Praises for Pruitt on RFS, but Grassley holds off endorsement
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, praised Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, but said he would hold off on whether to support Pruitt until his confirmation hearing is held.
“We got a very positive response on Mr. Pruitt’s support not just for the RFS but, more importantly, for the rule of law,” Grassley said following a meeting he had organized.
“The rule of law is that what Congress passed, the EPA is supposed to follow and not undermine it, the way the current administration has done with the RFS,” he continued. “The purpose of the meeting was to convey the contributions that Iowa and other renewable energy-producing states contribute to the economy and otherwise. From the standpoint of what President-elect Trump wants to accomplish, renewable energy supports a high number of jobs, 43,000 jobs in Iowa just with biofuels and another 7,000 jobs in wind energy.
“We have to import less oil from the Mideast because we have a very vibrant ethanol industry,” Grassley added. “As far as whether I’ll support the nomination, I tend to wait for nomination hearings before making up my mind. We got a positive comment that the law’s going to be followed, and that’s very, very important.”
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said in a news release that Pruitt intends to follow the law on the RFS but that she talked to Pruitt about a wide range of EPA issues affecting rural America, DTN/Progressive Farmer reported.
“I greatly appreciate Mr. Pruitt’s time today to visit about a number of important issues to Iowans, from scrapping the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, to our state’s wind energy industry, to upholding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in accordance with congressional intent,” she said.
“In regards to RFS, it is imperative that the law is followed. I received assurances from Mr. Pruitt that he intends to do so, and I will hold him to that commitment. I was pleased to hear that President-elect Trump made it clear to Mr. Pruitt that he cares about the RFS. Mr. Pruitt told me in our meeting that the role of the EPA is to enforce the law as written by Congress, and not undermine the RFS.”
Meanwhile, a coalition of groups that do not want EPA to change what’s known under the Renewable Fuel Standard as the “point of obligation” to use renewable fuels from the refiners and importers to rack sellers urged the Trump administration not to make any change.
The National Association of Truck Stop Operators (NATSO), the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America (SIGMA) and the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) said, “As the EPA weighs the status of the program this year, it is important to keep the compliance requirements for the renewable fuel standard with refiners and importers. It’s good for businesses that sell fuel, and it’s good for consumers who buy it. Maintaining the current point of obligation would also make good on President-elect Trump’s campaign pledge to simplify the regulatory process, support rural America, and continue the progress made with the RFS.”
EPA has denied petitions from Valero Energy and the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers to make the change, but has extended the comment period to February 16.
–The Hagstrom Report