MOUNT VERNON, Iowa—The first woman who asked a question wanted to know about ethanol. E10 or E15?
This is more than an academic question. The E number is the percentage of the corn-based fuel that can legally be mixed in with gasoline. More ethanol, which President Donald Trump said in October he wants to make the year-round standard, means more corn being used and so more money in the pockets of Iowa farmers, and more jobs for Iowans at processing plants. But more ethanol also means more federal subsidies to pump money in to cover the costs of making the biofuel, and more environmental risks from what would be released by corroding engines.
Beto O’Rourke’s full answer went on for a bit.
“How do we free ourselves from a commodity market over which we have no control? We do so by adding value to what we grow at the same time that we meet our energy needs, renewable standards that we have in this country and the crisis of climate change,” he said. “The farmers in Iowa are able to do that. We visited an ethanol facility today: 50 jobs in a community that wants to have high-wage, high-skill, high-investment industry in their hometowns—drawing young people back or keeping them there in the first place. Owned not by some gigantic corporation in another place; owned cooperatively by the farmers that are growing the corn there in the first place. In other words, we’re addressing not just a fuel standard, not just environmental concerns, but we’re reviving rural America in the process. So let’s stand behind and with those farmers. Iowa is showing us the way.”