An ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa.

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst has been there for Iowans when it comes to the federal government’s coronavirus response efforts. She also wrote the law to expand veteran mental health services. Iowa is proving to be a battleground for control of the Senate in 2021, you can tell because of all the seemingly endless negative ads already running against Senator Ernst. Expect the money to flood into the state and the advertisements attacking the Senator to increase. 

Democrats hope that flipping the Senate might run through Iowa. One interest group that the Senator can’t count on is the Washington DC-based “Big Ethanol” lobbyists. They seem to be tossing Senator Joni Ernst under the political bus.  

Senator Ernst has been loyal to her roots and Iowa’s farmers or at least the farm lobby. She has carried their water for years, and now they are nowhere to be found when she needs them most. Her opponent is attacking the Senator for not being pro-ethanol enough. 

This lobby has shown no loyalty, and hopefully, Senator Ernst will remember who her friends are when she wins her seat back this fall.

The ethanol lobby has a history of hedging their bets and supporting both parties, yet they have done nothing to defend one of their own. Senator Ernst can’t do enough to please them, and they have left her hanging in the wind while her opponent, Theresa Greenfield, attacks her record. Senator Ernst has done all she can for the powerful ethanol lobby, yet they refuse to defend her when attacked by Greenfield.

Both Senator Ernst and Greenfield are running as champions of ethanol. The Des Moines Register reported on June 30, 2020, “Iowa’s U.S. Senate candidates are jockeying for roles as champions of the state’s ethanol industry, which leads the nation but faces renewed threats from within the federal government.” 

They both have opposed waivers issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help small oil refineries survive during these difficult times by providing relief from renewable fuel mandates. Yet, Senator Ernst has even taken the extraordinary step of opposing Doug Benevento to be Deputy Administrator at EPA to put some pressure on the Trump Administration. Greenfield obviously has no power to do anything, yet she attacks Senator Ernst while Ernst is actually taking action to slow the waivers.

The only one who has put points on the board for Iowa farmers is Senator Ernst. 

The Des Moines Register reported, “Ernst said she’s been a leader in pushing President Donald Trump to be more supportive of the ethanol industry, taking credit for helping to convince him not to challenge a recent court ruling that benefited ethanol producers over oil refineries.” 

Greenfield cited statistics from the Center for Responsive Politics that Senator Ernst has received donations from individuals and companies in oil and gas to the tune of about $305,121. There is nothing wrong with those donations unless one is a proponent of the Green New Deal and wants to rid society of all fossil fuels.  

Despite the accusations from Greenfield, Senator Ernst has been an independent voice, yet the ethanol lobby has ignored her actions. They are looking at the polls and have determined that political expedience leads them to throw all in with the Democrat in the race.  

So much for loyalty when dealing with the ethanol lobby. Senator Ernst should keep this in the front of her mind when she is sworn in for a new six-year term in January of 2021.

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