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In Iowa, Clinton backs ethanol as part of rural aid plan


Hillary Rodham Clinton proposed banking and tax changes Wednesday that she said would encourage investment in agriculture and rural businesses, along with expanded federal assistance for farmers and ranchers.

With a backdrop of a gleaming John Deere tractor at an Iowa community college, Clinton presented a network of initiatives that would build on existing support programs for agriculture, rural development and education. Some elements of Clinton’s rural program, such as her proposals to make public college education more affordable, have been released previously.

The Democratic front-runner’s rural aid package contains an endorsement for ethanol, the corn-based fuel additive. Iowa is the world’s largest producer of ethanol, which is at the center of an environmental and resources debate about the expense and efficiency of growing corn for fuel instead of food.

A fact sheet provided by Clinton’s campaign ahead of her speech says she would “strengthen” the federal Renewable Fuel Standard to promote development of advanced biofuels and improve “access” to ethanol products called E15 and E85. The plan does not state how this would be done and does not address the food vs. fuel environmental debate, although it follows the section on biofuels with bullet points on Clinton’s clean energy program.
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