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Ethanol

The Leonard Lopate Show

Ethanol, an Environmental Disaster?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Corn production has surged since 2007, when Congress required oil companies to mix more ethanol into their gasoline to reduce greenhouse gases. Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Dina Cappiello reveal that there are profound environmental consequences from increased corn production. Some 6.5 million acres of land set aside for conservation—more than Yellowstone, Everglades, and Yosemite National Parks combined—have vanished, while nearly 19 new million acres of corn have been planted.

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It's A Free Blog

Opinion: In Iowa, Campaigns Tailor Messages for Swing Voters

Monday, September 10, 2012

Now that the conventions are over, both campaigns will pivot to the swing states where they still need to make the case to crucial undecided voters. In my home state of Iowa, the campaigns are turning up the heat over every eligible pocket of the state.

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The Takeaway

US Ethanol Requirements Could Cause a Global Food Crisis

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The U.S. will convert up to 40 percent of its corn crop into ethanol this year. But as the country faces its worst drought in more than 50 years, can we afford to turn that food into fuel?

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Transportation Nation

Senator: I'll Go After All Energy Tax Breaks

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

(Todd Zwillich -- Washington, D.C) As Congress rummages for every dollar it can find to throw toward the national debt, one Republican senator says he knows where he can find billions: energy tax breaks.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, the number-three Republican in the Senate, says he's cooking up a plan to cancel most if not all tax breaks enjoyed by the energy sector. Instead Alexander would spend the money on clean energy R+D and lowering the deficit.

This comes a day after Alexander and 33 other Republicans backed a proposal to eliminate $6 billion in taxpayer subsidies enjoyed by the ethanol industry. That vote was seen in Washington as a strong signal that Republicans are ready to put once-sacred tax breaks on the table in an effort to strike a debt deal with Democrats.

"I and my staff are looking at all energy tax breaks," Alexander told reporters on Capitol Hill Wednesday. "I expect that before long I'll have legislation that will look at all tax breaks," he said.

Such a bill would almost certainly become part of a broader debate over reducing the national debt or another fight over tax code reform expected later this year.

Either way, the success of Alexander's effort could mean a fundamental reordering--or in some cases elimination--of billions in tax breaks helping the energy sector.

Alexander said he'll try to eliminate all or most long-standing energy tax breaks and instead put some of the money toward "a Manhattan project for clean energy research." A lot of the burden would fall squarely on utilities and power generation companies. But ethanol, natural gas, and oil and gas tax credits opposed by most Democrats would also presumably be included. Democrats are already vowing to include a repeal of oil company tax credits in any deal with Republicans over the debt.

Alexander is a supporter of electric cars, however, and he said Wednesday he'd favor some "jump start" tax incentives for electric cars and the development of a 500-mile battery. The idea, he said, is to give a boost to burgeoning clean energy technology then cast it to the mercy of the free market.

"I don't think electric cars deserve any sort of government support after four, five years. If they can't survive in the marketplace then they ought to be, y'know, thrown in the junk pile," Alexander said.

Right now consumers can cash in on a $7,500 credit for buying a plug-in electric car. There's also a $1,000 federal residential charging credit for plug-in car owners.

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: Ethanol Subsidies Survive Senate Vote -- Metro Transit Can Now Go To Seattle Mariners Games

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Following a court ruling, Seattle's Metro can now begin providing public transit service to sporting events. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Toronto's mayor is interested in selling naming rights to subway stations, bridges, and highways in order to raise badly-needed revenue. (The Globe and Mail)

Bus-only lanes are coming to LA's Wilshire Boulevard. (Los Angeles Times)

Members of the French parliament are pressuring Air France to place a large order with the French plane-maker Airbus over US company Boeing. (Marketplace)

A new US DOT distracted driving ad features characters from the Disney movie 'Cars 2." Because only bad guys drive distracted.

Ethanol subsidies survived a Senate vote. (NPR)

So many people are using Montreal's bike lanes that the lanes are reaching capacity. (Montreal Gazette)

Las Vegas is using Krispy Kremes to try to lure drivers out of their cars and onto buses. (Las Vegas Sun)

Anthony Weiner's car isn't registered. (NY Daily News)

Lose your NYC MetroCard? Now you can file a claim online. (TransitBlogger)

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Transportation Nation

TN MOVING STORIES: China Wants Its Fast Rail Network To Extend Beyond Its Borders -- Ethanol Tax Subsidies Up For A Vote

Monday, June 13, 2011

Kunshan South Station, Jiangsu, China (photo by Ross Hong Kong via Flickr)

China wants to build a network of high-speed rail that extends beyond its borders. (NPR)

Chicago's transpo commissioner wants to install video screens at bus shelters that "would include everything from Bus Tracker information now available on the internet and cell phones to the current inventory for car- and bike-sharing and how long it would take to walk to popular destinations" (Chicago Sun-Times). He also wants to give pedestrians a leg up at some busy intersections. (NBC Chicago)

New York City's pedicabs may soon get new rules. (WNYC)

U.S. airlines brought in over $3 billion in bag fees last year. (The Hill)

Who's blocking Manhattan's bike lanes? Pretty much everybody and everything, according to a DNA Info investigation.

