WASHINGTON — Nebraska and Iowa Republican senators seemed satisfied as they emerged Thursday from a meeting with President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, arranged the sit-down to discuss the importance of renewable fuels with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who has been critical of policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard in the past.
Grassley and other senators indicated they liked what they heard.
“It was a very positive meeting,” Grassley told reporters as he stood next to Pruitt. “As far as I know, every senator was very satisfied with the answers we got.”
Pruitt declined to answer reporters’ questions.
Asked whether he’ll support Pruitt’s nomination, Grassley offered his standard line that he will wait until after the confirmation hearing to decide.
“There’s been nothing at this point that would discourage me from voting for it,” he said.
In addition to the four Nebraska and Iowa senators, the meeting included senators from South Dakota, North Dakota, Missouri and Kansas.
Grassley said Pruitt offered not just reassuring words on renewable fuels but general support for the rule of law. That echoed comments from other senators in the meeting.
“I think the whole room is supportive,” Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., said. “He’s just open and honest.”
“It was good to talk with him about not only the Renewable Fuel Standard but also Waters of the U.S.,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., referring to water regulations critics say the agency has taken too far.
Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, was in the group session and also met separately with Pruitt.
In a statement, she said she’d received assurances from him that he would follow the law and not undermine the RFS. She also noted that she had invited him to visit an Iowa ethanol plant.
“I stressed that a strong and robust RFS encourages consumer choice, investment and innovation,” Ernst said. “The RFS is a major driver of alternative fuels and economic development, and I will always protect and promote it in the Senate.”