Trump backs biofuels but industry wants to see it in EPA rules

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says President Trump affirmed his commitment to biofuels during a telephone conversation amid Midwestern fears of a weaker Renewable Fuels Standard in 2018. Despite encouraging words from Trump and the EPA, the head of an Iowa group said biofuel backers won't rest until the EPA announces its final decision, due by Nov. 30.

Pruitt says EPA will no longer settle with green groups behind doors

EPA chief Scott Pruitt says the agency will no longer settle lawsuits with environmental groups behind closed doors, arguing that the Obama administration regularly excluded industry and state governments from those conversations while pandering to green activists.

Trump nominates climate-change denier as top White House environmental adviser

President Trump has nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, a current senior policy adviser at the free-market think tank Texas Public Policy Foundation, to serve as the White House’s senior environmental policy adviser. Hartnett has argued that calling carbon dioxide a pollutant is “absurd,” and that C02 should instead be considered the gas of life.

NAFTA gives Canada an unfair edge in ag trade, says Perdue

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue listed Canada's controls over dairy and poultry imports during a Fox Business interview in saying "some of the things left out of NAFTA" give Canada an unfair advantage in ag trade. At the White House, President Trump said, "It's possible we won't be able to make a deal" and the United States would seek a bilateral pact with Canada or Mexico.

New bill would curb size of national monuments

Rep. Rob Bishop from Utah has worked up a bill to limit new national monuments to 640 acres, with any designations larger than that requiring environmental impact statements and potentially approval from relevant state and county officials, says Deseret News. The bill is slated to come before the House Committee on Natural Resources, which Bishop chairs.

With NAFTA at crucial point, U.S. farm leaders speak up for trade pacts

U.S. farm leaders turned up the volume in the debate over the new NAFTA, worried that the success story of food and ag exports isn't being heard among the clamor for tougher U.S. trade rules. "We have to be a player in the trade arena so we can move our product out of the country and feed the world," said Zippy Duvall, president of the largest U.S. farm group, during a teleconference on the importance of safeguarding market access in the NAFTA negotiations, now in the fourth of seven scheduled rounds of talks.

California and Oregon urge feds to send relief to salmon fisheries

Officials in California and Oregon are calling on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries division to release emergency funding after salmon fisheries were closed in both states.

EPA announces it will scrap Clean Power Plan

The EPA intends to repeal the Clean Power Plan — an Obama-era effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 — according to a document circulated within the agency’s Regulatory Screening Agency.

Ag panel clears two USDA nominees for Senate vote; first Trump appointees since Perdue

The Senate could vote as early as this week to confirm Steven Censky as deputy agriculture secretary and Ted McKinney as undersecretary for trade. They are the first Trump nominees for USDA to be cleared for a floor vote by the Senate Agriculture Committee since March 30, when the nomination of Secretary Sonny Perdue was advanced to the floor.

Zinke’s travel raises eyebrows

The Inspector General has launched an investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s air travel, after complaints that Zinke was using a private plane owned by an oil executive. That particular flight, from Las Vegas to Zinke’s home state of Montana, cost taxpayers $12,000, according to the Washington Post.  But other taxpayer-funded flights, including one to speak at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, are also being questioned.