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The Latest from AgMag

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

From Maine to Washington state, from Ohio to Florida, electric utilities have been embracing “biomass power” as a way to reduce dependence on coal and other fossil fuels and to meet ambitious goals for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. And both state energy policies and the pending federal climate and energy legislation are designed to encourage the trend by providing huge incentives.

Key Issues: 
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

At least 30 million acres of America’s forests could be cut down and used for fuel at US power plants if renewable fuels and biomass provisions of current Congressional climate and energy proposals aren’t radically revised. This will send a massive 4.7 billion ton pulse of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that would accelerate global warming as it drastically erodes forests’ ability to pull carbon out the atmosphere.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent a whopping $17 billion to subsidize corn-ethanol blends in gasoline. What did they get in return? A reduction in overall oil consumption equal to an unimpressive 1.1 mile-per-gallon increase in fleet-wide fuel economy. Worse, ethanol’s much ballyhooed contribution to reducing America’s dependence on imported oil looks even smaller – the equivalent to a measly six-tenths of a mile per gallon fleet-wide.

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Between 2005 and 2009, U.S. taxpayers spent a whopping $17 billion to subsidize corn ethanol blends in gasoline. What did they get in return? A reduction in overall oil consumption equal to an unimpressive 1.1 mile-per-gallon increase in fleet-wide fuel economy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In the month since EWG's 2010 update of our Farm Subsidy Database, subsidy recipients and program defenders have been reacting in interesting ways to the new data. Here's a roundup:

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Starting this week (June1) in Washington, DC, the National Corn Growers Association and its affiliated state associations are rolling out a $1 million ad campaign to boost corn's tarnished image. It’s targeted at lawmakers in the nation's capital, the people who control corn's fate in terms both of environmental regulation and the lavish and increasingly hard-to-justify federal subsidies for the ubiquitous crop, which have totaled $73.8 billion in taxpayer dollars since 1995.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The 2008 farm bill included a new program to replace ad hoc disaster appropriations that have averaged $2 billion per year in recent years. The Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) Program takes into account a farm’s revenue, crop insurance indemnities, and other income in order to assure a guaranteed revenue in the event of natural disasters.  The program was projected to cost taxpayers about $4 billion over five years.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

On April 23, the Environmental Working Group’s Rebecca Sutton, PhD, submitted a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency articulating EWG’s support for the Agency's proposed pollution controls. Her letter also urged the EPA to step up its efforts to combat one of the biggest threats to the bay — phosphorous and nitrogen runoff from agriculture — as it goes forward with regulatory and enforcement strategies.

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Monday, May 24, 2010

There is increasing attention on the restriction of access to government records on taxpayer funded farm subsidies reported by the Environmental Working Group. 74 percent of payments administered by the US Department of Agriculture from 1995-2009 go to the top ten percent of the largest and wealthiest farm operations.

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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Environmental Working Group has worked hard to track the billions lavished on the wealthiest and largest farm operations in the country, in the hope that releasing the information would spur public demand for a sane and sensible agriculture policy.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Environmental Working Group’s updated Farm Subsidy Database, released May 5, chronicles where federal farm subsidy dollars have gone from 1995 through 2009, revealing the true impact of farm programs and showing who really benefits from the billions in farm subsidies U.S. taxpayers pay out each year.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Environmental Working Group Senior Analyst Kari Hamerschlag used EWG's new farm subsidy database to take a deep, critical look at the subsidy system in California. She found (pdf) that although cotton and rice constitute a tiny portion of California’s nation-leading farm production, those two crops – rather than the state’s vast harvest of fruits and vegetables – continue to get the lion’s share of federal farm subsidies in the state.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's too early to tell what the Tea Party movement's impact will be on the November elections, but there's no doubt that their noisy anti-big government message has barged into the nation's political conversation in a big way. So don't you think it's odd that Tea Party candidates have had so little to say about one area of wasteful spending that all limited government advocates should be able to agree on -- the farm subsidy programs administered by the US Department of Agriculture?

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

By Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook

Washington paid out a quarter of a trillion dollars in federal farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009, but to characterize the programs as either a "big government" bailout or another form of welfare would be manifestly unfair – to bailouts and welfare.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

In the three months since assuming the chairmanship of the Chesapeake Executive Council, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson has directed several encouraging new initiatives.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

For years the Environmental Working Group has advocated for a more rational farm policy that would provide a better safety net for more American farmers. We've done this while also seeking to promote ecological sustainability and reduce perverse incentives that lead to environmental degradation.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

On several counts, a recent Rochester Institute of Technology study ( March 29) hailed by the corn ethanol lobby falls short of bringing reliable science to the ethanol blend debate. With a glut of ethanol on their hands, the ethanol industry hopes to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline by 50 percent.

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Monday, April 12, 2010

The surest way to ensure that second-generation advanced biofuels remain in their test tubes and never see the spark of an engine is to pass a piece of legislation recently introduced (Feb. 14) by Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa).

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Friday, April 9, 2010

If you’ve ever wished that one day there would be a place where you could grab a bacon and cheese pileup with no veggies, smashed between slabs of fried chicken instead of buns, here’s good news.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This week (April 6), US officials struck a deal aimed at staving off Brazilian trade retaliation for subsidies paid to American cotton growers. Brazil had won the right  to impose tariffs and lift patent protections on $829 million in U.S. goods in a 2009 World Trade Organization ruling that the cotton subsidies and export credit guarantees violated global trade rules.

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