Iowans, most notably Republican Iowans, are growing weary of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s perceived grandstanding as Texas primaries loom.
In a publicity battle between renewable fuels and fossil fuels, Cruz has been blocking Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey’s nomination to a federal ag department post.
It should be noted Cruz won the Iowa caucuses in 2016 despite his disdain for the Renewable Fuels Standard. The standard mandates a certain amount of ethanol be blended in gasoline and diesel fuel. Much of that ethanol is derived from corn, Iowa’s staple product.
In November, Cruz wrote to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to say he was planning on placing a hold on Northey’s nomination until he can secure a meeting with the president to discuss the ethanol regulations.
Northey has been nominated by President Donald Trump to serve in the USDA, but Cruz has blocked a vote on the nomination in the Senate.
Northey is currently Iowa’s agriculture secretary and, we believe, well-qualified to fill the USDA post. If confirmed, Northey would oversee U.S. crop subsidies, crop insurance and land stewardship programs. That post is generally perceived as the third-most important USDA official, under the secretary and deputy secretary posts.
Cruz recently traveled to Philadelphia to lead a rally there to be a now-bankrupt refinery.
He says he has nothing against Northey but is blocking his nomination because of the federal renewable fuels regulation that provides a boon to Iowa’s agricultural economy. Cruz says the regulations are hurting oil refineries.
Well, that’s sort of an inevitability, isn’t it? We hope it is.
The whole idea behind the use of renewable fuels is to someday largely supplant polluting fossil fuels and reduce reliance on foreign fuel sources.
In the last quarter of 2017, members of Iowa’s biodiesel industry were growing concerned over potential cuts to the nation’s Renewable Fuels Standard. And they made some very public reminders President Trump, during the 2016 election cycle, promised to support renewable fuels. The standard survived.
As for Cruz, it’s fine — and quite understandable — to look out for your home state and region. But Cruz has inserted himself far enough into national politics — to the extent of a presidential candidacy — that we’d appreciate a modern-day national perspective on energy and the sources that will fuel this nation and the world in the future.
His recent rhetoric, and his actions to block Northey’s nomination, have steamed Iowa Republicans. In a recent letter, state party chairman Jeff Kaufmann urged Cruz to back off.
“Your action is harmful to Iowans and our agricultural industry at large, and accomplishes nothing other than it allows you to secure a personal political victory in an election year,” the letter stated.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association called Cruz’s appearance at the Philadelphia event “a political move that has nothing to do with genuine concern for Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ employees and everything to do with enhancing Senator Ted Cruz’s chances of re-election in Texas.”
Unfortunately, we live in a world of swirling political moves.
There is no denying renewable fuels are the future. Yes, there is still a place for fossil fuels and there probably will be for a long time. Fossil fuels will remain a bridge to a future with renewable fuel sources.
If Cruz ever wants to rekindle his presidential aspirations, he’s going to have to come through Iowa — which still holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses. It could be a crash-and-burn scenario for the former first-placer here.
We continue to believe in the importance of the Renewable Fuels Standard. Cleaner, renewable sources of energy are the undeniable wave of the future and we need to continue to adapt to that reality.
Even if you’re from Texas.