Agriculture has not provided many hot-button issues for the candidates of the 2016 presidential election to discuss – with one exception.
Because the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is oft-argued, and because the candidates are spending so much time in Iowa, where roughly 25% of the nation’s ethanol is produced, the question has come up here and there. Most notably, Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad recently took a jab at Ted Cruz for wanting to phase out the RFS.
What about the other candidates? The coalition America’s Renewable Future (ARF) has compiled a list of candidate stances before they declared their candidacy compared with their present opinions. (It should be noted that ARF is headed by Eric Brandstad, who is Gov. Brandstad’s son.)
“The fact is that every presidential candidate is either supportive of the RFS or has moved in that direction,” he notes.
Here are the candidate’s stances, listed alphabetically by name.
Jeb Bush was originally not a supporter, but today says “the law that passed in 2007 has worked for sure.”
Ben Carson originally had no position, but now favors the RFS through 2022.
Chris Christie moved from having no position to committing to “absolutely” support the RFS.
Hillary Clinton has shown support for RFS in the past and published an op-ed in 2015 calling for the U.S. to “invest in rural clean energy” including ethanol and other biofuels.
Ted Cruz supported to repeal RFS in 2013; in January 2016, his op-ed promises to rescind the EPA’s blend wall and also “level the playing field” by phasing out the RFS by 2022 and end all energy subsidies.
Carly Fiorina was not initially a supporter of RFS, but now favors it through 2022.
Mike Huckabee was and is a supporter of RFS.
John Kasich once opposed tax credits for ethanol, but now favors the RFS “the way it is.”
Martin O’Malley applied for a waiver from the RFS as Governor of Maryland in 2012; today, he favors a robust RFS.
Marco Rubio voted against tax credits for ethanol, but now supports the RFS as-is.
Bernie Sanders did not have a position on RFS before his presidential run. He has since stated he favors a robust RFS.
Rick Santorum supported RFS during his 2012 presidential run (in which he won the Iowa Caucus)and is still a supporter.
Donald Trump had no position initially but now supports a "higher ethanol mandate."
ARF has issued report cards for each candidate, which are available here.