WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2017 – By the end of the week, one would expect EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to be fluent in pro-RFS Iowa vernacular.
On Wednesday morning, Pruitt as well as President Donald Trump both called Governor Kim Reynolds seeking to calm the turbulence brought about by EPA seeking public input on potentially lowering renewable fuel blending levels. This follows a meeting Tuesday afternoon between Pruitt and a handful of GOP senators, including Iowans Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.
Speaking with Agri-Pulse after the conversations, Reynolds said Trump “reiterated his support for the ethanol, biodiesel, and the renewable fuel industry.”
“I wanted to thank him for his commitment to the renewable fuel industry, and he indicated that he continues to support it,” she said.
Overall, Reynolds – who took the calls while wearing a lapel button that reads “Don’t mess with the RFS” – characterized the conversations with Trump and Pruitt as “constructive” and “positive.” She said she got into a little more detail with Pruitt, who leads the agency that will set biofuel blending targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
“He wanted to affirm his commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard, so I appreciated the outreach,” Reynolds said of her call with Pruitt. “Between the pressure that we’re continuing to apply, the pressure that’s being applied out in Washington D.C. by our two senators, we’ve I think gathered some attention.”
Reynolds said she'll continue the conversation in Washington next week through meetings with Pruitt and Vice President Mike Pence.
The administration has been on a damage control effort of sorts after the EPA issued a Notice of Data Availability in September that could lead to lowered biodiesel blending levels in upcoming RFS volume targets. The comment period on the NODA closes on Thursday.
Reynolds and three other Midwest governors sent a letter to Trump on Monday urging the president to “continue to fulfill your promises, to continue your support for all biofuels under the RFS, and to continue to put America first.”
The phone calls with Reynolds come after Pruitt’s meeting yesterday on Capitol Hill. After the meeting, Ernst said in a statement that Pruitt claimed “that he will not do anything to undermine the program. However, we have heard this before. We now need to see it.”
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