Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey is from Spirit Lake. Northey currently works in Des Moines, but is now living in limbo. Due to circumstances beyond his control, his appointment for a USDA Under Secretary position has been put on hold. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) halted the appointment process after his “turf had been damaged” by two Iowa Senators, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.
Grassley and Ernst leaned on President Donald Trump and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, in efforts to keep the renewable volume obligations under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) at a higher level than the oil industry suggested. Cruz, a senator from a major oil producing state, took his constituents interests forward and locked Northey’s nomination.
President Trump, Administrator Pruitt and Senator Cruz met in Washington, D.C. Thursday. Senator Grassley was not invited or chose not attend, whichever way you want to look at it. On Monday, Ben Nuelle spoke with United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. During their conversation, Nuelle focused on the plight of Northey.
Regrettably, nothing has been decided regarding Northey’s nomination, and there may not be a pathway forward in the foreseeable future without some concessions from the ethanol industry.