Klobuchar Opposes Ethanol Refinery Waivers

Fight brewing as Trump favors big oil in Alaska

The Story:

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D – MN), a candidate for President, has come out against refinery waivers on the ethanol rules. This is an intensifying fight between the agribusiness and the oil industry lobbies, and Klobucher has sided with the former.

Background:

Chemically, “ethanol” is simply drinking alcohol. But the term “ethanol” is used when the compound is taken from the starch in corn and used as a clean fuel, or as an additive to other fossil-based fuels. Most cars in use in the U.S. today can run on a mixture with up to 10% ethanol.

Under a system administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, oil refineries are required either to blend their crude with biofuels, most typically ethanol, in the process of creating gasoline, or to purchase credits from other refiners who do the blending. But the system also allows the EPA to waive the requirement for smaller refineries if compliance would cause significant financial strain.

The gasoline industry has been pushing for a more extensive use of such waivers, and agribusiness has been pushing back, seeking to have the requirements applied across the board.

The Thing to Know:

The first nominating contest between the candidates for President is the Iowa caucus, which in this cycle will take place on February 3, 2020. More than half of Iowa’s corn crop becomes ethanol fuel. Klobuchar’s jaundiced view of the refinery waiver must be understood in that context.

Goodbye to Scott Pruitt, the worst EPA administrator of all time

scott pruitt

Scott Pruitt has been cruelly misunderstood. Now that he has quit as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s time to set the record straight. You see, he wasn’t just protecting the environment. He was protecting our president’s soul.

“My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people,” Pruitt wrote to Trump as he shuffled off this mortal coil of government. “I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence. I believe that same providence brought me into your service.”

You can believe in the science of climate change if you like. Scott Pruitt believes he is a saint, which you can clearly see from his many martyrdoms.

For starters, he wasn’t asking his security detail to drive around looking for Ritz-Carlton moisturizing lotion for the sake of his complexion. People outside the EPA have no idea just how much rising temperatures can dry out a cabinet official’s skin. Think of it more like a federal exploration of how climate change affects the epidermis of the executive branch.

Speaking of hotels, what kind of malice does it take to suggest that his desperate need for a used mattress from a Trump hotel was some kind of prima donna exercise in sucking up to his boss? You don’t need to have a Harvard medical degree to know that a good night’s sleep might be all that separates us from a newly negotiated Paris climate deal.

Yes, of course people have gossiped endlessly about our tireless protector of the environment seeking out a meeting with the CEO of Chick-fil-A to scope out a job for his wife. But honestly, their chicken is rather delicious, even if their politics are not. Besides, how are you going to sell environmental protection to Trump Country without a huge supply of fried food?

Some people have sounded shocked that Pruitt would want cut-price accommodation from a Washington lobbyist, or get his young staffers to pay his hotel bills without reimbursing them.

But in a cabinet stacked full of super-wealthy Mnuchins and Cohns and Rosses – never mind the less-wealthy Trumps – Pruitt was just a poor boy making good. All those camels couldn’t pass through the eye of a needle like a man who spends lobbyist and staffer money.

Saint Scott is an epochal figure, it’s true.

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EPA Head Says He Needs to Fly First Class Because People Are Mean to Him in Coach

(WASHINGTON) — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has broken months of silence about his frequent premium-class flights at taxpayer expense, saying he needs to fly first class because of unpleasant interactions with other travelers.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt spoke about his flight costs on Tuesday in a pair of interviews in New Hampshire, following a first-class flight to meet with the state’s Republican governor and tour a toxic waste site.

Pruitt told the New Hampshire Union Leader he had some “incidents” on flights shortly after his appointment by President Donald Trump last year.

“We live in a very toxic environment politically, particularly around issues of the environment,” said Pruitt, who confirmed to the newspaper that he had flown first class from Washington to Boston before continuing on to New Hampshire. “We’ve reached the point where there’s not much civility in the marketplace and it’s created, you know, it’s created some issues and the (security) detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat.”

Pruitt is the first EPA administrator to have a 24-hour security detail that accompanies him at all times, even at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. He has also taken other security precautions, including the addition of a $25,000 soundproof “privacy booth” to prevent eavesdropping on his phone calls and spending $3,000 to have his office swept for hidden listening devices.

Pruitt said he was not involved in the decision for him to fly first class.

“There have been instances, unfortunately, during my time as administrator, as I’ve flown and spent time, of interaction that’s not been the best,” Pruitt told WMUR TV in Manchester, New Hampshire. “And, so, ingress and egress off the plane … that’s all decisions all made by our (security) detail team, by the chief of staff,…