President Biden addresses gas prices, talks infrastructure in Iowa

WOWT Biden in Iowa
WOWT Biden in Iowa
Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 11:17 AM CDT
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(WOWT) - President Biden took the stage at a biofuel plant in the small town of Menlo, Iowa, in front of a backdrop of large farm equipment and crops to talk about gas prices and infrastructure.

The president acknowledged that the waiver on ethanol mixes was a small step in working to ease price pressures.

“I’m doing everything within my power by executive orders to bring down the price,” he said. “It’s not going to solve all our problems, but it’s going to help some people.”

Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is blended with 10% ethanol. Senior Biden administration officials said the action will save drivers an average of 10 cents per gallon based on current prices, but acknowledged the move isn’t likely to have a significant air quality impact.

The president departed Washington, D.C., on Air Force One around 11:15 a.m. (Central), and touched down at Des Moines International Airport at 1:16 p.m. He was greeted there by Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa; Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, and Col. Chuck Lampe, commanding officer of the Iowa National Guard.

The small Iowa town about 48 miles from the airport is home to POET Bioprocessing, where Biden announced his suspension of a federal rule preventing the sale of higher ethanol blend gasoline this summer.

The motorcade arrived at POET, the largest producer of first-generation ethanol in the country, a little more than an hour later. Along the way, a small convoy of former President Trump supporters greeted the motorcade with signs, some of them profane, a thin blue line flag, and one making a reference to Hillary Clinton. There were also several Biden supporters gathered at the airport exit and near the POET plant entrance.

Shortly after his arrival, Biden took a walking tour of the facility — checking out grain silos and fermentation tanks on-site — with Axne and the company’s regional vice president, Jack Mitchell. Based in Sioux Falls, S.D., POET has 33 bioprocessing facilities in eight states and employs more than 2,200 people. The company says it’s focused on producing plant-based alternatives to petrochemicals and has committed to net zero bioprocessing facilities by 2050.

Biden took the stage just after 3 p.m. to talk about the state and local benefits of his infrastructure bill as well as the ethanol rule suspension, a policy move supported by Congressional members from both parties. The Biden administration hopes it will tamp down gas prices, which have spiked during Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“Homegrown Iowa biofuels provide a quick and clean solution for lowering prices at the pump and bolstering production would help us become energy independent once again,″ Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said. He was among nine Republican and seven Democratic senators from Midwestern states who sent Biden a letter last month urging him to allow year-round E15 sales.

The president is also expected to talk more about how his Build a Better America plan’s infrastructure investments will benefit rural communities.

Watch Biden’s remarks from Iowa

President Biden was in visited a small Iowa town to announce the suspension of a federal rule preventing the sale of higher ethanol blend gasoline this summer.

Gray TV’s DC bureau, Washington pool reporters, and The Associated Press contributed to this coverage.

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