Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) has called for an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency to determine whether the agency broke federal law by granting small oil refineries waivers to bypass regulations mandating that corn ethanol be mixed into their gasoline supply.
However, the liberal lawmaker was silent when the Obama administration granted the exact same waivers.
What did Duckworth allege?
According to the Washington Examiner, Duckworth requested the EPA’s inspector general conduct an investigation over allegations the EPA has “misled” Congress.
“Recent document disclosures reveal that the EPA misled Members of Congress, industry and the public,” she wrote in a letter to the EPA’s acting inspector general. “This deception by EPA political appointees may indicate improper motives and conflicts of interest, and it warrants a thorough review.”
Shockingly, the waivers in question are somewhat of a bipartisan issue on Capitol Hill. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) have also petitioned for the EPA to cease granting waivers. The common thread between Duckworth, Grassley, and Ernest? Their states are the two of the nation’s leading producers of corn ethanol.
The senators argue most of the companies that have been granted waivers are subsidiaries of or somehow connected to larger oil companies, such as Exxon, therefore not legitimately meeting qualifications for the ethanol-mixing exemption.
Is there a double standard?
As the Examiner noted, Duckworth claims the Trump administration has issued 35 EPA waivers in the last two years, whereas the Obama administration granted only seven.
However, Reuters reported last year that EPA records show the Obama administration granted 14 waivers in 2015 and 20 in 2016 — just one less than the Trump administration over a similar period of time.
So, what’s this all about? Is Duckworth really concerned with EPA guidelines? Or is Duckworth motivated by the ethanol lobby of which she is a beneficiary?
From Hot Air:
The reality here is that Duckworth, just like Grassley and Ernst (this is a bipartisan problem), are in the pocket of the ethanol lobby and continually seek to prop up the corn and soybean growers while trying to use the power of the government to damage the oil and gas industry. They don’t want to have the waivers issued because they know it will lead to more artificial, government-mandated demand for ethanol while bankrupting refineries, literally in some cases. This request for an investigation is a partisan ploy, working at the expense of private industry.
(H/T: Jazz Shaw)