Energy & Environment

Ethanol for America

For more than two years, a coalition of strange political bedfellows has done all it can to derail the advancement of the U.S. ethanol industry. These opponents of ethanol have engineered a well-orchestrated campaign that has misled and misinformed the American public about ethanol and its impacts and benefits – particularly when it comes to the American farmer’s ability to grow enough corn for food, feed and fiber.

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End the moratorium now

News leaked out this weekend that the Obama administration knew that the moratorium on oil production would cost 23,000 jobs, yet rushed ahead anyway and that could be on the low side. The Louisiana Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association predicts 46,200 jobs potentially lost due to the moratorium and a Global Insight analysis says that job losses could reach 120,000 in 2014 if the moratorium is extended beyond six months.

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It's time to get cooking on egg safety

How it is possible for a few Iowa “chicken coops” to make thousands of people sick from California to Massachusetts? The resulting recall of over half a billion eggs is just the latest example of a broken food safety system. This outbreak is a tale of two delays: One in adopting needed egg-safety regulations, and the second was Congressional inaction in modernizing food safety legislation. Faster action on either might have prevented this outbreak. 

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Ready or not, climate change, and climate displacement, is happening

The devastating floods in Pakistan have claimed the lives of at least 1,500 people and rendered millions more homeless and displaced.  According to the United Nations, the deluge’s human toll, which has reportedly affected 14 million Pakistanis, is worse than the 2004 tsunami, the January earthquake in Haiti, and the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan combined.  The record-breaking floods – along with other recent unprecedented climate-related catastrophes such as the heat wave in Russia and torrential rains and subsequent mudslides in China – are in line with the predictions of climate scientists that global warming will cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

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The Ag Minute: EPA Strikes at Crop Protection Tool for Farmers

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, discusses how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated an unprecedented re-review of a critically important pesticide, which threatens its continued availability to farmers and ranchers. Atrazine is a pesticide that has been used safely and effectively for more than 50 years. Banning the use of atrazine could cost between 21,000 and 48,000 jobs from corn production losses alone, according to University of Chicago economist Don L. Coursey.

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Cap and trade's sad history

The Kyoto Treaty was agreed to almost 13 years ago. It is the father of all cap and trade proposals in that it contained mandated emissions reductions and provisions for trading and offsets. Although the Clinton Administration never submitted the treaty to the US Senate for approval, it did vote 95-0 that it would not approve any treaty like Kyoto that would damage the US economy and not apply to countries like China and India.

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Too many Senators are more concerned about short-term oil and coal profits

The Senate adjourned last week without passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill. Yes, the worst environmental accident in U.S. history was still unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, attesting to our need to curb our nation’s oil addiction. And yes, this summer senators sweltered through record-breaking heat, which climate scientists warn will become the norm if we don’t deeply reduce global warming emissions. None of that seemed to matter, and I am far from alone in feeling that the Senate’s inaction is infuriating and inexcusable. 

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BP oil spill's impacts on vulnerable minority communities (Reps. Mike Honda and Anh "Joseph" Cao)

BP appears to have finally stopped the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, although the efforts to seal the well permanently are ongoing. But we must keep in mind that the job of cleaning up as much as 100 million gallons of oil — compared with Exxon Valdez’s Alaska spill of 11 million gallons — is just beginning. This is not only the worst single-incident environmental disaster in our country’s history, but it also is the world’s worst accidental marine oil spill.

What is equally disastrous, but less frequently reported, is the impact to the physical health, economy and livelihoods of communities living adjacent to the Gulf Coast. Among these communities, perhaps the most vulnerable are thousands of Southeast Asian and African-American families. The adverse effects experienced by this population are potent and unique.

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Getting the Gulf back to work: Let's remove idle oil drilling structures (Rep. Raul Grijalva)

According to a recent analysis, there are more than 1,000 oil rigs and drilling structures sitting idle in the Gulf of Mexico. These structures have not been affected by the recently announced drilling moratorium -- rather, they were abandoned by their owners, sometimes many years ago, and allowed to decay or collapse into the ocean. These structures, commonly referred to as "idle iron," now provide us with a unique chance to create jobs and open up future economic opportunities throughout the Gulf region.

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