EPA leader pick Pruitt supports RFS, but is open for ‘tweaking’ it

Scott Pruitt, US President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to be the leader of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), says he is committed to biofuels, but remains open for tweaks.

The Oklahoma Attorney General said during his Congressional confirmation hearing on Wednesday that he will honour the Congress’ plan to increase the amount of renewable fuels in petroleum fuels.

Pruitt said the waivers the EPA has used to set requirements below the Congressional targets to accommodate market conditions should be used “judiciously”, Reuters reports.

According to Pruitt, the EPA should not use the waivers to “undermine commitments” from Congress, but conceded that they could be needed in cases when there is, for example, a lower fuel demand than expected.

Pruitt’s stance brought some semblance of relief to the biofuels industry, which has been concerned over his earlier comments where he has called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) “flawed and unworkable”.

Bob Dinneen, CEO and president of the Renewable Fuels Association, called Pruitt’s comments “heartening” in a statement.

Pruitt appears to support the RFS in general, but he concluded by saying that it was too soon to decide whether the programme needs to be reformed.

Oil refining companies asked EPA earlier this month to move the responsibility of blending renewable into fuel from refiners to distributors, but EPA denied the request and called for public comments on the matter.

Pruitt did not want to “pre-judge” the results of the comment period and refused to express his views on moving the blending point.

This article was written by Ilari Kauppila, deputy editor at Biofuels International