WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement on Bill Wehrum, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) nominee to be Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, which directly oversees the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):
“Not long after coming to Congress, I learned the major impact the EPW Committee can have on Iowa. EPW has jurisdiction over the EPA, whose regulations and programs are critical to our state, chief among them the RFS. As the only Iowan on the committee, and with the 11 Republican, 10 Democrat split, one vote can be the difference.
“Mr. Wehrum was nominated to lead the Office of Air and Radiation which oversees the RFS. When he appeared before the committee, I questioned him about how he will uphold the spirit and the letter of this law. Following his confirmation hearing, I expressed concern with the answers he gave, and told the committee I wasn’t comfortable supporting him at that time due to his answers and recent actions by the EPA which had the potential to weaken or undermine the RFS.
“Over the last few weeks, my staff and I have had many conversations with the White House and Administrator Pruitt where I expressed my concerns. Holding the EPA’s feet to the fire has put us on a path to receive strong reassurances on biofuel volumes and the EPA’s commitment to follow both the letter and the spirit of the RFS, as well as a commitment to not pursue other policies harmful to our farmers across Iowa.
“My staff and I will continue to keep a watchful eye as these assurances come to life, and while we are still in negotiations, I do feel good about the direction we are headed.”
Watch Senator Ernst’s questioning of Mr. Wehrum here.
Senator Ernst has been a vocal opponent of any actions taken to lower RFS volumes, stressing her position through letters to EPA Administrator Pruitt and to President Trump. The Senator received commitments from Administrator Pruitt in their pre-confirmation meeting and during his confirmation hearing that he would follow the law and maintain the RFS. Yesterday, Senator Ernst again met with Administrator Pruitt to reiterate the need to maintain a strong RFS.