U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt cannot keep his hand out of the cookie jar these days.
It has only been a couple months since I wrote about Pruitt and his questionable antics that the press digs up. From enlisting an aide to help his wife purchase a Chick-fil-A to wanting an old mattress from a Trump hotel, the hits keep coming.
But today, it’s a couple of U.S. senators who are calling him out.
Both U.S. Republican Senators from Iowa—Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst—have been loud and proud in the press lately lambasting Administrator Pruitt.
This week at an energy policy event in Washington, Sen. Ernst said that Pruitt “is about as swampy as you get here in Washington, D.C. And if the president wants to drain the swamp, he needs to take a look at his own Cabinet.”
Ernst, who is an unabashed supporter of the ethanol industry—because hello, she’s from Iowa—has accused Pruitt of lying to her about maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Ernst accused Pruitt of not protecting the congressional intent of the RFS, adding, “He also put into writing that the scheme to attach (Renewable Identification Numbers) for exported ethanol would stop and that’s a lie, because now that’s exactly what he proposed.”
Her colleague Sen. Grassley, who is never one to shy away from speaking his mind on agriculture policy, has threatened to call for Administrator Pruitt’s resignation if he did not approve of changes to the RFS.
Later that day, both Senators quickly diverted their attention away from Pruitt, taking to Twitter to praise President Trump on rejecting a “bad ethanol deal.” According to “Agri-Pulse,” the proposal would make exported ethanol eligible for biofuel credits in return for allowing E15 sales year-round.
Sen. Ernst also tweeted her thanks to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue for his “commitment to American agriculture and Iowa farmers!” This was definitely a shot at EPA Administrator Pruitt, as the EPA handles the RFS, not USDA.
Both senators serve on the Agriculture Committee, but thankfully the RFS is not dealt with in the farm bill, which is set to be introduced in the Senate any day now.
Administrator Pruitt has done great things for agriculture. The repeal of the ridiculous Obama-era “Waters of the U.S.” rule is a lot of regulatory relief on its own. I only wish he could stay out of the news, as the only news he is making is bad news. I’m sure he would like to have it that way as well.
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.