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Ernst questions EPA’s Wheeler over RFS in committee hearing

Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) questions EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler during a Senate EPW Committee Meeting. (Photo courtesy of Sen Ernst's Office)

Yesterday the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee heard testimony from Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Wheeler on a wide variety of topics. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst sits on that committee, and she tells us she had a few questions for Administrator Wheeler about the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

While things may seem to be starting to turn around, the damage felt by the ethanol industry has been unbearable for it to take. Senator Ernst tells us that an estimated 40% of ethanol production is offline. She said she took advantage of the face time she had with Administrator Wheeler and reminded him how bad things have been.

Ernst says when she spoke with Administrator Wheeler about the attempts of the oil industry to lay the blame for low gas prices at the feet of the ethanol industry, while biofuels plants were shuddering and hemorrhaging money.  She said the even though Wheeler understood the situation, she did not find his responses to be as positive as she would have hoped.

Senator Ernst says that when she questioned Administrator Wheeler about changing out warning labels on fuel pumps as was agreed to eight months ago, Wheeler said he was, “short-staffed”, and that there was more to the job than just simply changing pump labels.

Ernst says she is committed to pushing Administrator Wheeler to keep up EPA’s role in upholding the Congressional intent of the RFS.