Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt met with Nebraska farm leaders on Thursday and told them his agency is moving toward allowing year-round E15 sales. A DTN report says he told those same leaders that his agency doesn’t have a choice in granting small refinery waivers to the Renewable Fuels Standard. Before getting around to tough questions on the RFS, Pruitt told a coalition of Nebraska farm groups that his agency sent a revised Waters of the United States Rule to the Office of Management and Budget on Friday. Pruitt gave several hints as to what the new rule would and wouldn’t apply to. However, while he may have preferred to focus on WOTUS, he spent most of his time answering questions about the RFS.
When asked about the timeline for year-round E15 approval, Pruitt says they stand ready to proceed. “I can’t give you a timeframe but we are doing the work,” he said to the groups. Recent media reports say the EPA has been granting waivers to some of the largest oil refiners in the country. Pruitt says that’s not the case. He says waivers are determined facility by facility and analyzed jointly with the Department of Energy.
President Trump says Pruitt has done a fantastic job of running the agency. However, Trump tells Bloomberg that “he’s not happy” with some of Pruitt’s actions as ethics allegations continue to threaten the EPA chief’s tenure. “I’m looking at Scott and he’s done a fantastic job,” Trump says to reporters on Friday, “but I’m not happy about certain things. I’ll be honest.” Pruitt is under fire for several ethics questions, including having EPA employees run personal errands for him, as well as helping his wife secure a job.
Bloomberg says Pruitt has been under scrutiny for months over a series of questionable decisions, which includes an arrangement to rent a condo on Capitol Hill from a lobbyist, as well as taxpayer-funded travel to his home state of Oklahoma. The latest revelations surrounding Pruitt have drawn sharp condemnation from some of his conservative allies. Pruitt enlisted aides to help his wife, Marilyn, find employment, including contacting the Chick-Fil-A CEO about possibly acquiring a franchise.