Cruz didn't shrink from no-subsidies stance

Thursday, February 4, 2016
 | 
Chris Woodward, Billy Davis (OneNewsNow.com)

Corn crop for ethanolControversy over ethanol remains a big source of conversation - and not just in Iowa.

Despite his stance on ethanol subsidies, Sen. Ted Cruz won the GOP presidential caucus in Iowa despite challenges from fellow Republicans that included Iowa's own Republican governor.

A big disagreement is over Cruz's opposition to ethanol subsidies and the so-called Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS.

During a Fox News debate just days before the Feb. 1 caucuses, Cruz said that Washington, D.C. shouldn't be "picking winners and losers, and I think that there should be no mandates and no subsidies whatsoever."

Cruz went on to state that he introduced legislation that would phase out the ethanol mandate over five years.

"Usually doing something like that, you're basically touching the third rail of politics," observes Conservative Review writer Tom Borelli, who specializes in energy policies and politics.

Cruz deserves credit, Borelli says, for maintaining his stance on ethanol subsidies in a corn-rich state where he needed a strong finish.

In a Youtube video that has gone viral, a farmer confronted Cruz about his anti-ethanol stand. The farmer angrily told Cruz that he was trying to hurt Iowa farmers by taking away their subsidies.

By the end of the seven-minute discussion (see video below), however, Cruz had won the farmer over.

The candidate explained that he's not opposed to ethanol fuel but wants a "fair and open" market place rather than subsidies for ethanol, wind energy, and corporations. Freeing that market place helps Iowa's farmers, he claimed.

"I hope the votes come in for you," the farmer told Cruz. 

A post-Iowa story at National Review Online says Cruz and his advisers knew that if he ever ran for president, his stance on ethanol would "cause him headaches" in Iowa.

"But as early as the state’s agricultural summit last May," the story explains, "he signaled that he would play to win the state on his own terms."

Meanwhile, pro-ethanol groups like the Renewable Fuels Association say Cruz's victory does not mean the ethanol industry is on its "last legs."

"The narrative coming out after (Monday) night's Iowa caucus that the domestic ethanol industry is somehow on the ropes is false," said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association. "Many people seem to have forgotten that, though Sen. Cruz stated he was opposed to the RFS, he also expressed support for ethanol as a fuel."

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