Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler plans visit to Iowa State Fair next week

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, August 9, 2018

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will visit the Iowa State Fair next week, the governor’s office said Wednesday.

No details were immediately available about Wheeler’s schedule, said Brenna Smith, spokeswoman for Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Wheeler took over leadership of EPA a month ago, after former Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned amid spending and ethics investigations.

Iowa’s congressional delegation sent Wheeler a letter in July inviting Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, to visit Iowa to learn more about ethanol and biodiesel.


The state leads the nation in ethanol and biodiesel production.

Iowa’s delegation, led by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, had criticized Pruitt for undermining federal renewable fuel requirements.

The EPA determines how much biofuels must be blended in the U.S. fuel supply through the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Lawmakers said Pruitt has destroyed 2.25 billion gallons of biofuels demand by granting hardship waivers to dozens of refiners, including large corporations such as Marathon.

Ernst and Grassley said Pruitt, the former attorney general of oil-rich Oklahoma, was undermining President Trump’s commitment to ethanol.

In June, Ernst said Pruitt was “about as swampy as you get in Washington, D.C.”

“If the president wants to drain the swamp, he needs to look at his own cabinet,” Ernst said during an energy conference.

Reynolds and others are likely to push Wheeler to restore renewable fuel demand lost through the waivers.

And they will call for the EPA to allow for year-round use of fuel with 15 percent ethanol.

The EPA currently bans the higher ethanol blend, called E15, during the summer months over smog concerns.

“President Trump directed the EPA to allow for the sale of E-15 year round, but unfortunately, this hasn’t come to fruition,” Iowa lawmakers said in their letter to Wheeler.