EPA Policies Hurts Ethanol Industry and Chinese Trade War kills Lobster Exports

China is a massive and growing market for lobster, according to Bangor Daily News, but exports to China have dropped off since last year, when China placed retaliatory tariffs on the popular seafood.

The business China once threw to the U.S. has moved north to Canada, “where cargo planes are coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New Brunswick, to handle a growing bump in exports.”

Bangor Daily News reported that layoffs are becoming more common in Maine, where the owner The Lobster Co., of Arundel, was forced to let go half of her employees.

“They picked winners, and they picked losers, and they picked me a loser,” Stephanie Nadeau said. “There is no market that’s going to replace China.”

Through June of this year, the U.S. exported less than 2.2 million pounds of lobster to China, down from nearly 12 million pounds during the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Canada shipped nearly 33 million pounds of the crustaceans to China.

Also losing out is America’s ethanol industry, which had placed great hope in the new president to give the renewable fuel sector a boost.

But that boost never came, and it now appears that many in the industry are thinking twice about supporting Trump in the next election.

“If people connected to agriculture decide to vote for the president, they’re just voting to cut off their own economic prosperity,” Nick Bowdish, CEO of Elite Ethanol in Atlantic, told the Des Moines Register.

Trump had promised he would review federal policy granting waivers to some refineries that allows them to skip out on requirements for blending ethanol with gasoline.

But after a short review, the president gave Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler the go ahead to continue handing out the waivers, leading to a reprieve for 31 oil refineries earlier this month.

Since Trump entered the White House, his administration “has granted 85 refineries a pass from buying 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel, killing demand for 1.4 billion bushels of corn used to make it, Bowdish said.”

Decreased demand will lead to job cuts at ethanol producers, which will hurt small, rural communities the most, Bowdish said.

The nation’s largest producer, Poet, announced plans this week to “close an Indiana plant and ratchet back production at half its other plants, with the biggest cuts happening in Iowa and Ohio.”

The company also “expects to buy 100 million fewer bushels of corn and ‘consolidate numerous jobs’ across its 28 operations.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) voiced irritation with the Trump administration during a recent appearance on Iowa Public Television, saying the EPA “screwed us.”

“What’s bad isn’t the waiver. It’s that it’s being granted to people who really aren’t (experiencing) hardship,” he said.

For comparison, under Trump, the EPA has granted a total of 85 waivers so far; under the Obama administration approved fewer than 10.

Grassley said Trump “wants to be considered very pro-ethanol and he wants to be considered very pro-farmer,” but the EPA “isn’t carrying out his policies.”

He added that “The buck stops at the Oval Office.”





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