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Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Latest from AgMag

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

 

If your family got its water from your own well (and a lot of people do), what would you say to someone who wanted to pump a whole grab-bag of chemicals into the ground nearby, including some that are known to be toxic or to cause cancer? Just guessing here, but I suspect you’d send him on his way with a few choice words.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“Our research shows that native grassland is being converted into cropland at an alarming rate throughout the Prairie Pothole Region,” said Greg Fogel, study co-author and MS/MPP candidate at the University of Michigan. “As a result, populations of sensitive wildlife species are declining significantly in areas with high increases in corn plantings.” According to the report, U.S. ethanol capacity has grown almost 200 percent since the passage of the 2005 Energy Bill, which mandated a large increase in domestic ethanol production. In addition, the updated Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), passed in 2007, requires corn ethanol production to increase from 10.57 billion gallons in 2009 to 15 billion in 2015.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Reliable Big Ag accomplice Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, made clear last week that he plans to vote NO on the pending climate bill, after signaling as much this spring.  Peterson's move comes after he extracted lucrative concessions in the bill for Big Ag -- concessions that were sold as crucial to securing agriculture's support for the legislation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Last summer, EWG President Ken Cook dropped in on the Kickapoo Country Fair held by Organic Valley - a farmer-owned cooperative of more than 1,300 organic family farmers nationwide – in LaFarge, Wisc.  There he was interviewed by Dorothee Royal-Hedinger, the host, web video producer and blogger for OrganicNation.TV website.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The word hypocrisy gets tossed around a lot in Washington, where money and power masquerade as character and values. Rarely does the hypocrisy reach such craven heights, however, as a recent request from the leading ethanol trade group, Growth Energy.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

The Center For America Progress's Eric Alterman and Mickey Ehrlich have written an interesting piece on recent legislation and the impact that campaign contributions from well-funded special interests have had on the final shape of critical bills.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric aired a piece on Thursday (Jan. 8 ) called Where America Stands on Obesity. The report cites many factors for the nation's current obesity epidemic, including some that haven't gotten much attention.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's tough to rattle a scientist's cage. But Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau, has found a way by scoffing repeatedly at the biblical calamities that climate change is predicted to bring down on agriculture. Stallman denies that climate change even exists and pounds the denier drum daily to the members of America's largest agriculture organization.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson is the new head of the Chesapeake Executive Council, replacing Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. The panel, which sets policy for the federal-state effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay's health, met this week to make the shift official.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Could Byron Dorgan, the U.S. senator from North Dakota who just announced that he won't run again, be the next target for Growth Energy's New York Yankees-style spending spree for top DC talent?

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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Michael Pollan made an appearance on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart Monday night to promote his latest book, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual. He came out swinging at Big Ag and the subsidies doled out to commodity crops such as corn and soybeans that are artificially cheap and have "a very high cost in terms of health and terms of the environment."

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A flurry of blog postings in the last two days have pointed out that the conservative Minnesota congresswoman, who has regularly attacked President Obama’s health care and foreclosure relief proposals as “socialism,” takes full advantage of taxpayer dollars through the dysfunctional federal farm subsidy program – to the tune of $259,332 paid to a family farm between 1995 and 2008.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
The 10 most important stories from EWG's blog in 2009.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In an unprecedented analysis of 20 million drinking water quality tests performed by water utilities between 2004 and 2009, EWG found that water suppliers had detected a total of 316 contaminants in water delivered to the public. The pollutants detected included 202 chemicals that have no mandatory safety standards for tap water, which were found in water supplied to approximately 132 million people in 9,454 communities across the country. These unregulated chemicals include the weed killer metolachlor.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

 

The Cato Institute's Sallie James has an eye-popping post on Cato's Liberty blog: Well, here’s an interesting, if three-weeks-old, story. Apparently the North Dakota Farm Bureau’s annual convention recently passed a policy calling for the elimination of all agricultural programs. 

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Friday, December 4, 2009

In October, EWG released a report that questioned the misguided claims made by farm lobby organizations and their patrons in Congress who are arguing that climate change legislation would cause devastating increases in the costs of production. Crying Wolf clearly demonstrated that any increases in farmers' production costs would be minimal and would be lost in the background noise of annual swings in income caused by yield variation, crop prices and the cost of seed and chemicals -- a small price to pay to protect agriculture from the crippling droughts, volatile weather and increased pest and disease outbreaks expected as the planet warms.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

WASHINGTON December 1 –The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said today that it will wait until mid-2010 to decide whether to grant a waiver request that would allow up to 15 percent ethanol in gasoline. Growth Energy, an ethanol trade and lobby group, requested the waiver. EPA based its decision on the need to conduct more tests to determine the higher blend’s impact on engines. Under current federal rules gasoline can contain no more than 10 percent ethanol.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

 

Taking steps to confront the threat of a warming planet would have the huge added payoff of making people healthier around the globe, a group of scientists have concluded in a unique package of new research papers.

The health “co-benefits” of cutting greenhouse gas emissions include significantly cutting rates of heart and artery disease, respiratory infections, strokes, various cancers, lung disease and dementia, the scientists found. They argue that the financial savings from these health gains could offset a significant portion of the economic cost of reducing emissions.

Monday, November 30, 2009

 

By Craig Cox, Environmental Working Group Midwest vice-president.

Growth Energy, a corn ethanol lobby group, is grossly exaggerating the economic benefits that a higher ethanol blend in the nation’s fuel supply would bring. The group claims that granting its petition to increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline from 10 percent to 15 percent would create an additional 136,101 “green jobs.”

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Monday, November 30, 2009

Law professor Neil Hamilton penned a harsh critique of the Farm Bureau's dangerously shortsighed  opposition to climate change legislation in a guest column in yesterday's Des Moines Register. Hamilton is director of the Agricultural Law Center at Iowa's Drake University. He and Drake students will be traveling to Copenhagen next month for the United Nations climate change negotiations as part of the Iowa U.N.

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