DeSantis, Haley address Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit

DES MOINES — Two Republican presidential candidates appeared Thursday at an annual event that was a flashpoint in the 2016 Iowa Caucus campaign.

Eight years ago at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, then-Governor Terry Branstad announced he did not want Texas Senator Ted Cruz to win the Caucuses because of Cruz’s record on ethanol. This year, current Governor Kim Reynolds introduced Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to the crowd.

“A close friend and he was the first candidate to check all the boxes for the Biofuels Vision 2024,” Reynolds said.

DeSantis reinforced that message during his remarks to the group, saying he supports an all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes biofuels. “I want American jobs. I want American produced energy,” DeSantis said. “I don’t want to go hat-in-hand to Saudia Arabia and beg for energy. I don’t have to have to the rely on Venezuela.”

DeSantis said E15 sales should be allowed year-round and DeSantis referred to his visits to ethanol plants in Menlo, Jewell and Galva. “I’ve been able to learn a lot about the critical role that plays in small communities, bigger communities,” DeSantis said, “how it impacts the economy, jobs.”

Former Ambassador Nikki Haley told the crowd it’s “silly season” on the campaign trail and she referred to DeSantis’ time in the U.S. House. “Ron DeSantis just came here and spoke to you,” Haley said. “Did he tell you that he authored legislation to ban the Renewable Fuels Standard? Did he tell you he cosponsored five different bills to ban the Renewable Fuels Standard?”

At the end of December, Haley signed off on all eight items on the scorecard produced by the biofuels industry, but did not mention them in her speech. Former President Trump has also criticized DeSantis for proposing an end to the federal ethanol production mandate when he served in the U.S. House.