Grassley: New WOTUS coming this week, Trump got no applause on ethanol
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he expects the Trump administration to release the rule to replace the Waters of the United States rule this week.
In a call to rural reporters, Grassley noted that he continues to warn the Trump administration that farmers are watching the management of the Renewable Fuel Standard and that he had heard Trump got a warm welcome when he spoke at the American Farm Bureau Federation on Sunday, but got no applause when he mentioned his commitment to ethanol.
Grassley said that the Obama WOTUS rule was “ill conceived” because it would have defined 97% of Iowa as a waterway and brought EPA onto farms. The Trump administration’s rules, Grassley said, will use “common-sense limits” in federal jurisdiction.
Grassley said that in his last contact with the Environmental Protection Agency he told EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler that President Donald Trump “will be challenged by farmers over the next nine months over whether he is ethanol-friendly.” Because final figures on the amount of ethanol used won’t come until after the election, Grassley said he told Wheeler that he should report publicly how many gallons have been waived under the small refinery exemption and how EPA is keeping to the commitment to use 15 billion gallons of ethanol.
Grassley said he been told that Trump got applause for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, the China trade deal and other matters, but no applause when he brought up ethanol in his Farm Bureau speech in Austin, Texas.
According to a White House transcript of Trump’s speech, the president said, “And we are also proudly promoting American ethanol. Chuck Grassley calls me. Joni Ernst calls me. Deb Fischer calls me. They all call – everybody. Pat [Roberts] calls me. Ethanol. They love ethanol. And I recently approved E-15 to be used all year round, instead of eight months. And that’s a big thing for the American farmer. We’re providing unprecedented support to ethanol – support like they’ve never had before.”
The transcript notes each time the president got applause, but the transcript did not include an applause notation after the remarks about ethanol.