Apr 13, 2022
Biden addresses infrastructure while at an ethanol plant in Iowa 4/12/22 Transcript
Biden addresses infrastructure while at an ethanol plant in Iowa 4/12/22. Read the transcript here.
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Speaker 1: (00:00)
… funds on fossil fuels and brings down prices for Iowa families. President Biden knows that ethanol, which is created right here at POET Bio-processing, is significantly cheaper at the pump, reduces our carbon emissions and provides good paying jobs like right here at POET in Menlo. And so the president is here to support that. And so I’m so immensely grateful for the president’s work in upholding the renewable fuel standard and keeping biofuel production going strong. And I’m thankful for all the investments President Biden has made in Iowa in his time in office. Everyone needs to know how much that is. Iowa, as we know has more structurally deficient bridges than any other state in the nation. And thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we’ve already received $650 million in new funding for roads and bridges. And over the next five years, Iowa is expected to receive more than $5 billion from the Infrastructure Investment Act, which help to expand the Des Moines Airport, repair pesky potholes, and make sure that bridges can bear enough weight so our farmers can get their goods to market. And we’re also getting poisonous lead out of our drinking water and so much more right here in Iowa. And I’m so proud to be a part of that. I’m really proud to have supported these investments that will help keep Iowa happy and healthy, and to make sure that we, right here in Iowa have a fair shot at the 21st century economy. And I’m excited to see the impact that these investments will have in our great state. Thank you all again so much for coming out here today and thank you, President Biden for your leadership. With that, I’m going to turn it over to two wonderful people: Rachel Connor, who is the grain merchandiser here at POET and Joe Biden, president of the United States of America.
Rachel Connor: (02:47)
It’s really great to be here with all of you today. My name is Rachel Connor and I’m a grain merchandiser here at the POET, Menlo location. What that means is that I help purchase all of the grain in the bins from nearby farmers. And it’s truly the honor of a lifetime to welcome President Joe Biden and all of our distinguished guests to POET today. I am a fifth generation farmer who was born and raised right here in Iowa. I’ve spent countless hours on the farm, driving a tractor and many more in college and grad school studying agronomy. These days, I drive nearly 100 miles round trip to work here at POET, where we make plant-based biofuels, nutritious feed and a growing number of renewable co-products. I’m excited to be part of a company and an industry that’s doing its part to make the world a better place. Since I’ll be headed back home about 50 miles tonight, you can bet that I’ll be fueling up with E15.
Rachel Connor: (03:59)
And come June 1st, I hope to keep saving money with E15. Many of you may recall when President Biden campaigned here in Iowa, he promised to support biofuels, grow green jobs and cultivate a low carbon economy. Today, America’s battling Putin’s price hike and Mr. President, I can tell you, our nation’s entire bio-fuels industry stands ready to help. So ladies and gentlemen, let’s give a warm Iowa welcome to President Joe Biden.
Joe Biden: (04:36)
Be careful driving home tonight.
Rachel Connor: (04:42)
Joe Biden: (04:42)
Thank you very, very much. Now it’s not as campaign here and I made that commitment, I don’t think anybody heard it, but we’re back. My name is Joe Biden, I work for Congresswoman Axne. There she is. I learned a long time ago when she says, “I have a,” I just say yes. I say yes, right off the bat. I’ll tell you what, she is one hell of a champion for you. I mean it. You ask anyone, if you ever come to Washington, walk into the Congress and say, “You know anybody from Iowa?” First thing they’ll say, they’ll mention her name. Anyway, thank you. Thank you for your friendship. To start, I’d like to say a few words about the mass shooting in New York city Subway this morning, you’ve all read and heard about. My wife, Jill and I are praying for those who are injured and all those touched by that trauma. And we’re grateful for all the first responders who jumped in to action, including civilians. Civilians, who didn’t hesitate to help their fellow passenger and try to shield them. My team has been in touch with Mayor Adams and New York’s police commissioner and the department of justice and the FBI are working closely with the NYPD on the ground. We’re going to continue to stay in close contact with New York authorities. And as we learn more about the situation over the coming hours and days, and something could have broken between now and the last hour, I haven’t heard the news. I haven’t spoken to my staff, but we’re not letting up on it until we find out and we find the perpetrator.
