Ernst Meets with EPA Administrator Pruitt to Stress Need to Maintain a Strong RFS

“I will continue to work with the EPA, but they must prove to the agricultural community who put their faith in this administration that they will fulfill their promise to maintain the letter and the spirit of the RFS. We will not accept anything less.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry and the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, issued the following statement after meeting with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt to express her significant concerns over the agency’s recent action to potentially set biodiesel volumes in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2018 and 2019 at substantially lower volumes, which could in turn, hurt Iowa farmers, manufacturers, and rural communities.

“Iowa is the largest producer of ethanol and biodiesel in the nation. Our farmers, ranchers and rural communities depend on maintaining a strong RFS. Time and again, the RFS has proven to be a major driver of alternative fuels and economic development.

“Throughout his confirmation process, Administrator Pruitt promised me multiple times that he would uphold the spirit of the RFS, as intended by Congress. Additionally, the President has consistently stated his support for biofuels and made it clear to Administrator Pruitt that he is supportive of the RFS. While the administrator has insisted that the recent actions taken by the EPA are simply to receive additional input on the RFS from stakeholders, it is evident that the ‘stakeholders’ he refers to are not the farmers and manufacturers across the State of Iowa who would be directly affected if the biodiesel volume requirements were lowered.

“Our meeting today was another clear demonstration that biofuel-producing states will never stop fighting to protect the RFS. Administrator Pruitt again claimed today that he will not do anything to undermine the program. However, we have heard this before. We now need to see it. I will continue to work with the EPA, but they must prove to the agricultural community who put their faith in this administration that they will fulfill their promise to maintain the letter and the spirit of the RFS. We will not accept anything less.”

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.