Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley threatened to call for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to resign for “messing around” with aspects of the federal biofuels mandate.
Grassley said he’d call for Pruitt’s resignation if EPA did not honor President Donald Trump’s support for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on the campaign trail. Grassley was particularly incensed by EPA’s issuing of blending waivers to refineries.
“They better, or I’m going to be calling for Pruitt to resign because I’m done playing around with this,” Grassley said on a press call with agriculture reports Tuesday morning, invoking a Trump campaign promise to maintain statutory biofuel blending levels.
EPA has issued RFS compliance “hardship” waivers to more than two dozen refineries. The 2007 law allows EPA to issue waivers to refiners unduly burdened by the cost of blending ethanol.
Grassley recently led a group of 13 senators opposing EPA’s use of blending waivers, calling on the agency to stop issuing waivers. Lawmakers said EPA had improperly issued waivers to major refiners who did not qualify for them.
Iowa is a major beneficiary of EPA’s program that forces refiners to buy an ever-increasing amount of biofuels, including corn-based ethanol. Waivers mean less biofuels are purchased by refiners for blending into the fuel supply.
“Trump was elected with an agenda. Pruitt was not elected and Pruitt’s job to carry out Trump’s agenda,” Grassley said on the Tuesday press call. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Scott Pruitt’s Head Bodyguard Takes On The ‘False Dirty Laundry’ Being Spread About EPA [VIDEO])
The Trump administration is currently working with refiners and biofuels lobbyists to figure out a compromise on RFS blending. Refiners have increasingly called for RFS repeal or reform because of the massive financial costs those companies have to bear.
Should Grassley call for Pruitt to resign, he would be joining some of his Democratic colleagues who want the EPA head to step down over alleged overspending and ethics violations.
So far, 39 Senate Democrats have called on Pruitt to resign. No GOP senators have backed joined in calling for Pruitt to resign.