Joe Biden: (06:22)
Now, to the reason I’m here today. I want to thank you, Rachel. And thank you Congresswoman Axne. When you hear about progress we’re making in Iowa on everything from bio-fuels to bridges, you can thank Cindy. That’s what you should know, I’m not joking. There is no fence at the White House high enough to keep her out. None. All kidding aside, Cindy, you’re doing one heck of a job. Thank you so much. I also want to say, especially the load to someone who really wanted to be here today, and you think I’m kidding. He started, he’s the guy that brought me to the first bio-fuel plant in Iowa years ago. Your former governor and Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be here today. He went to a press event in Washington and like two thirds of the people who went, I think they got COVID, he’s doing fine. Spoke to him, but he couldn’t be here.
Joe Biden: (07:24)
But I’m here today to talk about the work we’re doing to lower cost for American families and put rural America at the center of our efforts to build a future that’s made in America. And that’s not hyperbole. It’s about being made in America. A lot of that has to do with this industry. I just had a chance to see the work you do here and turn more than 40 million bushels of local corn into 130 million gallons of ethanol a year. That’s a lot of gallons. We want to see facilities like this all over the Midwest, and here’s why. First, it supports farmers and the farm economy. Everybody thinks Delaware is a big industrial state and banking state in DuPont.
Joe Biden: (08:09)
We have a $4 billion industry, it’s called agriculture in Delaware. And it’s mostly, we have more chickens in Delaware, broiler chickens and you have in the entire Midwest, I think. But all kidding aside, it is a big industry in Delaware. And my state, everybody thinks is an industrial state. It’s a very rural state, the largest city outside of the main city of Wilmington, Delaware is a couple, almost 150,000 people is 20,000 people. It’s a rural state. And so we understand about getting the rural communities engaged and being able to make it generally and all that corn in the silos is from farmers within 60 miles of here. Knowing you have a buyer, gives farmers something they don’t often have, peace of mind, certitude about where their product can be sold and to get a fair price for it.
Joe Biden: (09:03)
… certitude about where their product can be sold and to get a fair price for it. Second, it creates good paying jobs. It’s estimated there are over 400,000 jobs directly and indirectly supported by this industry nationwide. There’s a lot of people, that’s a lot, and a lot of paychecks and good decent paychecks. Third, reduces our reliance on foreign oil. By adding this fuel to our gasoline, 10% or 15%, even more stretches the supply. And fourth, it gives you a choice at the pump. When you have a choice, you have competition. When you have competition, you have better prices. And in addition to all of that, you get less harm to the environment, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and you get even byproducts like grain here which goes into animal feed and which helps cattle producers and lowers their costs. This is an industry with a tremendous future. I’ve set a goal of zero carbon for aviation sector, for example, by 2050, I’ve spoken with the leading heads of all major airlines. It’s going to require billions of gallons of sustainable aviation fuel. And you simply can’t get to net zero by 2050 without biofuels.
Joe Biden: (10:20)
Aviation is in the case where you blend in a little bit of biofuel. It’s where it’s called drop in, meaning 100% biofuel. You don’t need to take my word for it. Take the word of the CEO of American Airlines who said, “Sustainable aviation fuel is the cornerstone of our strategy.” And the CEO of United airlines who call the first biofuel powered flight, “A significant milestone for our efforts to decarbonize our industry.” To bring that future within reach, I proposed a sustainable aviation fuel tax that we brought together. The governments, the agencies, aircraft manufacturers, airlines, fuel producers, airports, advance cleaner and more sustainable fuels for American aviation. That’s how we’re going to get there. And we can. We’re in the cusp of so many significant things that are going to happen in this country, not just in the fuel side, but in the next 10 years.
Joe Biden: (11:24)
Your children are going to have seen more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the last 40 years. That’s how rapidly technology is changing. So this industry has a role to play in a sustainable energy future. But I’m here today because homegrown biofuels have a role to play right now, right now, as we work to get prices under control and reduce the cost for families.
