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Joni Ernst begs her chosen EPA director to reject retroactive biofuel blending waivers harmful to Iowa farmers


This news story was published on June 29, 2020.
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Joni Ernst (R) put Andrew Wheeler in office, now is dis-satisfied with the coal champion’s policies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Iowa senator Joni Ernst signed on to a letter begging EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler – whom she voted to put into office – to reject retroactive biofuel blending waivers harmful to many Iowa farmers.

Ernst and other Senators urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Andrew Wheeler – appointed by Donald Trump and approved by Joni Ernst and other Republican Senators – to reject petitions for Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years. In the letter announced today, the senators warn that granting these petitions would worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and demand that the EPA apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.

“We urge you to reject these petitions outright and respond in writing to our questions about recent use of SREs under the RFS. These petitions should not even be entertained because they are inconsistent with the Tenth Circuit decision, Congressional intent, the EPA’s own guidance, and – most importantly – the interests of farmers and rural communities who rely on the biofuel industry,” the senators wrote.

“The approval of SREs for past compliance years at this moment would only worsen the unprecedented economic challenges facing the biofuels industry and the rural communities that it supports. EPA must deny these petitions and apply the 10th Circuit decision nationally.”

“The 52 waivers that have been submitted to EPA for consideration, some dating back to 9 years ago, should be denied. The ploy of these waivers serve as just another way to destroy corn and ethanol demand at a time when we need access to the market the most. We hope the EPA will honor the request by Senator Ernst to deny the small refinery waivers and apply the Tenth Circuit Court decision nationwide rather than this Administrator kicking the American corn farmer again while we are down,” said Jim Greif, President, Iowa Corn Growers Association.

“Soybean farmers were appalled to learn EPA is considering more than 50 petitions for retroactive small refinery exemptions. This is just the latest in a string of attempts to sidestep the law, undercut the Renewable Fuel Standard, and kill soybean demand. It’s time for the EPA and Administrator Wheeler to end the chaos and continued attacks against Iowa’s farmers and deny these petitions,” said Tim Bardole, President of Iowa Soybean Association.

“We appreciate Senator Ernst demanding answers from EPA regarding its inconsistencies on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Changing the rules and circumventing the will of Congress and the Tenth Circuit is heaping economic harm on an embattled biofuels and agriculture industry. Biodiesel producers, farmers and rural communities need the EPA and Administrator Wheeler to deny these petitions and stop the misuse of small refinery waivers under the RFS,” said Grant Kimberly, Executive Director of Iowa Biodiesel Board.

“The sole purpose of these retroactive exemptions is to circumvent the law at the expense of rural families struggling to get back on their feet. There is no justification for allowing these petitions to hang over the market, injecting uncertainty into America’s agricultural recovery. EPA needs to dismiss the oil industry’s latest attempt to destroy demand for American biofuels and restore integrity to the RFS,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.

“We applaud this bipartisan group of Senators for exposing the absurdity of the oil industry’s latest ploy to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard. We thank them for holding Administrator Wheeler accountable and demanding answers. EPA’s failure to comply with the recent Tenth Circuit Court decision is prolonging uncertainty and exacerbating economic harm in rural America, which was already reeling from the effects of COVID-19 on the agriculture and biofuels sector. RFA agrees with these Senate leaders that granting “gap-year” small refinery exemptions would not only be illegal, but it would also worsen the demand destruction that renewable fuel producers have already endured at the hands of EPA in recent years. We proudly join these Senators in calling on EPA to immediately deny the ‘gap-year’ petitions and apply the Tenth Circuit decision nationally,” said Geoff Cooper, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

The full text of today’s letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler can be found HERE.

Joni Ernst, on June 26, 2020, wrote on her website, “Iowa’s hardworking ethanol and biodiesel producers are sick of being yanked around by Andrew Wheeler and the EPA. Our producers need certainty; until we get that, no EPA nominee is getting my vote.”  She had previously voted to approve Wheeler to his position as administrator of the EPA.

Wheeler

On February 28, 2019, the U.S. Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, as the fifteenth Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. President Donald J. Trump had announced his appointment as the Acting EPA Administrator on July 5, 2018. Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley voted to approve the appointment. According to the New York Times, “Republicans said they have been delighted to discover Mr. Wheeler is as enthusiastic about repealing environmental regulations and promoting coal as Mr. Pruitt (predecessor) was, and are looking to him to cement Mr. Trump’s legacy as a warrior against what they see as regulatory overreach.”

Theresa Greenfield is the Democratic nominee who will face Joni Ernst in November.

On June 22, Ernst’s opponent for the upcoming November 3 election, Theresa Greenfield, explicitly called for Andrew Wheeler to resign.

“Senator Ernst said she’d be different. She said she’d make ‘em squeal,” said Greenfield.“But after nearly a full term in the Senate, hardworking Iowans are the only ones squealing and our ethanol and corn producers are under attack. Today, I’m calling for Administrator Wheeler to step down immediately, and for Senator Ernst to stand up to her Big Oil donors and join me in calling for his resignation.”

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12 Responses to Joni Ernst begs her chosen EPA director to reject retroactive biofuel blending waivers harmful to Iowa farmers

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 30, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    The EPA has for some time, ran its own agenda. Remember, not long ago, the EPA wanted to limit the amount of dust generated by farming practices.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 30, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Farmers struggling also has nothing to do with over extending loans and not saving when the times are good.

  3. Avatar

    Troubled farmer Reply Report comment

    June 30, 2020 at 1:36 am

    We had to trade our 2019 F350 extended down for a 2017 with less features due to loss at our farm. Thanks phony Joni!

  4. Avatar

    Off with the Snail Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    And I’m calling for Theresa Greenfield to get that snail removed from her face. My God, that thing is disgusting. She’s gotta know its gross.

  5. Avatar

    Don and Erma Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    Joni made em squeel alright, just us poor farmers struggling to inch along these days. Thanks alot breadsacks lady!!

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2020 at 2:25 pm

    Nothing like screwing over Iowa’s economy and farmers.Thanks Joni,Chuck,&Bonespurs for putting Wheeler in office. I’ll remember that in November.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      June 29, 2020 at 2:37 pm

      Like that made a difference to you way of thinking

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        June 29, 2020 at 3:01 pm

        It did on Grassley I’ve voted for him many times. He changed when trump got elected.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          June 29, 2020 at 3:51 pm

          Totally agree in Grassley. He soul his soul to Trump. He will never get my vote again.

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            June 30, 2020 at 7:51 pm

            He will never get my vote again either. He became a coward with no guts to stand up for us Iowans.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 1, 2020 at 8:18 am

        Joni Iowa’s worst senator ever.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    June 29, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    squeal