Gov. Reynolds: Conversation with Trump on RFS was ‘constructive’

Source: By Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, October 19, 2017

PELLA, Ia. — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday she had a “very constructive” phone call with President Donald Trump about preserving a federal mandate that requires ethanol and biodiesel to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

“He made it clear that he stood with the Renewable Fuel Standard,” Reynolds said at a press conference in Pella.

She and industry leaders voiced their concern that the Environmental Protection Agency, headed by Administrator Scott Pruitt, has taken action to potentially undermine the RFS.

After the EPA proposed ethanol and biodiesel levels in July, the agency in October began seeking comments about the possibility of cutting 2018 and 2019 biodiesel levels.

“President Trump has a decision to make,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. “He can take action to put the EPA back on track with his view of renewable fuels. He’s always been very consistent that he wants renewable fuels to be part of his America First energy plan. Or, if he sat back, it would essentially allow the EPA to systematically dismantle the RFS. Now, one path leads to hope for the heartland. And one path would lead to a breach of trust that I don’t think would be easily repaired.”

Iowa is the nation’s leading producer of corn ethanol, and its political leaders have sprung into action in an effort to convince both Trump — who campaigned on a promise of protecting the RFS — and his EPA to abandon any potential cuts.

Reynolds spoke with Trump and Pruitt by phone Wednesday, and Iowa senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both Republicans, also have lobbied the president.

“They are feeling the pressure,” Reynolds said. “And that’s why we need to keep it up. We can’t let down. We need to continue to talk about the importance and why it’s necessary to show growth, to stand behind a robust renewable fuel standard.”

Reynolds declined to say whether she asked Trump to intervene with the EPA, and she said neither he nor Pruitt made any promises the RFS would not be cut.

However, Bloomberg on Wednesday afternoon cited anonymous sources in a report that White House officials have directed the EPA to abandon its proposals related to the RFS.