The ethanol dance: Credit Trump, blame Pruitt

Successful Farming - - Q A THE SUCCESSFUL INTERVIEW -

Corn Grow­ers called on the ad­min­is­tra­tion “to keep the pres­i­dent’s com­mit­ment to Amer­ica’s farm­ers and leave the RFS in­tact.”

Pres­i­dent Trump cam­paigned as a sup­porter of corn ethanol and he has stuck to that prom­ise, although Mid­west­ern law­mak­ers feel obliged to re­mind him of it dur­ing bu­reau­cratic in­fight­ing with EPA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Scott Pruitt. Sen­a­tor Joni Ernst (R-IA) called Pruitt “about as swampy as you get” in the days lead­ing to Trump’s re­jec­tion of a plan to ap­prove year­round sales of E15 and count ethanol ex­ports to­ward meet­ing the RFS.

“I did you a good fa­vor for the farm­ers yes­ter­day. Right? We love the farm­ers,” Trump told Ernst a day af­ter his de­ci­sion. Farm groups ap­plauded the out­come; the Corn Grow­ers called on the ad­min­is­tra­tion “to keep the pres­i­dent’s com­mit­ment to Amer­ica’s farm­ers and leave the RFS in­tact.” The Amer­i­can Coali­tion for Ethanol asked, “Where does that leave us to­day? The pres­i­dent has promised to al­low E15 year-round, but the EPA has failed to make good on his prom­ise.”

“Avoid­ing a loss at this point with a pro-oil guy like Pruitt, I con­sider a win,” said Sen­a­tor Charles Grass­ley (R-IA). The ethanol in­dus­try blames Pruitt, the for­mer state at­tor­ney gen­eral of Ok­la­homa, for in­dis­crim­i­nate is­suance of “hard­ship” waivers from the RFS for small-vol­ume re­finer­ies. He also pro­moted a cap on RINs prices last winter. Grass­ley says the key is­sue now is mak­ing sure EPA sets an air­tight ethanol man­date of 15 bil­lion gal­lons in 2019 “so we don’t get cheated like we did this year.”

Scott Pruitt

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