Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Science | By Cecil Little

EPA's Pruitt May Need to Resign, Key Republican Ally Says

EPA's Pruitt May Need to Resign, Key Republican Ally Says

Laura Ingraham, the Fox News prime time host and conservative radio personality, became on Wednesday one of the first of President Trump's top supporters in the media to break from Scott Pruitt, the embattled administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and say he must either vacate or be dismissed from his position atop the federal agency.

Farmers and ethanol producers in South Dakota held a good old fashioned tractor rally in Sioux Falls as Administrator Pruitt met with farmers in Reliance about 200 miles west. "Corn prices right now are at breakeven or below and we've lost 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol to exemptions that EPA has granted to refiners", said South Dakota Corn Growers president Troy Knecht.

The EPA typically does not disclose Pruitt's whereabouts, and did not publicize Pruitt's trip to South Dakota on Wednesday until a tweet from shortly after 3 p.m. from Pruitt's official account.

Ingraham linked to a new report detailing how Pruitt used a top aide and GOP donors to help his wife, Marlyn Pruitt, find a job.

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Pruitt joked about the reception, saying signs greeting him "didn't say 'I hope you're having fun.'" He said messages instead implored him to support ethanol over big oil.

Inhofe's comments are among signs that some conservatives may be losing confidence in Pruitt, Oklahoma's former attorney general. On Wednesday, Grassley remarked at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, "Pruitt is ill-serving the president".

Pruitt was also under fire this week by a conservative nonprofit group from Iowa, which created a 30-second television ad this week and said "for the good of the country, Pruitt must go".

For now, Pruitt continues to enjoy Trump's support, stemming mostly from his work implementing the administration's agenda. "I told him that EPA's attacks on ethanol don't just hurt ethanol plants, they hurt farmers, rural communities and American consumers who benefit from ethanol with lower prices and cleaner air", said McCauley. He said the agency has seen "a spike in applications".

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Renew Kansas board member and President/CEO of East Kansas Agri-Energy, Bill Pracht, provided a tour of the facility's ethanol and renewable diesel operations before turning the event over to a lively standing-room-only conversation on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

"Two of these companies that they handed waivers to made over a billion dollars past year", farmer David Fremark said.

"A spike? That's more than a spike".

Many farmers who spoke to Pruitt said they felt the waiver increase was hurting their farms and their income, the Mitchell Daily Republic reported. "I'm sending a communication over today that we've had enough of these things and you need to get down and do the job we're elected to do".

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