South Dakota producers react to Pruitt resignation

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CHESTER, S.D. (KSFY) - Now former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the state of South Dakota in June and he didn't get a very warm welcome from area producers. Now, they're hoping his resignation is a step in the right direction.

"We're looking at Deputy Administrator Wheeler to step in and we're looking for replacement on those gallons," said Keith Alverson, a board member -- and former president -- of the South Dakota Corn Growers Association.

Alverson said producers lost out on over 2 billion gallons worth of of ethanol sales due to Pruitt bending the laws under the Renewable Fuel Standard, or RFS.

"A reallocation of the gallons that were taken away with the small refiner waivers within the RFS by administrator Pruitt – he did a lot of that under the cover of night," Alverson said. "And we found out about it after the fact by the work of reporters and tax filings from some of those companies."

That 2 billion gallon reallocation, Alverson said, is nearly an entire South Dakota corn crop.

"When administrator Pruitt was in South Dakota, we did try to send a message that you know, what had been going on with the agency, hadn't been acceptable to us," Alverson said.

President Trump campaigned heavily in ag states on the promise he would make E-15 gasoline available year-round and Pruitt agreed to uphold that promise when he was questioned during his congressional confirmation.

"Clearly he didn't do that," Alverson said.

Alverson said that's all producers want in their next EPA Administrator.

"We're looking for the next administrator to follow the letter of the law in RFS and reallocate those gallons within the blending obligations of those refiners," he said.

He's also hoping the next man or woman up will come to visit the area a little sooner.

"It's good for those folks to be out meet their constituents and hear the voices of the people especially when we have things that our livelihoods depend on," Alverson said.

POET in Sioux Falls also weighed in on Pruitt's resignation Thursday, issuing KSFY News this quote:

“With Scott Pruitt’s resignation, we hope we will now see an EPA that’s willing to uphold President Trump’s commitments to rural America and finally deliver the win-win he’s been looking for with year-round sales of E15. It’s time to turn the page on the disastrous demand destruction practices of Scott Pruitt and start a new chapter. President Trump can now pick up the phone and speak with the EPA Administrator to lower gas prices, instead of calling OPEC leaders. We look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to protect homegrown biofuels, hardworking farmers and American jobs.” – Kyle Gilley, SVP External Affairs & Communications, POET