Author Archive

WTO Ruling Forces the Repeal of Popular U.S. Law

‘Twas the night before Christmas in 2002 when I received notice the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had confirmed America’s first case of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). At the time, I was an elected representative of the dairy industry in the Northwest, and random sampling found an infected slaughtered milk cow in Washington State. […]

“Green” Energy: The Color of Money

In light of the recent legal filing for creditor protection by Spain-based, Abengoa, Inc., the viability of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is getting appropriate scrutiny and reconsideration. Through that program, the giant green-energy company received billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in grants, loans, and subsidies. Still, last week they were forced to close their […]

New EPA Employee Bonuses Spark OIG Investigation

Back in the day, if you needed to relocate for a new job, you could elicit the aid of a few strapping young men for little more than the cost of a pizza and a six-pack of beer. Add the cost of a rental truck, and you could probably recoup your expenses after the first paycheck. Today, the same […]

Renewable Fuel Standard Mandates, or Not?

The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) provisions of The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), mandates an increasing blend of renewable products into our domestic fuel supply. The law amends the Clean Air Act, and allows for an initial blending of food-based ethanol (corn), beginning in 2008. In subsequent years, the blend was to […]

Beneficiary of Billion Dollar Green Fuels Program Files for Creditor Protection

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final ruling on blend volumes of renewable fuels for the calendar years 2014, 2015 and 2016. The challenge for the EPA is the lack of advanced biofuels to meet obligated minimum levels. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), mandates an increasing blend of renewable […]

Tobacco: Top User of Agriculture Guest Worker (H-2A) Visa Program

With the run up to the 2016 presidential election, we have seen a growing debate on the need for border security versus the shortage of agriculture workers. Tales of apples rotting on trees and produce left in the field are offered as evidence of jobs Americans won’t do. Yet, according to the U.S. Department of […]

Organics: Another Fine Government Mess

The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), as part of the 1990 Farm Bill, established the National Organic Program (NOP). The program, as administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), oversees uniform standards governing the marketing of organically produced products. The NOP’s mission is to assure consumers of consistent organic standards of production and […]

USDA and States to Spend $210 Million on Fuel Pumps

On May 29th, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $100 million in grants offered through their Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program. According to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the move is to make renewable fuel options more available to American consumers. The program is a 1:1 partnership with states to build fueling stations […]

OIG announces probe of EPA’s Reporting Practices on Biofuels Impact

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has announced a probe into the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) adherence to reporting requirements regarding biofuel’s impact on air quality. Under the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS), the EPA is to submit to Congress a science-based triennial report on the effect of the controversial program. As a result of the […]

Congressional Request leads to Scathing Review of the EPA

Businesses, landowners and farmers know the feeling of dread that comes with hearing the words “not in compliance” from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has earned the reputation of delivering heavy-handed enforcement actions and exorbitant punitive penalties. The agency’s authoritarian over-reach is near legendary, earning them the moniker “rogue agency”. Even the […]