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Iowa Politics Newsletter: ethanol plants face uncertainty as Trump weighs oil exemptions

Des Moines Register logo Des Moines Register 9/16/2019 Robin Opsahl, Des Moines Register

Good morning, Iowa,

A farmer-owned ethanol plant in northwest Iowa, Siouxland Energy Cooperative, has shut down — the second in Iowa — facing growing losses that leaders blame on the Trump administration. Siouxland Energy Cooperative's future depends on whether President Donald Trump restores billions of gallons of ethanol and biodiesel demand that the renewable fuels industry says his administration extinguished through exemptions to oil refiners.

"The clock is ticking on many of these plants," said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. Given low biofuel prices, he said "it doesn't take very long to burn through millions of dollars."

a group of people standing in front of a large crowd at night: Audience members arrive before a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Texas Southern University in Houston. © David J. Phillip, AP Audience members arrive before a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019, at Texas Southern University in Houston.

The Democratic National Committee announced the Oct. 15 debate will be hosted by CNN and The New York Times in Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb northeast of Columbus. A second night could be added if more candidates meet the qualifying criteria.

Friday's announcement ends weeks of speculation the DNC might choose Dayton, where a mass shooter killed nine in August, or Lordstown in Ohio's Mahoning Valley, where General Motors has left thousands of assembly plant employees out of work. But for Ohio Democrats, Westerville and suburban Columbus represent voter demographics changing in their favor. 

  • Kyla Paterson, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Stonewall Caucus, has endorsed U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey for president. Paterson previously had endorsed U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York before Gillibrand ended her presidential campaign. “From the moment I met Cory he didn't need to be asked about how he can help the LGBTQ community. He told me," Paterson said in a statement. "As a trans woman who doesn't just want an ally, but someone who is an accomplice in fighting for my rights with me, it meant the world. It meant I didn't have to fight to be validated by him. That's how I feel about Cory. He's someone you can count on to be present."
  • A third round of flooding is anticipated in western Iowa, according to a Pottawattamie County Emergency Management Agency news release. A nearly four-and-a-half foot rise of the Missouri River is forecasted over the next week, the news release states.

    "The time to prepare is now," Doug Reed, emergency management director of Pottawattamie County stated in the news release.

Here's what other news you should start your week with:

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This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Iowa Politics Newsletter: ethanol plants face uncertainty as Trump weighs oil exemptions

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