, now under a veto threat by President Trump, makes renewable fuel producers eligible to receive emergency relief but leaves the final decision up to the Secretary. Grassley says the change in administration could be the difference between getting this aid, or not, saying “Does it guarantee that there’ll be any help? Maybe not under a Perdue, but I’ll bet there will be under a Vilsack.”
He’s referring to Biden USDA nominee and former Obama USDA chief Tom Vilsack, a former Iowa Governor. The pandemic has ravaged the ethanol industry, causing nearly 4 billion dollars in estimated losses from reduced fuel demand, amounting to 700 million bushels of corn.