Even some Republicans in Congress were applauding the resignation Thursday of EPA chief Scott Pruitt. They were ethanol defenders who said they hoped the removal of Pruitt and replacement by acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler would be better for the Renewable Fuel Standard.
GOP Sens. Chuck grassley and Joni Ernst of Iowa praised the resignation after they had called out Pruitt for the past several weeks for undermining the president’s promise to farms by mismanaging the EPA ethanol program in favor of oil refiners.
“Administrator Pruitt’s ethical scandals and his undermining of the President’s commitment to biofuels and Midwest farmers were distracting from the agency’s otherwise strong progress to free the nation of burdensome and harmful government regulations,” said Grassley in a statement. “Fewer things are more important for government officials than maintaining public trust. Administrator Pruitt, through his own actions, lost that trust.”
The ethanol industry applauded Pruitt’s departure saying he had hurt Trump’s relationship with the farming community through his management of the biofuels program.
“So, that sound you hear is a collective sigh of relief coming from the Midwest,” said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association. “We look forward to working with acting Administrator Andy Wheeler, whose long career focusing on policies that recognize economic growth and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive is not undermined by an unmistakable anti-ethanol, anti-farmer bias.”
The biofuels industry is suing the EPA over the controversy after Pruitt had issued more than two dozen “hardship” waivers to oil refineries, exempting them from having to blend ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply under the Renewable Fuel Standard.