A bipartisan coalition of senators is pressuring the Obama administration to do away with proposed cuts to the renewable-fuel standard, a federal mandate requiring set amounts of biofuels to be mixed into the fuel supply each year.
Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Al Franken, D-Minn., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and 27 other senators sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Thursday asking the agency to amend a proposal for the standard released in November that would lower the total renewable volume obligations for the first time in the mandate’s history.
The proposal has generated heated debate as biofuels supporters oppose any cuts to the standard. The oil industry and others, meanwhile, have lauded EPA for acknowledging its effort to scale back the mandate.
The senators, for their part, are siding with the biofuels industry and warn that a decision to scale-back the mandate would increase American reliance on foreign sources of fossil fuels and freeze investment in the renewable-fuel industry, leading to a loss of jobs for those employed by the industry.
“Congress passed the RFS to increase the amount of renewable fuel utilized in our nation’s fuel supply,” the letter states, adding: “The administration’s proposal is a significant step backward — undermining the goal of increasing biofuels production as a domestic alternative to foreign oil consumption.”
Also on Thursday, EPA sent letters to the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade association for the U.S. oil and natural-gas industry, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, a trade association representing fuel manufacturers, granting requests by both organizations for the agency to reconsider its cellulosic biofuels standard in the 2013 mandate on the grounds that the target amounts of cellulosic biofuels determined by last year’s mandate are unrealistic and unachievable.
EPA’s announcement that it will take a second look at the 2013 cellulosic target is likely to further open the door for opponents of the RFS to push for changes to the mandate.
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- 2 How Washington Derailed Amtrak
- 3 Smart Ideas: Criminal Justice Reform, Cybersecurity and Fighting ISIS
- 4 State Department Releases More Hillary Clinton Emails
- 5 Secret-Money Group Tied to Marco Rubio Super PAC Has Been Researching Presidential Primary Voters
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”