Joe Biden: (11:51)
Look, I grew up in a family, not a joke, where if the price of the gallon of gasoline went up, it was a conversation at our kitchen table. It mattered. It mattered with my mom and dad, it made a difference. We felt it. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up gas prices and food prices all over the world. The two largest grand producers in the world, Ukraine and Russia are not doing what they usually do, so everything’s going up. We saw today’s inflation data. 70% of the increase in prices in March came from Putin’s price hike in gasoline. We need to address this challenge with an urgency that it demands. That’s why I’ve called on Congress to move immediately lower the cost of families’ utility bills, prescription drug bills, and more while lowering the deficit to reduce inflationary pressures. And that’s what we’ve done. We lowered the deficit by $300 billion so far, and it’s expected… So folks, we can do these things without raising a penny and tax on anybody in this hall. Yeah. In this giant barn.
Joe Biden: (13:06)
Look, it’s going to make a big difference for families. You know, and it’s the most impactful way that Congress can address inflation right now. But even as we work with Congress, I’m not going to wait to take action to help American families. Doing everything within my power, by executive orders, to bring down the price and address the Putin price hike. In fact, we’ve already made progress since March inflation data was collected. Your family budget, your ability to fill up your tank. None of it should hinge on whether a dictator declares war and commits genocide and a half a world away. To help deal with this Putin price hike I’ve authorized release of 1 million barrels per day for the next six months from our strategic petroleum reserve. This is by far the largest release of our national reserve in history. It’s a wartime bridge to increase oil supply, as we work with US oil producers to ramp up their production this year. Coordinated release with partners and allies around the world.
Joe Biden: (14:09)
I’ve spent hours and hours with my counterparts around the world, trying to get them in on the deal. And shortly after I made the announcement, over 30 countries agreed to release another 60 million additional barrels out the market. Over 240 million barrels over the next six months is the bridge to be able to make sure we are going to be able to keep prices down. This is the largest collective reserve release in history. Hundreds of hours of meetings with key allies, keeping them together is paying off. Putin was counting on the division of NATO, the division of the European Union, the division of the world.
Joe Biden: (14:46)
Well, we spent a lot of time, but they’re all following, every single one, including in Asia, South Korea, Japan, Australia, all of them. Nations coming together to help deny putting the ability to weaponize his energy resources against American families, families in Europe and around the world.
Joe Biden: (15:05)
And by the way, we’re also cutting off access to technology for him. Without American technology… Look at the number of major American companies, on their own, not of my urging, over 600 of them, from Exxon to McDonald’s have left Russia. He has a burning Tundra, literally. It’s burning. Permafrost is burning. He’s got a problem, we’re not going to let him cause that problem to spread to the rest of the world.
Joe Biden: (15:40)
And that helps stop the run up of oil prices that have begun to bring prices down a little bit. As a result, countries acting together to release these reserves. And America should be seeing the savings, and we’re not just learning and leaning on our reserves and our allies and partners to help bring down the gas price, and to power of the nation. We’re leaning on you, our farmers, our biofuel refiners.
Joe Biden: (16:05)
Today, I’m announcing that the Environmental, and I don’t think it’s much of an announcement, it’s already broken out pretty much the last 24 hours. But the Environmental Protection Agency is planning to issue an emergency waiver to allow E15 gasoline that uses more ethanol from homegrown crops to be sold across the United States this summer in order to increase fuel supply. I feel like, as a minister and I feel like I’m preaching to the choir here. But here’s what it means. E15 is about 25 cents a gallon cheaper than E10, and some gas stations offer an even bigger discount than that. But many of the gas stations that sell it here in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, are required to stop selling in the summer. But with this waiver on June 1, you’re not going to show up at your local gas station and see a bag over the pump that has the cheapest gas. You’re going to be able to keep filling up with E 15. And it’s going to solve a whole problem.
Joe Biden: (17:26)
It’s not going to solve all our problems, but it’s going to help some people. And I’m committed to doing whatever I can to help. Even if it’s an extra buck or two in the pockets they fill up, it’ll make a difference in people’s lives. And even though E15 is only available in a few thousand pumps today, we’re investing more than $100 million to build biofuel infrastructure of the future. Things like blender pumps, the gas pumps that can handle higher blends of bio-ethanol and diesel fuel. Of course, there’s more we need to do to bring down the prices for American families. Also working to address food prices.
