The biofuels industry is facing political battles in Europe as well as the United States.
And policy is unsettled on both sides of the Atlantic.
Reuters reports that European Union energy ministers failed Thursday to reach an agreement that would limit use of fuels made from food crops.
“Last year in response to warnings about food price inflation and unintended consequences on the environment, the European Commission, the EU’s executive, proposed to cap the bloc’s use of crop-based biofuels at 5 percent,” the news service reports.
In the U.S., meanwhile, the ethanol industry is battling a November Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would scale back the amount of ethanol that refiners must blend into gasoline next year.
The topic was front and center at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on Wednesday.
National Journal reports here on planned legislation touted at the hearing that would ease the federal ethanol blending mandate.
Bloomberg has a dispatch from the Senate hearing that focuses on EPA’s defense of its proposal. From their story:
“The Environmental Protection Agency determined that it’s not feasible for gasoline refiners to use as much ethanol next year as had been mandated, which is why the agency proposed easing the requirement, an EPA official said.”
But the biofuels industry also got some good news this week.
The Agriculture Department and the Navy announced plans aimed at expanding the Navy’s use of renewable fuels in jet engines and ships.
The Navy has for years been testing out the increased use of biofuels. The agencies said Wednesday that they’re taking the next step toward making “advanced” biofuels—that is, not traditional corn ethanol—a regular part of military procurement in the coming years.
“The announcement incorporates the acquisition of biofuel blends into regular Department of Defense (DOD) domestic solicitations for jet engine and marine diesel fuels,” the Navy and Agriculture Department said in a joint release.
“Today’s announcement marks the first time alternative fuels such as advanced drop-in biofuels will be available for purchase through regular procurement practices. It lowers barriers for alternative domestic fuel suppliers to do business with DOD,” they said.
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Concerned that she's become too divisive, "Democrats on Capitol Hill are discussing whether Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz should step down as Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman before the party’s national convention in July. ... Wasserman Schultz has had an increasingly acrimonious relationship with the party’s other presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders, and his supporters, who argue she has tilted the scales in Clinton’s favor." The money quote, from a Democratic senator who backs Clinton: “There have been a lot of meetings over the past 48 hours about what color plate do we deliver Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s head on." Meanwhile, Newsweek takes a look at why no one seems to like Wasserman Schultz.
"The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote Wednesday on a Republican bill that would block the District of Columbia from spending locally raised tax revenue without congressional approval, prompting President Obama to pledge to veto it. In issuing the veto threat on Tuesday, the Obama White House made one of the strongest statements to date in support of the District’s attempt to win financial independence from Congress."
When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage.
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.