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Ernst questions EPA nominee

WASHINGTON —-Iowa Senator Joni Ernst questioned the man nominated to lead the Environmental Protection Agency in a Senate hearing.

Ernst asked nominee Michael Regan about issues surrounding renewable fuels — including the Renewable Fuel Standard.  “RFS is definitely a priority for this administration… the reality is that I want to sit down with my staff, sit down with legal counsel. There are a number of things that are caught up in litigation, there are a number things that we more transparency around how we arrived at those decisions,”Regan says.

Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, says transparency has been lacking the agency. Regan says he will take the same approach when it comes to all of these issues. “We need to be sure that the agency actually applied the latest letter of the law in some of the decisions that have been made,” he says.

Ernst says she wants to be sure that farmers and supporters of biofuels have input. “What I can promise you is — we will take a no surprises approach — we will be extremely transparent. We will be forthcoming with the science and the data and the legal determinations that we come to in order to make those decisions, and we will share those decisions with you,” Regan says.

Ernst also asked him about the repeal of the Obama Administration “Waters of the U.S.” rule and the support for its replacement among farmers. She asked Regan if he would repeal the new rule if he is confirmed. Regan says he will look at their options to address any kind of “lingering concerns.”

“And take a look at what we need to do to move forward to provide some certainty to our farming community — especially our small farmers — so that decisions can be made and investments are not stranded on the sidelines,” according to Regan. “But I also want to be sure that we do that in a way where we are protecting our water quality, our wetlands, and our base.”

Regan told the Senators he wants everyone to have a voice on these issues if he is confirmed. The Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hearing was Wednesday.

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