Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, the man who sought a waiver for his state from the Renewable Fuel Standard and was consistently ranked as bad for the ethanol industry during his two presidential bids, has been tapped by President-Elect Donald Trump to be Secretary of Energy. With ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson picked as Secretary of State and Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt chosen to head the EPA, it may seem that oil-friendly interests have taken a strong position in the new Trump administration.
Some ethanol interests are understandably a little concerned. The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) issued a call-to-action to its grassroots membership today, urging ethanol supporters to ask their senators to work during the confirmation process to get some reassurance that Pruitt will support ethanol. ACE notes that Pruitt filed a ‘friend of the court’ brief in support of a lawsuit to overturn EPA’s approval of E15 for 2001 model-year and newer vehicles and has called the RFS “unworkable.” On the other hand, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor last week congratulated Pruitt on his nomination and looks forward to “working with him to carry out President-elect Trump’s strong commitments to protecting the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who has accepted the position as Trump’s ambassador to China, got his assurances about Pruitt from the president-elect himself. During his weekly press conference Monday, Branstad said he talked to Trump during his “Thank You” tour in Des Moines last week. “First thing Trump told me is ‘don’t worry about him, he’s going to be for ethanol,'” Branstad said, laughing. “I think that was a condition he laid out when he appointed him.”
Listen to Branstad’s comments here: Gov. Branstad on Trump and RFS