Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You know the Iowa caucuses are drawing near...

When the EPA and Dept. of Agriculture tour Iowa to hump the dubious merits of dirty-air-causing ethanol. And no mention that the farm lobby is fighting against any EPA limits on dangerous large particle pollution. But let them speak for themselves...

From BNA Daily Environment Report:

Vilsack Says Support of Ethanol Industry
Is Key Part of Strategy to Reduce Foreign Oil

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said April 19 that the administration's commitment to support the biofuel industry is a big component of its plan to reduce reliance on unstable supplies of foreign oil.

“Agriculture has an important role in this,” he told a teleconference he co-hosted with Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to talk about their visit earlier in the day with renewable energy leaders, farmers, and ranchers in Iowa.

...Vilsack said he and Jackson traveled in Iowa together to emphasize the partnership between USDA and EPA in ensuring the continuing productivity of U.S. agriculture.

“USDA will continue to work hand-in-hand with EPA to ensure that both agencies are pursuing common-sense regulation that will let farmers make the decisions they feel are best for their own operations,” Vilsack said in a prepared statement.

“EPA's mission to safeguard clean air, clear water and productive land is a critical part of sustaining farming jobs and productivity, and it's vital that we communicate and work together on these issues we share,” Jackson said in the same statement.

EPA Waiver on Limiting Ethanol

For example, EPA's recent decision to waive a limitation on selling gasoline that contains more than 10 percent ethanol represents one of several steps needed from federal and state governments and industry to commercialize E15 gasoline blends, a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, the two agencies said (15 DEN A-9, 1/24/11).

In addition, the renewable fuel standard EPA proposed will encourage farmers to continue to work with industry to innovate and provide the nation with a source of clean renewable fuel, they said. “At the same time, it will create jobs around the country and increase farmers' income by $13 billion annually,” the agencies said.

During the teleconference, Jackson said farmers did not tell “EPA to go away” or say they were anti-regulation, but told the agency their concerns were that “rules and regulations were practical on the ground.”

Jackson said she learned on the tour about the “remarkable innovation” happening now on farms to make crops more productive while simultaneously helping air and water quality.

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