Thursday, June 9, 2016

Reducing the RFS, Bad for the Environment and Economy, Farmers Tell EPA

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, June 9, 2016 – The Environmental Protection Agency must protect the Renewable Fuel Standard as Congress originally defined it nearly a decade ago, Iowa farmer Randy Caviness told the EPA at a public hearing today. He testified on behalf of Iowa Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

“EPA’s decision not to follow the intent of Congress in the 2007 RFS is highly disappointing to all of agriculture,” said Caviness, who also serves as a member of AFBF Issue’s Advisory Committee on Energy. “This decision strikes a blow to conventional ethanol production and dampens the prospects for the further development of advanced biofuels.”

Caviness is a firm believer in clean energy, and his farm is proof of it. He has farmed for 28 years without energy-intensive tilling and leads initiatives to install wind turbines in his home county of Adair and neighboring Cass County.

Caviness told EPA that renewable fuels are an American success story and critical to keeping our nation moving forward in reducing dependence on foreign oil and providing well-paying jobs in rural America. EPA’s proposal to reduce the RFS would hurt agriculture and rural economies at a time when farmers are already struggling with a down-turned economy.

“Our nation’s farmers can grow more bushels of corn and soybeans on fewer acres to feed and fuel the world,” Caviness said. “But if these reduced volumes are finalized, this decision will stall growth and progress in renewable fuels as well as the broader agricultural economy.”

Philadelphia City Council Adopts Historic Tax on Soda

CSPI Urges Other Cities and States to Raise Revenue, Protect Public Health with Soda Taxes
WASHINGTON—A proposed 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and diet soda cleared a key committee hurdle in Philadelphia’s City Council today in a major victory for Mayor Jim Kenney, who proposed such a tax to pay for a major expansion of pre-K education and other programs.  The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest today congratulated Mayor Kenney and the Council and called on other jurisdictions to tax soda both to raise revenue, but also to improve public health by reducing consumption of non-diet drinks, which are associated with increased risks of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other health problems.
“When voters in Berkeley enacted a tax on soda in 2014, the soda industry claimed that that city didn’t ‘look like mainstream America,’” said CSPI president Michael F. Jacobson.  “That insult wasn’t true in the case of Berkeley and it certainly isn’t true in the case of Philadelphia.  The vote today in Philadelphia is perhaps the most important defeat for Big Soda since the adoption of a nationwide soda tax in Mexico.  We expect that Philadelphia’s action will embolden mayors, city council members, governors, and state legislators from around the country to make these sensible taxes on soda the rule, and not the exception.”
In a compromise, the Council reduced the proposed tax from three-cents-per-ounce to 1.5-cents per ounce, and applied the tax to diet as well as full-calorie soda.  Today’s vote in the Committee of the Whole paves the way for another vote before the Council next week.
Voters in Oakland will consider one-cent-per-ounce taxes on soda at the ballot box in November.  An earlier attempt in San Francisco won majority support but failed to achieve the two-thirds it then needed.  This November, a simple majority would do since the revenue will not be specifically earmarked.  Organizers in San Francisco are seeking to put a one-cent-per-ounce soda tax on that city’s November ballot, while advocates in Boulder are seeking to put a two-cent-per-ounce tax on its ballot.  The United Kingdom will implement a tax on soda in 2018.  The Conservative government there proposed the new tax in March