EPA under Wheeler fails to make good first impression with Senator Chuck Grassley

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siegle, Washington Examiner • Posted: Monday, July 16, 2018

The nation’s ethanol mandate continues to be a sticking point for the Environmental Protection Agency, even with former agency head Scott Pruitt out of the picture.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had a mixed review for the agency under Andrew Wheeler, Pruitt’s replacement.

Better late than never: First, Grassley thanked EPA’s air office for getting back to him on a letter he sent Pruitt almost four months ago to reveal the names of oil companies that EPA granted over two dozen ethanol waivers to. The waivers exempted certain refineries from having to buy expensive ethanol credits to meet the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Grassley has led the charge against the waiver program, which he has called out as illegal.

So, he wasn’t keen on air office chief Bill Wehrum’s polite denial of the information he sought.

‘Isn’t Acceptable’: “The idea that disclosing to Congress the names of waiver recipients somehow reveals confidential business information doesn’t make any sense and isn’t acceptable,” Grassley said in response to the letter. “I appreciate finally receiving a response within days of acting Administrator Wheeler taking the reins at EPA, but this non-answer is disappointing,” the Republican from Iowa said in a statement.

Denied: The letter from Wehrum said the information on those who sought waivers is confidential and cannot be disclosed.