Growth Energy: Scott Pruitt owes answers to Wisconsin’s farmers and biofuel workers
Contact: Joshua Morby
Milwaukee, Wis. — Wisconsin’s ethanol industry is looking for answers from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt during his expected travel through neighboring farm communities in Kansas, South Dakota and Nebraska.
For the past month, Wisconsin’s biofuel industry has been working to educate policy makers, local officials and members of the media about the EPA’s unwillingness to take action to protect consumers and give Wisconsin cleaner-burning lower-cost options at the pump.
Pruitt is not expected to appear before the media, but agricultural stakeholders may be able to question the regulator about the EPA’s efforts to undercut U.S. biofuel consumption, a key source of demand for grain amid the five-year plunge in farm income.
As recently as last week, the administrator sought to advance regulatory changes targeting the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – changes the president rejected. In the spirit of opening a candid dialogue about the concerns of rural communities, Growth Energy suggested the following questions:
- Administrator Pruitt, President Trump committed to lifting EPA rules against year-round sales of E15, and you told him that you had the authority to make it happen. This change would reduce Renewable Identification Number (RIN) prices, promote rural growth, and lower fuel costs for drivers. Why didn’t the EPA provide relief this summer, leaving consumers without affordable fuel options with gas prices on the rise?
- Administrator Pruitt, an estimated 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol demand have been destroyed by your EPA’s ‘small’ refinery waivers – including some to the world’s largest oil companies. As required by law, how do you ensure 15 billion gallons of blending despite the incredible increase in waivers granted by your EPA?
- How will you commit to protecting total biofuel targets from now on, including 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol, against any future waivers that undercut statutory goals that President Trump promised to uphold?
- Farm income has plunged 52 percent, while refinery profits are surging. How much more income must farmers lose before the EPA acts on the president’s E15 pledge and sets aside other efforts to destroy biofuel demand?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue, along with Midwest lawmakers, farm groups, and rural champions across the heartland said your export scheme would destroy demand for billions of gallons of ethanol -- dispelling misinformation from refiners. Why did you ignore Secretary Perdue and force the president to kill the proposal?