On Tuesday June 26, Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack, a Democrat who represents Iowa's second district, announced that he was introducing the U.S. Senate-passed farm bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. Joining as co-sponsors of the bill were Iowa Congressman Bruce Braley, a Democrat who represents Iowa's first district, and Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, a Democrat.
The introduced legislation is HR 2498 and it is identical to the U.S. Senate version which was passed by the Senate on June 10, 2013. The House voted on its version of the farm bill two weeks ago and unfortunately, the legislation failed to pass. The Iowa Corn Growers Association supports this bill, yet it is unclear at this time whether, or by what strategy, the House leadership will allow consideration for the new farm bill. The current farm bill expires September 30. "ICGA appreciates congressmen Loebsack and Braley for encouraging movement on a new five-year farm bill," says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, government affairs director for the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
There's support from Democrats—at least in the form of a refusal to allow more stopgap measures. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid warned earlier last week that the Senate would not pass an extension of the farm bill again, urging House Speaker John Boehner to quickly pass the Senate's bill. With the likelihood of an extension apparently weak, the two Iowa congressmen, Loebsack and Braley, note that the Senate bill may not be perfect but Senate Democrats and Republicans were able to come together to get a farm bill passed, and the House should do the same.
United States Supreme Court rejects effort to block E15 ethanol sales
In other corn related news last week, on Monday June 24 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court ruling which upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's approval of E15 ethanol blended fuel. This effectively rejected the effort by big oil companies to block E15 sales.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The original lawsuit from which the appeal came was filed by the American Petroleum Institute. The lawsuit claimed that the EPA did not have the authority to grant waivers allowing the use of E15, a 15% ethanol fuel blend, in 2001 and newer vehicles. The Iowa Corn Growers Association supports the court's decision, says Poldberg.
President Obama announces climate action plan to address climate change
On Tuesday June 25, President Obama announced his comprehensive plan addressing climate change. The plan includes three main objectives: cut carbon pollution in the U.S., prepare the U.S. for climate change impacts, and lead international efforts to address global climate change. Click here for a summary of the plan that is being made available by the White House. Details of the plan are not yet known.
The President's plan specifically states that the "Administration supports the Renewable Fuels Standard, and is investing in research and development to help bring next-generation biofuels on line." The plan addresses agricultural sustainability by proposing seven new Regional Climate Hubs "to deliver tailored, science-based knowledge to farmers, ranchers and forest landowners." The plan states that regional hubs will partner with universities and other departments to provide technical support.
ICGA members are reminded to complete the corn policy survey
"As a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association you have the opportunity to help drive ICGA policy change by participating in ICGA's annual policy process," says Poldberg. "To help guide the ICGA policies for 2013-14, please complete our short online survey which addresses issues that are likely to get political attention in the near future. If you have comments on issues that are not included on the survey, make sure to add them to the comments section at the end of the survey. Those who complete the online survey by July 2 will be entered into a drawing to win $100 in ethanol certificates." To complete the online survey, please click here.