Grassley to file EPA comments, doesn’t expect shutdown

-The Hagstrom Report

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told rural reporters today that he will file comments with the Environmental Protection Agency to urge changes in the rule the agency has proposed to manage small refinery waivers in the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Grassley said he is “disappointed” that the rule uses Energy Department data to account for the small refinery waivers, and said he will urge an adjustment in the rule to account for lost gallons based “on hard data.”

Grassley also said it is difficult for members of the public to file comments on the EPA website, and urged people to go to the Iowa Farm Bureau website, which has instructions and online form for sending a message to the EPA.

There’s unlikely to be a government shutdown, Grassley said, because “experience” dictates that shutdowns do not accomplish their goals and are expensive.

Asked about a bill proposed by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., to bring up country-of-origin labeling for red meat, Grassley said he had fought that fight and does not believe it is time to bring up that issue again.

Of the Agriculture Department’s decision to move most of the employees of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to Kansas City, Mo., Grassley said “it is hard for me not to support it.”

“I have been part of those people advocating that a lot of offices ought to be moved out of Washington,” he said.

Offices should be moved out of Washington because it “is an island surrounded by reality and tax money should be spread around.

Grassley said he hopes that a tax extenders measure will be passed but that he does not find Democrats as interested in the extension as in the past.

Whether there needs to be another round of Market Facilitation Payments to compensate farmers for lost exports if a deal with China is signed depends on “how much confidence we have” that China will buy the $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. farm products that they have apparently promised, Grassley said.