Texas Gov. Perry: Ethanol will survive diminished mandate

Potential 2016 presidential candidate spends second day in Iowa

Ed Tibbetts
Published: February 28 2014 | 3:40 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 4:18 am in

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday that ethanol will survive a diminished renewable fuel standard, but there may be a transition as the mandate becomes "less impactful."

Perry was in Davenport on Friday to meet with business and political officials. In an interview beforehand, he said although he believes in incentives, "I also think that there's a time that these incentives mature and that they can go away."

The Texas governor, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has long been a critic of the federal mandate, which requires that a certain amount of renewables be blended into the nation's fuel supply.

The Obama administration has proposed reducing the mandate, leading to vigorous opposition by Midwest agriculture groups and politicians.

Gov. Terry Branstad has said the administration's proposal would be devastating to Iowa's economy.

Perry, in a meeting with reporters and editors at the Quad-City Times, said that he thinks ethanol will continue to survive but that "there may be a transition period as the renewable fuel standard becomes a less impactful part of the industry."

He noted the development of wind energy in the state. Iowa ranks second only to Texas in wind energy.

"Cellulosic ethanol has a very bright future. I think ethanol is not going to go away. Does it play as an important role to the Iowa economy as it has in the past? I don't know that," he said. "What I feel comfortable saying is that a diversifying of the Iowa economy, which Terry Branstad is helping create, is very important as you go forward and to certainly not have all of our eggs in one basket energy-wise."

Perry, who will leave the Texas governor's office at the end of this year, also weighed in on the minimum wage debate.

Democrats have been attacking him for comments he made last week on the issue, saying Perry doesn't think there should be a minimum wage at all.

States can choose to have a minimum wage if they would like, Perry said Friday, but more time ought to be spent talking about tax and regulatory policy, the legal system and education. That, he said, is what leads to a better economy.

"I think this whole debate on trying to say you don't think the minimum wage is appropriate, no I don't think the minimum wage is appropriate for Washington, D.C., to be mandating to all these 50 laboratories of innovation. I don't. I think that is inappropriate for Washington," Perry said.

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Perry: 2014 has bearing on 2016

by Ed Tibbetts, Quad-City Times

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Friday he wouldn't speculate whether he'll run for president in 2016, but he did say if the Republicans don't win the Senate this year, it will have a "huge impact" on the next election cycle.

"I think 2016 hinges on 2014," Perry said in a meeting with reporters and editors at the Quad-City Times on the last of a two-day swing through Iowa.

Perry said he wants to help Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad win re-election this year, but he also noted there's a race for an open Senate seat in Iowa, too.

"Winning control of the United States Senate is going to have a huge impact on 2016, and so for me to tell you I've got a plan, I know what I'm going to do post-November the 7th of this year is, I mean I wouldn't even speculate for you because I don't know."

He said those decisions would come after he leaves office early next year.

Asked whether a person could take from his previous answer that if there were a Democrat-controlled Senate, he would be less than thrilled about proceeding, Perry replied:

"Yeah, I think it makes it harder for the Republican agenda to go forward if you still have (Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid blocking everything that's occurring. I don't think that's good for Iowa."

He added, however, he still wasn't speculating about how that might affect his own prospects for running for president.

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