The House Committee on Agriculture, in a recent letter to the budget committee, boasts of being “proud to have made a significant contribution to deficit reduction with the passage of the (2014) farm bill.”
Americans are more likely than Europeans to be exposed to Monsanto’s glyphosate weed killer. That’s in large part because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s calculations to determine allowable levels of glyphosate use are much more lax than the European Union’s.
More than 3.5 billion pounds of glyphosate herbicide have been sprayed in the U.S. since it first hit the market as Monsanto’s “Roundup” in 1974, according to a paper published today by agricultural economist Charles Benbrook in the open-access journal Environmental Sciences Europe.
The price tag for subsidizing cottonseed turns out to be a whopping $10 billion over the next 10 years. The cotton industry wants to take that big chunk of change out of the pockets of taxpayers who are already hard-pressed.
In 2014, Congress eliminated direct payments to farmers, replacing them with two new subsidy programs known as Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC County) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The Congressional Budget Office declared that that this switch would save taxpayers billions of dollars over the life of the Farm Bill. It didn't.
The corn ethanol mandate requires refiners to blend more and more ethanol into gasoline. But there is already a “natural” marketplace demand for ethanol. If there were no mandate, gasoline refiners would still blend corn ethanol to boost octane and as an oxygenate to lower tailpipe pollutants.
Volkswagen could be fined up to $90 billion for violating the federal Clean Air Act by jerry-rigging diesel engines to burn cleaner on emissions tests. The added air pollution will cause up to 60 premature deaths of Americans a year. But there's a deadlier source of dirty air than VW diesels – one that's actually touted as reducing air pollution: corn ethanol.
Huge multinational corporations are selling off their crop insurance businesses. The reason, according to the industry, is that business is just too bad, despite billions in federal subsidies. What they don’t point out is other multinationals are snapping up those same companies.
Some corn ethanol lobbyists are pushing to triple the amount of ethanol American fuel makers put into gasoline, moving from the current blend, called E10, or 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent corn ethanol to E30, which would be 70 percent gasoline and 30 percent corn ethanol. They argue that using more of their so-called renewable fuel would benefit the environment.
As in past years, EWG asked its staff of scientists, policy analysts and governmental and communications specialists to vote on what they considered the 10 most important stories of 2015 in two categories: stories that relate specifically to agriculture and those that involve general environmental issues. The rest of the agriculture list is below. To see the staff’s ranking of general environmental stories, got to EWG’s Enviroblog.
What could a member of Congress who has collected more than $3 million in federal cotton subsidies want in his Christmas stocking this year? If you’re Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), the answer is: more taxpayer giveaways to cotton farmers.
You may have seen the headlines yesterday claiming bacon is better for the environment than lettuce. Bacon cheeseburger lovers may have cheered the news, but a closer look shows the claim has more sizzle than substance. The study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University said if Americans followed federal dietary guidelines to eat more fruits and vegetables, farm energy use would go up 38 percent and the carbon emissions that cause global warming would rise by 6 percent.
Greed, at least when it comes to the cotton industry and its lobbyists, isn’t taking a break this holiday season. Cotton farmers cut a sweet deal in the 2014 farm bill. In return for their very own income support program – the Stacked Income Protection Plan, or STAX – the growers agreed they wouldn’t dip into two other federal assistance programs ginned up to stabilize the incomes of growers of corn, wheat and other favored crops.
Last year EWG found serious flaws behind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to let Dow Chemical Co. sell a new weed poison combining 2,4-D and glyphosate for use on genetically engineered crops, or GMOs.
In a letter to Congressional leaders sent this week, nearly 300 environmental advocacy, farming and fishing groups and food companies voiced strong opposition to a plan to tack a provision onto the omnibus appropriations bill that would deny consumers the right to know what it is in their food and how it is grown.
Corn ethanol, once thought of as a way for the U.S. to cut carbon pollution, is conspicuously absent from the emissions reduction plan the White House submitted ahead of the global climate conference in Paris. The plan would reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 28 percent from 2005 levels, but it didn’t even mention corn ethanol, or the federal mandate known as the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The head of the crop insurance industry's trade group is objecting to an EWG analysis that found that crop insurance companies could easily absorb cuts to their taxpayer-guaranteed rate of return. But a study commissioned by his own organization shows just how well crop insurance companies are doing.