Nearly $100 million in federal transportation grants will be returned if the City Council's $50 million in additional cuts hold firm, according to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing. (Detroit News)

As Libya faces a gas shortage, women get a break at a female-only gas station in Tripoli. (NPR)

One opinion writer says mass transit's time may finally have come to central Indiana. (Indianapolis Star)

TN's Todd Zwillich talks about the Senate's upcoming vote on whether to repeal ethanol tax subsidies. You can listen to the conversation below, or check it out on The Takeaway.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: Ireland Wants More Bikes, US Airlines Report Profits, and Ethanol Gets Taxpayer Boost--What Do Taxpayers Get?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Does ethanol deserve a multi-billion dollar tax credit? (NPR)  And: a new EPA rule from the fall allowed for more ethanol to be mixed in with gasoline, but now automakers are suing, stating that the new blends aren't safe for cars. (Marketplace)

The New York Post says there's been a 16% rise in vehicle/bicycle collisions this year.

U.S. airlines report highest profits in at least four years. (Los Angeles Times)

Ireland's transportation minister, in an effort to promote bicycling, has announced that local authorities must include specific cycling policies and objectives in future development plans. (Inside Ireland)

New York subway ads now have less literature, more MTA self-promotion. (New York Times) And your TN correspondent has composed a haiku to mark the occasion: Goodbye, poetry/Hello, line improvements tout/but whither Dante?

GM says it is recycling oil-drenched boom material from the BP oil spill and turning it into plastic resin to be used in the Chevy Volt. (Wired)

Toyota will be fined $32 million for failing to swiftly recall defective vehicles. (New York Times)

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Transportation Nation

Agriculture Secretary: We'll Boost Ethanol for Transpo Fuel

Friday, October 22, 2010

(Washington, DC -- Todd Zwillich, Transportation Nation) The Obama Administration is getting ready to boost the use of ethanol in transportation fuel.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Thursday a new round of payments to US farmers for growing corn and other crops destined for gas tanks. The goal is to expand domestic production of ethanol and increase consumer demand for the renewable fuel.

Vilsack said his agency would also team up with the Federal Aviation Administration to encourage development of aviation fuel from biomass and farm waste, including switchgrass.

Vilsack framed the move as a way to reduce the United States' dependence on foreign energy.  "Today we still send a billion dollars a day outside our shores helping other countries' economies to grow while our economy recovers from a deep recession," he said in a speech in Washington, DC. "We can do better. We have to do better. Rural America is where we will do better," Vilsack added.

The expansion is part of a plan to boost US ethanol production from about 13 billion gallons this year to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The Environmental Protection agency recently approved a plan to increase the standard ethanol concentration in blended automobile fuel from 10% to 15% for newer cars, according to Bloomberg. Boosting ethanol production will mean the US will need more refineries. Vilsack said his agency would come up with a plan within the next two months to help fund the construction of five new refineries.

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Transportation Nation

TN Moving Stories: More Ethanol Allowed in Gas; Ray LaHood's High-Speed Rail Dream; and Car-Eating Rabbits in Denver

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Iowa, the new Saudi Arabia? The EPA is now allowing up to 15 percent ethanol in gas. (NPR)

A plan to to pave parking lots and roadways with solar panels (turning them into solar grids) gains traction--and a little more R&D money. (Wired)

London's bike share program is on track to turn a profit--making it the only Transport for London system to do so.  (The Guardian)

California's Proposition 21 aims to tax motor vehicles to fund state parks. (East Bay Express)

Jay Walder, head of New York's MTA, wants to stay in his post through 2015 (Bloomberg). That's a lot of bus and subway rides: so far he's taken 887 in his first year on the job (New York Daily News). But some of those trips get thwarted, because sometimes he forgets to check for subway diversions before he goes out on weekends (WNYC).

Arlington and Alexandria officials to meet today to talk about joint transportation issues. Why is this news? Because "this is the first meeting of the two local governmental bodies in recent memory." (WAMU)

Ray LaHood imagines a United States in which 80% of all cities are accessible by high-speed rail by the year 2035. (Las Vegas Sun)

Car-eating rabbits plague Denver International Airport's parking lots.  Mmmm...soy-based wiring compounds!  (Jalopnik)

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