Agricultural and environmental interests may be at odds

Photo by OakleyOriginals; Flickr
Photo by OakleyOriginals; Flickr

Earlier this week, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and several other members of the Senate Agriculture Committee met with U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. The aim of the closed-door meeting was to clarify several intersections between environmental regulations and agricultural practices.

However, the meeting failed to resolve tensions between the two interests. Grassley released a statement noting his discontent with the EPA’s efforts, stating that “the meeting did little to alleviate [his] concerns.”

Issues discussed in the meeting included methane emission regulations, the amount of ethanol in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, and U. S. Supreme Court decisions on the 1972 Clean Water Act. EPA officials maintain that agricultural exemptions are still in place, while Republican senators claim that the Agency is overreaching.

Republican committee members had called for the meeting in a May 23 letter.

Grassley looks to limit farm dust regulations

Photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Senator Chuck Grassley is concerned that the Environmental Protection Agency is over-regulating dust production in rural areas. For the past five year Grassley has opposed the EPA’s dust regulations, and he just proposed a bill blocking some of these restrictions. The bill looks to both stop the EPA from changing the dust standard during the next year, and to increase the EPA’s leniency towards rural areas.

The Oskaloosa News reports: Continue reading

Senate debates ethanol subsidies

Photo by Chazz Layne, Flickr

Tempers are flaring over a proposed elimination of ethanol subsidies. The Huffington Post reports that politicians, including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, are not short on opinions when it comes to this issue. Those in favor of the measure argue that the subsidies are unnecessary and too costly:

“The days of placing spending programs in the tax code and giving them holy status are over,” [Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.] said. “Ethanol is bad economic policy, bad energy policy and bad environmental policy.”

Coburn’s measure is supported by conservative groups such as the Club for Growth and environmental groups such as the Sierra Club.

“The ethanol subsidy is an abomination, a bad deal for taxpayers and destructive to economic growth,” Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said. Continue reading