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How the Farm Belt Pressured Trump and Beat the Oil Industry

  • Midwestern politicians used leverage to halt biofuel changes
  • Trump told EPA’s Pruitt to keep Iowa Senator Grassley happy
Non-GMO corn is emptied from a truck at a storage site in Malden, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Corn exports by the U.S., the biggest producer, are running 28 percent behind last year's pace as a stronger dollar entices buyers to go elsewhere for cheaper supply.

Non-GMO corn is emptied from a truck at a storage site in Malden, Illinois, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015. Corn exports by the U.S., the biggest producer, are running 28 percent behind last year's pace as a stronger dollar entices buyers to go elsewhere for cheaper supply.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
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Farm-state interests just conquered Big Oil in a fight over biofuels, proving that in Donald Trump’s Washington, King Corn still reigns. 

The clash erupted over the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a 12-year-old law that compels the use of fuels such as corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel. Although the president had repeatedly promised Midwest voters he would "protect" ethanol and support the program, his Environmental Protection Agency was considering steps to dilute the mandate.