Where Does Kasich Stand On Ethanol?

  • Wednesday, 10 February 2016 14:32

Following the New Hampshire primary, the spotlight has now shifted to Ohio Governor, John Kasich, who finished with the second number of votes in the yesterday's GOP primary. As the race for the Republican nomination heats up, we take look at where Kasich stands on the RFS and ethanol.

John Kasich

Photo credit : John Kasich's Official Facebook Page

First, it's worth noting that this isn't the first time Kasich has made a run for President. He made his first run back in 2000 when he was serving Ohio's 12th Congressional District in Congress. 

According to a report from the Associated Press, Kasich said this about ethanol in 1999 :

"I'm not against ethanol, but I'm not for any subsidies."

One should recall that the comment above was made six years before the RFS was passed in Congress and eight years before the law was expanded under EISA and annual consumption targets were established.

Nonetheless, since 1999, Kasich seems to have learned a bit more about the importance of the RFS (although he still insisted it was subsidy). In June last year, prior to launching his second presidential bid, he said the following in Iowa : 

"I don't know much about the Renewable Fuel Standard and what all that means, but we have it in Ohio and I've never supported that (ethanol) subsidy. But I'm not there to shut it down and put a bunch of people out of work in my state."

Later in December, according to the video below from America's Renewable Future, Kasich seemed to have a (somewhat) better understanding of the RFS and finally concluded that it is not a subsidy.

"We're just to let all that is in place last until what is it, year '22? Okay and I have to tell you, when I was in Congress I was not for ethanol subsidies. I fought them and I lost. (Rep. Chuck) Grassley was smarter than me.

"But then when I became governor, we have ethanol in our state and we have many people that work in ethanol. So, we have to be careful, and this is why, I'm not going to fix it by putting people out of work.

"And the subsidies don't exist anymore. It's just part of that mix. And as far as I'm concerned it's fine. Let it stay the way it is."


But based on the comments above, it's clear that Kasich isn't one of the biggest RFS supporters in the current presidential race nor does he clearly understand all the benefits of the law besides the fact that it creates and supports jobs. But at the very least, his position on the RFS has evolved over time which is encouraging.

On another note, in 2015, Kasich's administration received $3.38 million from the USDA under the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program to install 41 blender pumps in the state. If you recall, the USDA requires states to match the federal grants they receive and the purpose of the BIP program is to increase the number E15 and E85 stations nationwide.