Grassley, Ernst to meet with Pruitt on ethanol

Source: By ED TIBBETTS, The Courier • Posted: Thursday, October 5, 2017

DAVENPORT — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will meet with farm state lawmakers over concerns about the future of the Renewable Fuel Standard, officials said Tuesday.

President Donald Trump asked Pruitt to schedule a meeting after speaking with Sen. Chuck Grassley on Friday, according to the Iowa Republican’s office.

Advocates for the renewable fuels industry, as well as Grassley and other legislators, have been upset since the EPA raised the idea last week it might lower required levels of advanced biofuels for 2018 — and that it could count exports of traditional ethanol toward meeting the mandate. The renewable fuels industry objected on both counts.

Officials have complained the changes would do “severe harm.” And on Tuesday, a range of biofuel advocates wrote to the president. Among other complaints, they said the export proposal and the possibility of making biofuel imports ineligible for the RFS “would serve no purpose other than to paralyze growth in U.S biofuel markets.”

Trump pledged during the 2016 election campaign he would support renewable fuels. But Pruitt, who is a former attorney general in Oklahoma, has been a critic of the RFS in the past.

Pruitt is scheduled to meet Oct. 17 with Grassley, Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Nebraska, Grassley’s office said.

Before Pruitt was confirmed, Grassley and Ernst said they had been reassured when meeting with him he would follow the law. And over the weekend, Ernst said in Davenport while she still believes Pruitt is the right person for the job, she would hold him accountable. “We will hold his feet to the fire, just as we did with the former EPA administrator, Gina McCarthy,” she said.

The EPA said last week that nothing had been finalized and it was seeking input from stakeholders.