Joe Biden: (18:03)
For American families. Also, working to address food prices because right now farmers aren’t getting a fair deal, nationwide, and neither are families at the grocery store. Back in July, I signed an executive order to promote competition, to help level the playing field for many family farmers and ranchers, because as many of you here know, better than anyone, that four big companies control more than half the market for beef, pork, and poultry, giving ranchers very few choices about who to sell to get their product. These big conglomerates drive down prices they pay farmers, and as they drive up prices at the grocery store. So we’re investing up to $1 billion in American rescue funds for new and expanded meat and poultry processing capacity throughout this country.
Joe Biden: (18:52)
And this is something I’ve talked about with Brent Johnson, who is here today. We’re going to invest in innovative new products and processors, small businesses, independent businesses, the lifeblood of our economy. It’s going to give farmers and ranchers more options to shore up a weak point in our food supply chain and bring down prices for American families. I’ve said it before, and I say it again, “I’m a capitalist.” But without competition it isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation, exploitation. And bringing down the historic economic progress, reducing cost for families also requires investing in infrastructure.
Joe Biden: (19:41)
My introducer is going to drive home 50 miles. I got to make sure of the thousands of bridges in this state and around the country that aren’t safe, I hope you’re not going over some of them. And that starts with roads and bridges, it really does. As Cindy’s pointed out, Iowa has more bridges than any other state in the nation that are classified as structurally deficient. 4,500 are in poor condition. And here’s the reason why Cindy’s work in infrastructure law was so important, about two thirds of the bridges in need of repair in this country are considered off system because they’re not directly on the interstate highway system.
Joe Biden: (20:20)
And back in January, I was supposed to speak in Pittsburgh, which I did, at a steel mill, but on the way there a bridge collapsed in the city. That’s what most people don’t realize, it’s called the city of bridges. There’s more bridges in Pittsburgh than any other city in America. And that morning I got there, it collapsed, we went straight to the site. The bridge had been [raining 00:20:48] in poor condition for the law last 10 years. Thank God, nobody died. It was about, I’m guessing, maybe 300 yards across a little bit of a valley and a shallow creek. And the steepest part, from the bridge to this creek, was probably about eight or 10 stories.
Joe Biden: (21:11)
And it was a snow day. And that bridge, if it weren’t a snow day would’ve had, at the moment it went down, school buses with hundreds of kids going to across that bridge. This stuff matters. I mean, it really matters. I was telling Cindy, back then I was in a small town in Western Pennsylvania, and they needed a bridge, but the bridge was half the length of this room. And guess what? The fire station was on one side and the town was on the other. But because they couldn’t take the fire trucks across that bridge because they were afraid it would collapse, they had to go, if I’m not mistaken, it’s either 10 or 11 miles, five and a half miles up and five and a half miles back, to get there. And they had a fire, and they couldn’t get there in time. Just across, they could see it, it was literally maybe 500 yards away, and they couldn’t do anything about it.
Joe Biden: (22:12)
These bridges are essential for small towns in my state, and your towns, and rural areas, for farmers to get their products to market, for small business to be able to serve their customers. These are bridges that when they’re closed, shifts off delivery, and routes to schools, and routes home, it takes a lot longer. They create longer delays for first responders, when every second counts. And Cindy can cite it for you. The statistics are, you get in an accident in a rural area, you have about a 40% greater chance of dying than you do if it happens in the city, it just simply takes longer to get to the hospital, longer to get to the doc.
Joe Biden: (22:57)
So with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, we included $ 27.5 billion for smaller bridges, including dedicated funding for off system bridges. And folks, look, we used to be rated the number one of infrastructure in the world. We’re now number eight, United States of America, the United States of America. And folks, here in Iowa, our bipartisan infrastructure law is delivering $93 million for those bridges, just this year, 93 million. At least 14 million for off system bridges this year. Look, this investment’s going to help connect entire towns and regions to new opportunities. We’ve gone from waiting for infrastructure week, now you got infrastructure decade. 10 years, 10 years. And we owe it to you.
