JOHNSTON — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is using some blunt language to describe the EPA’s decision last Friday to grant waivers to big oil companies, reducing the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline.
“They screwed us when they issued 31 waivers compared to less than 10 waivers during all of the Obama years,” Grassley said this morning. “And we thought that was bad.”
According to Grassley, the waivers were intended for small refineries, but are now being granted to the likes of Exxon and Chevron
“What’s really bad isn’t a waiver,” Grassley said, “it’s that it’s being granted to people that really aren’t hardship.”
Last year the EPA granted 38 ethanol waivers to oil companies and this year has granted 31, but Grassley said there’s no victory here for farmers.
“And it’s no accomplishment whatsoever, so we’ve got to go back to the president,” Grassley said, “the same way we have in the past.”
Grassley indicated he’s directly lobbied President Trump and Ivanka Trump on the issue — and Trump heard from farmers when the president visited a western Iowa ethanol plant earlier this summer.
“I know that he knows about the ethanol issues,” Grassley says, “and he wants to be considered very pro-ethanol and he wants to be considered very pro-farmer.” But Grassley said officials in Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency are blocking ethanol’s progress.
Grassley made his comments over the weekend on the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press”.