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(Michelle Rook/Agweek)

SD Corn Growers plan to give Pruitt the cold shoulder during SD visit

Sioux Falls, SD — Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt will visit South Dakota on Wednesday, but the state’s corn growers plan to give him the cold shoulder.

Pruitt is scheduled to visit with sorghum producers at a cattle operation near Reliance. However, South Dakota Corn Growers Association Executive Director Lisa Richardson says President Donald Trump promised to provide the pathway for year-round sales of E15 and Pruitt is not welcome in the state unless he is delivering on that promise.

“Our largest market far and away in South Dakota is ethanol. So, for him to come into our backyard and not keep the president’s word on E15, we’re just curious as to why he’s here? Unless, he’s here to announce E15, he is not welcome,” she says.

Richardson says Pruitt has single handedly damaged the ethanol industry by working with the petroleum industry to propose a cap on Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs, plus he granted hardship waivers to oil refiners to opt out of their obligation under the Renewable Fuels Standard. This has resulted in lost corn grind of 700,000 to 800,000 bushels.

“No, he has really undermined our industry, really caused demand destruction for corn growers across the U.S.  And he hasn’t even announced, it’s all under the radar, but we figure is he’s given out between 1.4 to 1.6 billion gallons of waivers to major refineries that are making billions of dollars out of the Renewable Fuels Standard,” Richardson says.

South Dakota corn growers are holding a tractor rally on Wednesday in Sioux Falls to put pressure on Pruitt to grant relief from the Reid Vapor Pressure Rule and allow E15 sales.  

“At the Farmers Market at Falls Park we’re having them come down Sixth Street, there will be a tractor brigade.  But yes, we’re going to say enough, Administrator Pruitt give us RVP (Reid Vapor Pressure) relief,” Richardson says.

The rally will start at 10:30 am at Falls Park Farmers Market in Sioux Falls.  

Pruitt is also traveling this week in Kansas and Nebraska.  

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