Republican Senator Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield are both criticizing the EPA administrator’s handling of federal ethanol policy — and each questions the other’s commitment to promoting the corn-based fuel.
Greenfield said Ernst never should have voted to confirm a lobbyist from the fossil fuels industry to lead the agency. “I am calling for the EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler to step down immediately,” Greenfield said, “and I am calling for Senator Ernst to ask him to do the same and to put Iowa first.”
Ernst said she threatened to call for Wheeler’s resignation last October if he didn’t follow through on the president’s promises to the ethanol industry — and Ernst ridiculed Greenfield for getting Wheeler’s name wrong in a press conference.
“Whatever she was calling him, a couple of different names…if you really are interested, you know, make sure that you’ve been engaging,” Ernst said, “and it’s only recently that she has started to engage in the RFS.”
Ernst said she’s been working on ethanol policy for at least a decade, starting when she was a member of the state senate.
“I’m glad that she’s finally paying attention to the RFS, good for her, but a little bit late,” Ernst said.
Both Ernst and Greenfield are critical of the Trump Administration’s consideration of waivers that would let oil refineries escape the requirement to blend ethanol into gasoline. Ernst has recently blocked a senate vote on a man nominated to be the deputy administrator of the EPA — as a way of protesting the consideration of those waivers.