Legislative Action News, January 3, 2012

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California Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Violates Commerce Clause
By Stephen Frerichs

Recently, a California federal district court judge ruled that California’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) violates the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The ruling was made in response to a suit filed in December 2009 that asserted the California LCFS sought to regulate farming and ethanol production practices in other states.

In a joint statement, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen and Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said: “The state of California overreached in creating its low carbon fuel standard by making it unconstitutionally punitive for farmers and ethanol producers outside of the state’s border. With this ruling, it is our hope that the California regulators will come back to the table to work on a thoughtful, fair, and ultimately achievable strategy for improving our environment by incenting the growth and evolution of American renewable fuels.”

The judge issued an injunction against the California regulator. The ruling means that refiners and ethanol producers won’t have to buy credits when importing oil and ethanol into California, as the regulations would have required in certain cases.

LightSquared Petitions FCC
By Stephen Frerichs

LightSquared has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to confirm LightSquared’s right to use the spectrum licensed to the company by the federal government. In addition, the company asked the FCC to confirm that commercial GPS manufacturers have no right to interference protection from LightSquared’s network since they are not licensed users of that spectrum. You can find the petition here: http://www.lightsquared.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/DOC.pdf

Digging in the MF Global dirt
by David Bennett, Delta Farm Press

In late November, the MF Global collapse was a month old, farmers and ranchers had assets frozen in bankruptcy court and investigators had begun efforts to locate some $1.2 billion in “lost” customer funds at the firm.

At the time, Farm Press spoke with John Roe, principal at BTR Trading Group, about efforts by the newly-formed Commodity Customer Coalition to influence bankruptcy court proceedings and upcoming congressional hearings on behalf of MF Global customers.

On Tuesday morning (Dec. 20), following four congressional hearings and busy court sessions, Roe – the son of Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe — revisited the swirl of MF Global happenings, where things currently stand in Congress and the courts, and speculated on the actions of the firm’s leadership. Among his comments:


US opens market to imported ethanol
UNICA, Western Farm Press

For the first time in more than three decades of generous U.S. government subsidies for the domestic ethanol industry, coupled with a steep tariff on imports, the United States market will be open to imported ethanol as of Jan. 1, 2012, without protectionist measures.
Read More: http://westernfarmpress.com/government/us-opens-market-imported-ethanol?NL=WFP-01&Issue=WFP-01_20111228_WFP-01_102&YM_RID=sgruba@asfmra.org&YM_MID=1281733

Commodity prices no flash in the pan
Western Farm Press

Some farmers have been pinching themselves because of the high commodity prices they’ve experienced this year. Are those prices a one-time thing or part of a long-term trend? USDA’s Michael Dwyer says the  current prosperity could be here to stay unless it gets derailed by a recession in Europe. Dwyer spoke at the USA Rice Federation’s annual Outlook Conference in Austin, Texas.
Read more: http://westernfarmpress.com/management/commodity-prices-no-flash-pan?NL=WFP-01&Issue=WFP-01_20120103_WFP-01_659&YM_RID=sgruba@asfmra.org&YM_MID=1282249

USDA Benefits to Farmers Won’t Dip in ’12
From Kiplinger Agriculture Letter

Amid the booming ag economy, USDA benefits to farmers won’t dip in ’12, but benefit channels are shifting. For example, direct payments on cropland will continue at $4.8 billion or so a year, but crop price supports will be near zero through ’12 because of high market prices. However, conservation payments rise as multiyear conservation enrollments accumulate, and they’ll top $3.6 billion in ’12.

Main payouts: Subsidizing crop insurance premiums and covering expenses and underwriting losses of insurers…about $10 billion, or half of all farmer benefits. Login to Member Resources to download The Kiplinger Agriculture Letter.

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