Toward a Comprehensive Energy Policy

Thu, 19 Jul 2007 11:45:00 GMT

Congressional Quarterly will sponsor a second CQ Forum on energy titled “Toward a Comprehensive Energy Policy,” featuring leading policy makers and stakeholders who will discuss how to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources, protect the environment and continue to provide energy for the economic growth of the nation as well as for our transportation needs.

Contact: Marie Kilroy at 202-419-8484 or [email protected]

RSVP required

Hyatt Regency Hotel, Thornton Room, 400 New Jersey Ave., N.W.

To continue consideration of H.R. 2419, the 2007 Farm Bill

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 14:00:00 GMT

From, summaries of the amendment votes at the markup session:

On the conservation front:

Farmers who earn too much to qualify for payments under the bil would be barred from receiving payments under farmland conservation programs, which worries environmentalists.

“Prohibiting and limiting large commercial farmers, in particular, from participating in conservation programs makes no sense,” said Scott Faber, who directs Environmental Defense’s farm policy campaign. “Large commercial farmers are more likely to participate in conservation programs and manage a disproportionately large share of the landscape.”

Amendments passed:
  • The “language barring farmers who make more than $1 million in annual adjusted gross income from collecting government subsidies, and also eliminating payments to those who earn $500,000 to $1 million a year if less than 67 percent of that income comes from farming” was amended by voice vote to “lift limits on marketing loans, which provide short-term loans so farmers can pay their bills until they sell their harvested crops. Aides said this concession by Peterson won support from Southern lawmakers, who worried that the bill would otherwise hurt cotton and rice growers.”
  • An amendment by Bob Etheridge, D-N.C., that would make federal dollars available to expand foreign markets for tobacco. The panel adopted the amendment 14-10, with Peterson’s support. North Carolina Republican Robin Hayes warned that without the support for U.S. growers, Chinese growers would dominate the tobacco industry. North Dakota Democrat Earl Pomeroy predicted the amendment would fail on the House floor. He said it “would endure withering criticism for using U.S. dollars to encourage other areas of the world to smoke.”
Passed by voice vote:
  • An amendment by Tim Walz, D-Minn., that would make it easier for farmers growing organic crops to enroll in the Conservation Security Program.
  • An amendment by Nick Lampson, D-Texas, that would create a one-time incentive program to encourage the market growth of oilseeds, which are lower in trans-fats.
  • An amendment by Sam Graves, R-Mo., that would bar farmers or companies defrauding the Agriculture Department from participating in the agency’s programs.
  • An amendment by K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, that would prevent the Agriculture Department from writing subsidy checks smaller than $25. It costs the department too much to write checks for smaller amounts, Conaway said.
  • An amendment by Jim Costa, D-Calif., that would require 50 percent of funding in the Regional Water Enhancement Program to be spent on new water preservation projects. Waterways in California and elsewhere could benefit from those federal dollars, Costa said.

Voluntary Carbon Offsets--Getting What You Pay For

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 13:30:00 GMT

Eager to be part of the solution to global warming, many consumers, businesses and government agencies have turned to carbon pollution offsets to help reduce or eliminate their “carbon footprint.” While these offsets represent a promising way to engage consumers in global warming solutions, there are many unanswered questions as to the efficacy and accounting of these unregulated commodities.

  • Derik Broekhoff, Senior Associate, World Resources Institute
  • Joseph Romm, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
  • Thomas Boucher, President and Chief Executive Officer, NativeEnergy LLC
  • Russ George, President and Chief Executive Officer, Planktos, Inc.
  • Erik Blachford, CEO, TerraPass Inc.

