Governor Kristi Noem joins the South Dakota Farmers Union in protesting the Trump Administration’s underhanded switcheroo on ethanol. But as a loyal Trumpist, Governor Noem can’t come out and say Il Duce broke a promise. To duck Donald’s wrath, Governor Noem has to adopt the absurd position that Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is somehow separate from the Executive Branch that Trump controls.
In touting a letter she so-signed with Minnesota’s more sensible Governor Tim Walz on behalf of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, Noem says Trump is still great but the evil EPA is failing our farmers:
“President Trump’s announcement to expand ethanol production would be an incredible shot in the arm for South Dakota’s farmers. It would increase the demand for corn and improve long-term agriculture stability,” said Noem. “This announcement is meaningless, though, if the EPA fails to honor the president’s direction and shirks its responsibility to American farmers. The EPA’s recently proposed rules fail to fix the problems they previously caused and once again do not enforce ethanol production requirements. I strongly urge Administrator Wheeler and EPA leadership to reconsider this approach and utilize actual exempted gallon data to ensure the support of farmers and ranchers in South Dakota and throughout the nation.”
“EPA chose to approve these waivers at a time when farmers and biofuel producers were already hurt by adverse weather conditions, flagging export market opportunities, and chronically low commodity prices. Approving these waivers when the agriculture economy was struggling represented a callous disregard for the economic interest our nation’s farmers,” Noem and Walz wrote in the letter [emphasis original; Office of the Governor, propaganda, 2019.10.31].
Governor Walz accedes to Governor Noem’s civic schizophrenia, but their letter emphasizes that Trump “reached an agreement with the nation’s farm representatives” and uses the word agreement ten more times (and agreed once) to portray the promise Trump made as binding. The letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler refers to the EPA’s proposed implementation of Trump’s direction as “a complete abrogation of the agreement President Trump announced only weeks earlier.”
But let’s be serious: saying the EPA is breaking Donald Trump’s agreement is saying Donald Trump is breaking Donald Trump’s agreement. Trump appointed Wheeler; Trump can tweet-fire Wheeler if he thinks Wheeler isn’t doing his bidding, as Trump has with numerous other Cabinet officials. Wheeler does the will of the White House… and apparently the will of the White House is not to boost ethanol.
Expecting Donald Trump to keep his word, not mention expecting a former coal lobbyist appointed head of the EPA to do a favor for alternatives to fossil fuels, is as smart as expecting oil pipelines not to leak. Equally foolish is expecting Kristi Noem to directly criticize Donald Trump for breaking his promise to South Dakota farmers.