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The Latest from AgMag

Monday, February 7, 2011

The government's decision to allow sale of gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol, so-called E15 gasoline, means that one of these days we'll likely be pulling into gas stations that could have as many as four pumps with different kinds of fuel: one for E10 (up to 10 percent ethanol); one for E15; possibly one for E85 (between 70 and 85 percent ethanol); and – if we're very lucky – maybe one for pure gasoline. (But don't count on that.)

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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Iowa caucuses are more than a year away but potential 2012 presidential hopefuls are already parachuting into corn country to pander to Big Ag. Perennially coy Newt Gingrich is only the latest to genuflect before Iowa’s long reigning monarch – King Corn. Delivering the keynote address at the Renewable Fuels Association summit (Jan. 25), the former Republican Speaker of the House (Speaker’s Bureau fee listed at $40,000+) and tax cutting champion called for continued mandates and support for the 30-year old corn ethanol industry.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Big agribusiness hates it when we talk dirty. The Dirty Dozen that is, EWG's list of fresh fruits and vegetables that are most likely to carry pesticide residues.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New school food standards proposed last week by the Obama administration could nearly double the amount of fruits and vegetables that more than 32 million kids eat every day.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Last week was a reminder – if I needed it – of just how out of touch the powerful farm lobby is with the rest of America.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Here’s who lost out today (Jan. 21) when the Environmental Protection Agency decided to allow the use of fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) in any gas-powered car or truck built since 2001:

  • Car owners whose engines and catalytic converters may be damaged even as auto makers void their warranties.
  • Owners of lawnmowers, outboard motors, chain saws, ATVs and a host of other outdoor tools whose engines will break down if they’re fueled with E15.
  • The environment, as this misguided policy encourages all-out corn production and the massive water pollution that results, ultimately reinforcing the devastating “dead zones” in the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay.
  • Birds and other wildlife, which will lose habitat as large-scale farmers expand into marginal and highly erodible land.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A group of corn ethanol producers is mounting an aggressive campaign they call their “Fueling Freedom Plan” that would have taxpayers spend scarce resources on biofuels pipelines, gas station pumps and other infrastructure development in order to put ethanol on “a level playing field” with gasoline – and into the tank of every engine in America.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

In mid-December, as millions of American school children were eagerly anticipating their holiday break of sleeping late and no homework, President Obama signed into law the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Food and agriculture policy always comes down to money: how federal dollars will be prioritized and spent.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 10 most important stories from EWG's AgMag blog in 2010.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Whether it’s from flood, fire or a tornado, there are few more devastating events than losing a home. But it’s hard to equal the shock of having your house suddenly just blow up.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Indications are that the wasteful corn ethanol tax credit may be included in a legislative deal negotiated by the Obama White House to extend tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush. Last week the Environmental Working Group published a top ten list of reasons why Congress should allow the ethanol tax credit to expire at the end of the year.

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

The $1.15 billion settlement awarded to black farmers to compensate for decades of discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) become a reality yesterday (Dec. 8) as President Obama signed the funding legislation in a White House ceremony.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

For more than thirty years, contamination from high-intensity farming has been adding to the pollution that fouls Chesapeake Bay, one of America’s most storied waterways. A new report from the Environmental Working Group today (Dec 7) shows that weakly regulated agricultural practices in the six states of the Chesapeake watershed are overloading soils with phosphorus, a major reason the bay is in trouble.

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Rumors are flying that the lame duck Congress will attach an extension of the so-called ethanol “blender’s tax credit” to a bill to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts as part of a broader deal. Here are the Top 10 reasons – based on previously released EWG research – why Congress should say no to the tax credit extension.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

By Dusty Horwitt, EWG Senior Counsel

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said this week that his department is weighing a plan to require energy companies to disclose what chemicals they use when hydraulically fracturing wells on federal land, a welcome step that would help to lift the veil of secrecy that usually shrouds the toxic mixtures used in the process. We commend him for this proposal and urge him to take action.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

On Wednesday (Dec 1), 15 senators from Corn Belt states sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell asking them to extend the ethanol tax credits and tariff protection that expire at the end of the month.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DTN Progressive Farmer political correspondent Jerry Hagstrom is reporting that black farmers' claims against the US Department of Agriculture  "could be settled today if the House, as expected, takes up a $4.5 billion bill the Senate passed just before Thanksgiving to settle the Pigford II black farmers’ discrimination case against USDA."

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Tea party backers, environmental groups, faith-based organizations, and the bulk of the U.S. meat and dairy industry joined forces today, calling on Congressional leaders to eliminate a wasteful taxpayer-funded subsidy that largely lines the pockets of companies that blend ethanol with fuel, including BP, Shell and Chevron. Go here to read the letter asking Congress to roll back support for corn ethanol from 59 groups.

Monday, November 22, 2010

 

The cut-spending, small government posse that rode the Tea Party wave into Congress -- but just happens to cash in on federal farm subsidies -- is now using national defense as a shield for  its contradictory stance. Vicky Hartzler, recently elected to Congress from Missouri and recipient of $774,000 in farm subsidies since 1995, played the national defense card when confronted over her haul of taxpayer dollars: "Everything should be on the table," she says. While she says some agriculture programs represent a "national defense issue" because they help guarantee that "we have a safety net to make sure we have food security in our country."

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