Senators discuss biofuels with Pruitt

By Erin Voegele | January 06, 2017

On Jan. 5, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, hosted a meeting with several Midwest senators and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, President-elect Trump’s nominee to serve as administrator of the U.S. EPA. Attendees include Sens. John Thune, R-S.D.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa’ Mike Rounds, R-S.D.; Deb Fischer, R-Neb.; Roy Blunt, R-Mo.; and Pat Roberts, R-Kan.

Grassley organized the meeting in order to convey the importance of biofuels to job creation, energy security, the environment and meeting the country’s energy needs. According to his office, Grassley has been disappointed in the Obama Administration’s lack of strong support in implementing the renewable fuel standard (RFS).

“We got a very positive response on Mr. Pruitt’s support not just for the RFS but more importantly, for the rule of law,” Grassley said. “The rule of law is that what Congress passed, the EPA is supposed to follow and not undermine it, the way the current administration has done with the RFS.   The purpose of the meeting was to convey the contributions that Iowa and other renewable energy-producing states contribute to the economy and otherwise.  From the standpoint of what President-elect Trump wants to accomplish, renewable energy supports a high number of jobs, 43,000 jobs in Iowa just with biofuels and another 7,000 jobs in wind energy.  We have to import less oil from the Mideast because we have a very vibrant ethanol industry.  As far as whether I’ll support the nomination, I tend to wait for nomination hearings before making up my mind.  We got a positive comment that the law’s going to be followed, and that’s very, very important.”

The National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, and the National Association of Convenience Stores has weighed in on the meeting. “NATSO, SIGMA, and NACS applaud Senators Grassley, Thune, Ernst, Rounds, Fischer, Blunt, and Roberts for their commitment to keeping fuel prices low for consumers and supporting a robust economy. We’re encouraged by their meeting with Scott Pruitt, President-elect Trump’s choice to run the EPA, that included ensuring the renewable fuel standard will continue to foster domestic energy independence and spur renewable energy use,” said the groups in a statement. “As the EPA weighs the status of the program this year, it is important to keep the compliance requirements for the renewable fuel standard with refiners and importers. It’s good for businesses that sell fuel and it’s good for consumers who buy it. Maintaining the current point of obligation would also make good on President-elect Trump’s campaign pledge to simplify the regulatory process, support rural America, and continue the progress made with the RFS.”