by Ken Root
President Elect Donald Trump has named Oklahoma Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, as his Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. Pruitt has spent much of his energy fighting the agency he is being nominated to lead, according to the Washington Post. He is suing the EPA over climate change rules and is strongly opposed to the Waters of the U.S. rule, as is most segments of agriculture.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duval says the selection of Pruitt to lead the EPA is “welcome news” for farmers and ranchers. Duvall says Pruitt, “Should help provide a new degree of fairness for U.S. agriculture.”
But Iowan’s beware, Pruitt is also a critic of the Renewable Fuel Standard. He argued in a 2013 Supreme Court brief that EPA ignored the risk of more than 10 percent ethanol blended in gasoline, poses to fuel systems of vehicles, and the mandate’s effect on food prices.
An affiliate of the Rural Oklahoma Network had the chance to visit with Pruitt briefly at a breakfast Wednesday in Bartlesville, OK, where Pruitt offered some comments regarding his stance on a couple issues he will soon be given authority over, the Waters of the US rule (WOTUS) and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
“I think the states across the country and the Sixth Circuit obviously has spoken to this already; that there is great concern about the definition that’s been deployed and established,” Pruitt said, referring to the WOTUS rule and the way it was implemented.
Looking at the Renewable Fuel Standard, Pruitt contends that like many other well-intended rules that have failed to meet their expectations and objectives, he thinks it wise for congress to consider revisiting and reevaluating.
“I think the congress needs to look at that and say, ‘is it (working) today?'” Pruitt suggests, “and I think there are some that are looking into that.”
Not so positive things have been said by others. The website Mother Jones has posted a piece that looked at what they are calling good news for “big ag”- the naming of Pruitt to EPA as well as Iowa Governor Terry Branstad to be Ambassador to China.
It was not unexpected that Iowa’s long time governor might be named Ambassador to China. The governor’s links to China’s President and years of expanding agricultural trade between the countries place him in a very good place to mediate any confrontation put forth by the new president and challenged by China.
Branstad is expected to favor continued trade between the nations, especially agricultural, but may be able to address issues of currency manipulation and China’s slow process of approving genetically modified crops before they will import them.