Joe Biden: (24:02)
Look, it’s going to help workers get jobs, good paying jobs. Products get to market, and reduce cost for families. With this investment, we’re sending a message to America’s small communities and the people who call this home, “You matter, you matter. We see you.” Not a joke, and we’re building back with you, we’re making sure you’re not left out, or left behind. We’re also investing in universal affordable high speed internet. I was surprised at this number, I have to tell you, 16% of Iowa households don’t of an internet subscription. In some places there’s no high speed internet infrastructure at all, zero in this state.
Joe Biden: (24:47)
And the law will make high speed internet affordable and available everywhere in Iowa. And think of what that will make possible, from telemedicine, to precision agriculture, to small businesses that want to be able to sell in bigger markets. In the 21st century, in America, no parent ever should have to pull into McDonald’s or a fast food chain to literally hook up to the internet in their car, so their kid could do their homework online. Think about that, United States of America, we’re the guys that came up with all this stuff. Our infrastructure law invests in clean water and wastewater systems, including a major investment in Lewis & Clark rural water system, to bring clean and reliable drinking water to more than 350,000 people in South Dakota, to Minnesota, to Northwest Iowa. It matters. It matters of the health, it matters the convenience, it matters across the board.
Joe Biden: (25:43)
We’re investing in ports and waterways, including over $700 million for a Lock & Dam Project 25 on the Mississippi. You say, “What does that have to do with me?” That has a lot to do with y’all, because nearly every bushel of soybean and corn that is transported on that river from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin goes through the locks, and they were built in the 1930s. Barges often need to be split in smaller groups to make it through, taking hours and sometimes greater delays. With new modern locks we’re going to help farmers get their products to market faster, more efficiently, lower costs, and keep American agriculture globally competitive.
Joe Biden: (26:27)
Folks, the list goes on, I’m starting to bore myself here, but this is important stuff. I think. In fact, members of my administration and I will be visiting rural America in over 25 states over the next three weeks to talk about how we can do even more to create jobs and opportunity, to make sure that the investments we’re making reach rural communities, buy from rural businesses, create jobs here at home, giving your young people the opportunity to make a living and raise a family in a place where they were raised and where they-
Joe Biden: (27:03)
To make a living and raise a family in a place where they were raised and where they want to stay. I want to ask people, I know no woman is over 50 years of age here, but the men are over 50. How many times have you had a son or daughter, niece or nephew say, “I don’t want to move, but I have to. There’s no job here. I don’t have a chance here.” We’re changing that. Let me close with this. When I was running for office, I heard it a thousand times. “We’re going to build an economy around you, the communities who feed and fuel our nation, where we are, we are. We’re going to deal in people and places that have been left out and left behind for a long time are making progress.” Over the course of my presidency, our recovery has now created 7.9 million jobs in almost 14 months.
Joe Biden: (28:07)
More jobs created over the first 14 months of any president in American history. And in 2021, our economy created more jobs in rural America than occurred in the last 15 years. So I’m more optimistic about American days than I’ve been in my whole life. And my doc, I had an aneurysm when I was much younger and I was put in the hospital. I was a Senator. And he started explaining to me what an aneurysm was. I said, “I don’t need to know.” He said, “I’m just going to take the top of your head off and do something with it.” And I said, “No, you do your job. I’ll do mine. I’ll be the patient.” And after it all over, he said, “You know what your problem is Senator?” I was a Senator. And I said no. He said, “You’re a congenital optimist.” And I am because I’m an American. That’s why I’m optimistic. Because I see a future that’s within our grasp. No hyperbole. We’re the only nation on earth.
Joe Biden: (29:03)
This is not pure chauvinism. This is the truth. We’re the only nation on earth, if you think about it, that’s come out of every major crisis stronger than when we went in. We just didn’t build back to where we were. We came out stronger. Stronger, literally. Every major crisis. We faced, we turned into an opportunity. That’s exactly what we’re going to do today with all of you. I can’t thank you enough for your all the work you put in, all the faith you have in your state and your community and your country. And I just want to say, God bless you all. And every time I walk out of my grandpa, Finnegan’s house up in [inaudible 00:29:46], which died when Cole died, it’s coming back. Every time I walked out the door, he would yell, “Joey, keep the faith.” And then my grandmother and my aunt would yell, “No Joey. Spread it.” Let’s go spread the faith. Thank you very much. Thank you, thank you, thank you.