Contact: Moulton, David – Democratic Staff Director at 202-225-4012

From the Washington Post: At the hearing, Planktos CEO Russ George, whose company plans to engage in oceanic iron-seeding in the east Pacific, said the EPA was working with “radical environmental groups” who are criticizing his company. In written submissions, he said his firm’s work had been “falsely portrayed” to “generate public alarm.” George said “it’s the clearest ocean on Earth because it’s lifeless, and it’s not supposed to be that way.” He asserts that the potential is enormous. He said that the annual drop in ocean plant life was like losing all the rain forests every year. “If we succeed, we’ll have created an industry. If we don’t succeed, we’ll have created a lot of great science.”

More from the article at this post.

Agriculture Markup - FY 2008 Appropriations

Wed, 18 Jul 2007 13:00:00 GMT

Provisions of H.R. 2419, the 2007 Farm Bill

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 17:00:00 GMT

From Pacific Views live coverage:

The first House Agriculture Committee markup session on the 2007 Farm Bill began with Rep. Collin Peterson’s opening statement, followed by everyone else’s. Peterson said that Americans were fortunate to enjoy low, stable food prices, and food that meets the highest standards of quality and safety.

No markup, or voting on specific amendments, actually took place during today’s session. The last changes to the legislation weren’t made until late last night, and today was the first chance most members got to see the final versions, though Rep. Peterson said that the changes were minor in comparison to the version released a little over a week ago.

Peterson said that listening sessions all over the country indicated that the 2002 Farm Bill was popular and regarded as successful. Building from that as a platform, changes Peterson described as departing from 2002 policies included increased spending on research, investment in nutrition, and help for new farmers. He said it was also the first time there was dedicated baseline funding support for fruits and vegetables, as well as a hard cap on payments under the commodity and conservation programs, such that no one with an adjusted gross income of a million dollars or more is eligible.

Peterson further said that there would be a main version of the bill that strictly adhered to paygo, pay-as-you-go, budget guidelines. Other items not covered by this baseline funding would be included in a separate bill that would need to have budget offsets found for it.

Go to Pacific Views for full coverage.

The nominations of Robert Boldrey to the Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation, Kristine L. Svinicki to the NRC, and R. Lyle Laverty to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 14:00:00 GMT

The nominations of Robert Boldrey, of Michigan, to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation, Kristine L. Svinicki, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and R. Lyle Laverty, of Colorado, to be Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife

  • Senate Environment and Public Works Committee 406 Dirksen
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Agriculture Markup - FY 2008 Appropriations

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 14:00:00 GMT

Business meeting to markup proposed legislation making appropriations for the Department of Agriculture for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008

Debate on 2008 Energy and Water Earmarks 1

Tue, 17 Jul 2007 13:00:00 GMT

The House will have the floor debate on the $1.1 billion in member earmarks to the FY 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill (HR 2641) approved last week by the House Appropriations Committee in a voice vote.

The measure, House Report 110-185 Part 2 (full pdf), amounts to about 3 percent of the $31.6 billion the bill would provide to the Energy Department, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation and several independent agencies.

The committee estimates that $3.4 billion of the bill goes to elements dealing with climate change, $1 billion more than in the President’s budget request. More on the original bill below the fold.

Climate Change and Economic Growth

Thu, 12 Jul 2007 18:30:00 GMT

American Association for the Advancement of Science and the British Embassy will sponsor a discussion on climate change and its implications for maintaining economic growth. The speaker will be United Kingdom chief science adviser David King. Contact: Earl Lane at 202-326-6431 or [email protected]

Plug-In Hybrid Cars 1

Thu, 12 Jul 2007 14:00:00 GMT

House Select Energy Independence and Global Warming Committee (Chairman Markey, D-Mass.) will hold a hearing on the potential of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Contact: Moulton, David – Democratic Staff Director at 202-225-4012 Note: There will be a hands-on demonstration of plug-in hybrids at New Jersey Ave S.E. between C and D Sts. after the hearing.

  • Frank Gaffney – president, Center for Security Policy
  • Rob Lowe – actor and adocate
  • David Vieau – president and CEO, A123 Systems
  • Will Wynn – mayor, Austin, Texas

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