Sen. Ted Cruz’s Evolution on Ethanol

Joanna Schroeder

Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz has come a long way on his view of ethanol.  For the first time during a bus stop in Sioux Center, Iowa, Cruz pledged to support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) through 2022 and called for an end to oil and gas production subsidies if elected president. Former Senator Jim Talent, who is now spearheading Americans for Energy Security and Innovation (AESI), has commended Cruz for joining other Republican presidential candidates in voicing support for the RFS.

AESI logo“The RFS has been an extremely successful policy over the past decade – with 10 percent of the nation’s fuel supply now coming from cost-competitive biofuels,” said Talent. “It has helped the biofuels industry create more than 850,000 well-paying jobs in rural America and across the country.”

“The fact is, continued Talent, “that energy markets are not free markets because of the international oil cartel. Senator Cruz is correct to call for leveling the playing field by ensuring market access for biofuels. His proposal to rescind the EPA blend wall will help to promote investment in biofuels that will help to create more jobs and spur innovation.”

In response to Sen. Cruz’s statements, America’s Renewable Future (ARF) state director Eric Branstad said, “Farmers and rural communities across Iowa are going to be encouraged by Sen. Cruz’s remarks. He is clearly listening to the people of Iowa and understands the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard to America’s economy and energy independence, as he started the caucus process calling for immediate repeal. While not perfect, this is a big step forward by Sen. Cruz.”

Despite recent pro-RFS comments, Sen. Cruz has not been supportive through out his whole campaign. So much so that ARF has been campaigning with Iowans to let them know that Cruz is not a “true” supporter. However, Cruz wrote an Op-Ed this week outlining a new tone and position on ethanol and the RFS. 

ARF-Logo-Retina-AltIn addition to this new RFS position, Cruz also communicated support for breaking the artificial blendwall saying, “ethanol blends can be a win-win for automakers and consumers alike”. This, said ARF, is a far cry from Cruz’s 2013 introduction of an immediate repeal and his position that ethanol production drives “up the costs of fuel, food, and goods.” These are facts Cruz’s campaign conveniently left out of its response. Cruz’s recent comments, said ARF, come after being pressured by Iowans and are a welcome change.

We are encouraged that Ted Cruz is finally listening to Iowa farmers, and we reported his shift, as we have done with the rest of the candidates when they’ve introduced new language on the campaign trail,” said Branstad. “For the first time, Cruz called for keeping the RFS in place through 2022 instead of his previous 5-year phase down bill that, when introduced, would have terminated the RFS in 2019.

“Cruz has had time to clarify his position for the last year, the language he is using this week is new. It is only after ARF has engaged him that he’s talking about the issue in this way. It clearly affirms that it’s a key issue to Iowa caucus-goers,” Branstad added.

However, Branstad cautions, “Until Cruz pledges to uphold the RFS as the law dictates—not his position to phase it down by 2022—we will continue to educate Iowa voters about his bad position.”

ARF, biofuels, Ethanol, RFS