WHO-TV: Carson’s Answer on Ethanol Subsidies May Land Him on Naughty List with Renewable Fuels Supporters


October 30, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa — “You know, all of this too big to fail stuff and picking and choosing winners and losers, this is a bunch of crap,” said Republican presidential candidate Doctor Ben Carson at Wednesday night’s debate. That answer may get Carson on the naughty list in Iowa when it comes to where candidates stand on the renewable fuel standard. “The renewable fuel standard is simply a law that says we`re going to increase the use of renewable fuels overtime in this country,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director – Monte Shaw.

Passed in 2005 , and expanded in 2007, the law established the goal of reducing oil consumption by requiring oil companies to blend biofuels into the national fuel supply. While the RFS does not require subsidies, the issue of what the relationship should be between the government and biofuels finally came up in a presidential debate for the first time this election cycle.

CNBC’s Rick Santelli asked the following question: “Dr. Carson, you told the Des Moines Register that you don`t like government subsidies. It interferes with the free market, but you`ve also said you`re in favor of taking oil subsidies and putting them toward ethanol processing. Isn`t that just swapping one subsidy for another, doctor?” Carson responded the following way, “first of all, I was wrong about taking the oil subsidy. I have studied that issue with great detail and what I have concluded, the best policy is to get rid of all government subsidies.” However, that’s not what Mr. Carson was saying during his first visit to Iowa as a presidential candidate back in May. During that visit, Carson said,”I would probably be in favor of taking that $4 billion a year we spend on oil subsidies and using that in new fueling stations’ to change the containment facilities, the rubber seals, the hoses that are adversely effected by mixing the gas with the corn product at a 30% level.”

Renewable fuels advocate Monte Shaw says the government does have a role to play, and it should start be leveling the playing field between oil and ethanol. “When candidates come to Iowa and say ‘oh, you know we can’t support ethanol. We’ve got to let the free market work, but then they continue to let oil companies get over a hundred and two years. They’ve had oil subsidies for over 102 years. They exist today. They’re permanent law. They never expire, and they’re not introducing legislation to get rid of those,” said Shaw.

Watch the video and read the full WHO-TV story here.