Op-Ed: Pruitt backtrack on fuel standards troubles farmers

Source: By Roger Johnson, Wisconsin State Farmer • Posted: Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Only last week, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt repeated his calls for reform to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and signaled his agency would take a more conservative approach to setting RFS volume obligations each year.

The comments are a direct contradiction of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt’s own stated intent to administer the law—a significant economic pillar of farming and rural communities—as written.

Both President Trump and Administrator Pruitt, through the presidential campaign, through the administrator’s confirmation hearings, and through their first eight months in office, made it very clear that the administration believes in the importance of American made biofuels to rural communities.

They promised to follow the letter of the law and to protect the integrity of the RFS, which is to drive investment and growth in the American biofuels industry. American family farmers and ranchers lauded these promises because they, better than anyone else, recognize the economic and environmental benefits of homegrown biofuels to their communities and to consumers.

Yet over the past couple months, Administrator Pruitt has begun to backtrack on these promises, calling on Congress for reform and signaling that the EPA may begin to interpret the RFS law differently.

Any action towards these comments would fly directly in the face of the President’s and the administrator’s promises to farmers and rural Americans. We urge Administrator Pruitt to avoid similar comments that stand to undermine investment and growth in this important industry.

Roger Johnson is the President of the National Farmers Union