Iowa, Nebraska governors take part in roundtable discussion at White House; Trump commends efforts to ‘achieve true energy dominance’ by U.S.

Source: By Joseph Morton, Omaha World-Herald Bureau • Posted: Thursday, June 29, 2017

President Trump energy roundtable today. Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump, flanked by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) (right) and Southern Ute Councilman Kevin Frost, met with state, local and tribal leaders during an energy roundtable today. Evan Vucci/AP

WASHINGTON — Nebraska’s Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts was mixing fun, policy and politics Wednesday during a quick trip to the nation’s capital.

Ricketts held a re-election campaign fundraiser at the Nationals’ night game against the Chicago Cubs, the baseball team owned by the Ricketts family.

But first he spent much of the day at the White House, where some Cubs players and members of the Ricketts family celebrated their World Series championship.

On a more serious note, Ricketts also participated in an energy policy roundtable with President Donald Trump.

The Trump administration has sought to fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline on the federal level even as the politically controversial project continues to move through state-level reviews in Nebraska.

Ricketts said he outlined the timeline of those reviews for the president.

“He’s very keen on getting that built so he was interested in the timeline,” Ricketts said of Trump.

Others in the meeting included Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and the governors of Maine and Alaska, as well as state and tribal leaders from around the country.

Ricketts said he talked about state-level energy innovations, including Nebraska’s first-in-the-nation utility scale hydrogen plant and enzymes that are helping corn to produce more ethanol.

Both he and Reynolds touted the importance of ethanol, although he said he kept his specific policy asks to a meeting prior to the roundtable with EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. That included making the case for allowing certain ethanol blends to be sold in the summer.

Reporters were allowed into the roundtable briefly and heard Trump say that his administration has moved to lift restrictions on tapping American energy.

“Today’s conversation is a chance for these state, local and tribal leaders to discuss how we can cooperate and support them even more in unleashing these domestic energy reserves,” Trump said. “They’re tremendous reserves that we never appreciated, we never understood, but now we understand them very well.”

Ricketts said Reynolds also talked about Iowa’s robust supply of wind energy. Trump has caused a stir in Iowa with comments about the birds killed by wind turbines.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters on Wednesday that he has passed the word along to administration officials that he’s the author of the wind energy tax credit.

Grassley added that he had made a pointed statement to someone close to the president that he hopes got passed along.

“Probably more birds fly into Trump Tower and die than are killed by wind energy in Iowa, that’s what I told them,” Grassley said. “So I hope they tell him that.”