It was a very busy 4th of July news week in Washington compared to usual, and two of those news events were of special interest to American agriculture. The U.S. and China trade war ramped up Friday with tariff implementation by both countries, and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned. His resignation was accepted by President Trump and Pruitt leaves amid a number of ethics allegations.
Ethanol and corn industry leaders hailed his leaving.
American Coalition for Ethanol CEO Brian Jennings is hoping to work with Pruitt’s replacement and seeing that whoever’s in charge at the EPA follows the President’s policy on backing the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“EPA is responsible for carrying out the rule of the law when it comes to implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard,” he said. “EPA is responsible for allowing retailers to sell E15 to their customers year-round, and Administrator Pruitt simply was not following through on those very basic functions of his job.”
Geoff Cooper, Senior Vice President with the Renewable Fuels Association, was not surprised at Pruitt’s stepping down.
“We don’t see how we can do much worse than we had with Mr. Pruitt,” Cooper said. “He had been waging war against the RFS and really waging war against the farmers and rural Americans that had helped Donald Trump win the presidency, and so it isn’t surprising to us that this resignation happened. I guess we’re a little surprised it didn’t happen sooner.”
Cooper is looking forward to working with interim EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, who has been serving as Deputy EPA administrator.
South Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Lisa Richardson says corn growers and ethanol producers were hurt by Pruitt’s actions of handing out RFS waivers and not following the law.
“He had completely undermined the ethanol industry,” she said. “He was handing out waivers like candy. The last number I saw was 2.25 billion gallons of ethanol had been waived from the RFS. President Trump continues to talk about giving E15 full-year access, and these refiner waivers are just unacceptable.”
President Trump tweeted after accepting Pruitt’s resignation that, within the agency, “Scott has done an outstanding job and I will always be thankful to him for this.”
Source NAFB News