An anti-ethanol coalition that spans conservatives, Pizza Hut franchises, and clean-air advocates is pressing House lawmakers to pare back the national biofuels mandate beyond what the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed.
A letter to senior House lawmakers Monday brings together over 30 advocacy groups and industry interests such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, several grocery and meat industry groups, and the Clean Air Task Force.
The EPA floated a draft plan in November that cuts the amount of ethanol and other biofuels that must be blended into the nation’s motor-fuel supply in 2014. The proposal was a defeat for the ethanol industry and its Capitol Hill allies, who are now waging a campaign to reverse the EPA plan.
But the new letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan leadership from ethanol critics, led by the National Council of Chain Restaurants, says that EPA didn’t go far enough in restricting the “unworkable” ethanol mandate.
It says only Congress has the power to make big changes to the biofuels blending mandate that’s known as the renewable-fuel standard.
“[T]he proposed [EPA] reduction is small in percentage terms and would do little to decrease pressure on corn demand or lower ethanol’s share of U.S. annual corn production,” the groups state.
“At these volumes corn ethanol will continue to provide perverse incentives to overplant corn, distort commodity and energy markets, and wreak economic and environmental havoc,” states the letter signed by groups such as the American Frozen Food Institute, the National Grocers Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Taxpayers for Common Sense, the International Pizza Hut Franchise Holders Association, and the National Turkey Federation.
What We're Following See More »
Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."
In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin gives Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the longread treatment. The scourge of corrupt New York pols, bad actors on Wall Street, and New York gang members, Bharara learned at the foot of Chuck Schumer, the famously limelight-hogging senator whom he served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff. No surprise then, that after President Obama appointed him, Bharara "brought a media-friendly approach to what has historically been a closed and guarded institution. In professional background, Bharara resembles his predecessors; in style, he’s very different. His personality reflects his dual life in New York’s political and legal firmament. A longtime prosecutor, he sometimes acts like a budding pol; his rhetoric leans more toward the wisecrack than toward the jeremiad. He expresses himself in the orderly paragraphs of a former high-school debater, but with deft comic timing and a gift for shtick."
President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.
The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"