Kennedy puts holds on Hutchins, Brashears, Earp over biofuels
Upset over the Agriculture Department’s involvement in the issue of small refinery waivers from ethanol requirements, Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., has put holds on Senate confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominations of Scott Hutchins as undersecretary for research, education, and economics; Mindy Brashears as undersecretary for food safety, and Naomi Earp as assistant secretary for civil rights, Reuters reported today.
Kennedy told Perdue in the letter dated June 27 that he was attempting to block the confirmation of three appointees now pending the Senate until USDA “ceases to be involved in all issues involving small refinery hardship waivers” under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, Reuters said.
When President Donald Trump visited Iowa recently, a corn grower told him in a public ceremony that even though the administration had approved the sale of E15 gasoline, the small refinery waivers were hurting the industry. There have been media reports that Trump was shocked at the farmer criticism. Perdue also told the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives this week that Perdue had called him to discuss the small refinery waiver issue.
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The House passed S.4054, the Grain Standards Reauthorization Act of 2020, by voice vote.