Will ethanol tip the balance?

Source: By Kelsey Tamborrino, Politico • Posted: Friday, June 15, 2018

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s conservative support is wavering, but it could be his handling of biofuels policy that ends up being his downfall. The scandal-plagued administrator — who most recently came under fire for having one of his aides help his wife in her job search — will continue his trek across red, Trump-backed states today, with a stop in Nebraska. The administrator’s tour this week seems to signal his recognition that he needs to improve his standing with farmers, Pro’s Eric Wolff reports, who are angry over his changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

With stops already in Kansas and South Dakota behind him, Pruitt has faced his fair share of protest from corn-state farmers that have nothing to do with the various ethical and fiscal controversies swirling in Washington. Instead, farmers say Pruitt is taking money out of their pockets by weakening federal rules mandating the use of the biofuels that President Donald Trump promised to support. “Pruitt needs to follow through with what the President promised to Iowans, and if he can’t, then we need to find someone who will,” GOP Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a statement.

Republicans on the ground say it may be too late for Pruitt to save himself. “My personal opinion is farmers are demanding accountability and I think that Mr. Pruitt probably is a dead man walking,” said Dane Hicks, the GOP chairman in Anderson County, Kansas, where Pruitt stopped on Tuesday. “I can’t imagine he rebounds from this in any way to salvage his position. I would expect his resignation soon.”