Trump nominates Pruitt to lead the EPA

By Erin Voegele | December 07, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to serve as administrator of the U.S. EPA. His nomination is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

While Pruitt has been criticized for his views on climate change, representatives of the bioenergy industry noted they look forward to working with him to expand the production of biofuels and bioenergy in the U.S.

Pruitt has served as attorney general of Oklahoma since November 2010. Prior to his election as attorney general, Pruitt served eight years in the Oklahoma senate. His biography posted to the Oklahoma Office of Attorney General website states he is a “leading advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” Pruitt has been criticized by the environmental community for being a climate change denier and has fought implementation of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

The Biomass Power Association responded to Pruitt’s nomination. “During Scott Pruitt's time in the Oklahoma Legislature, he supported the development of alternative energy sources, including biomass,” said Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of the BPA. “We look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt on sensible climate regulations that promote the growth of abundant domestic energy sources like biomass power. “

Growth Energy, has also spoken out in response to Pruitt’s nomination. “We congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his nomination and look forward to working with him to carry out President-elect Trump’s strong commitments to protecting the renewable fuel standard and ending restrictions to getting more ethanol into our fuel supply,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “America’s ethanol industry worked hard to help bring President-elect Trump to the White House and continues to support his dedication to ensuring home-grown domestic energy security.”

The American Coalition for Ethanol noted Pruitt’s record is of concern, but cautioned against overreacting. “We are disappointed that as the Oklahoma Attorney General, Mr. Pruitt opposed EPA’s approval of E15 and criticized the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS),” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of ACE. “While his record is cause for concern, there are a few reasons not to overreact to his expected nomination to serve as administrator of the EPA.  First, Mr. Pruitt’s boss will be President Trump, who promised to strongly support the RFS during his campaign.  Second, as part of the confirmation process, we expect several Senators of both parties to forcefully educate Mr. Pruitt about the importance of ethanol to the rural states they represent. Third, if confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Mr. Pruitt will be bound to carry out the law of the land, meaning EPA must continue implementing the RFS.  Hopefully we can work with EPA to also provide regulatory relief in the form of RVP fairness for E15.”

The National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America expressed hope that Pruitt will maintain the current point of obligation under the renewable fuels standard (RFS). “NATSO, NACS and SIGMA congratulate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on his nomination as EPA administrator and look forward to working with him on a broad spectrum of issues, including the renewable fuel standard,” said the groups. “As Pruitt evaluates the status of the renewable fuel standard, we hope that he will take into consideration that a majority of the fuel industry, including most refiners, is united on keeping the point of obligation where it stands. This level of broad agreement in the industry is unprecedented. Changing the point of obligation would be bad for the economy and bad for the gas-buying public.”