Pruitt in no hurry on E-15, admits hardship waivers

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt came under withering attack at a Congressional hearing over his handling of the Renewable Fuels Standard, as well as spending and personnel decisions at the agency. Democrats accused him of lying, punishing staffers who disagree with him, misusing taxpayer dollars, sideling rules that protect public health but hurt industry…some even called for him to resign.  Pruitt sidestepped or denied the allegations.  Republicans tried to refocus the House Energy subcommittee hearing on energy issues, including the Renewable Fuel Standard.  Subcommittee Chair and Illinois Representative John Shimkus:

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Shimkus argues that the only way to get a lasting out-of-court solution to unilateral EPA actions that include RFS refiner waivers is for Congress to settle the issue by statute. Shimkus asked Pruitt to hold off on further RFS actions and work with Congress instead. But Pruitt seemed reluctant to slow administrative actions on RIN ethanol credits or related issues:

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But Pruitt called E-15 a “legal,” not a “policy determination,” despite President Trump’s recent green light to the year-round use of the higher ethanol blend. As for actions after the RFS expires in 2022?:

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But USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue testified this week that based on EPA’s own figures, Pruitt’s RIN waivers have already erased more than 1-point-1 billion gallons of ethanol demand, circumventing, Perdue charged, the “instructions” President Trump gave Pruitt last fall to maintain the RFS requirement.

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