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25 July 2010- “We’re from the government and we’re here to help”

How many times have we heard and chuckled at the line “We’re from the government and we’re here to help”. It’s been around forever and once in awhile it happens. But I’ve always been concerned about becoming too dependent on that help. I’ve always felt it is dangerous to depend on that farm subsidy check in the mailbox, because what Congress giveth, Congress can taketh away.

Talking about promised help that has never come, what has happened to the promised repair and modernization of the Locks & Dams on the Upper Mississippi River? It was a decade ago that we were told the work would begin; it hasn’t and the facilities continue to deteriorate on this vital Mid-America transportation artery.

Then there is the waiting game on raising the ethanol blend from the current 10% to the 15% level. That request has been in the hands of the EPA for over a year and still no action. Twice the agency has set an announcement date and twice it has been delayed because “more study” is needed. On this issue, there seems to be a disconnect in the Obama administration. In several recent speeches, President Obama has stressed the need and his support to develop more renewable energy sources and lower our dependence on foreign oil. But apparently the EPA didn’t get the message as it continues to “study” the ethanol issue.

Apparently, EPA officials aren’t listening to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, either. Recently at USDA the Secretary said “USDA recognizes the importance of biofuels to a clean energy future. We maintain a sustained commitment to tax incentives that support the existing biofuel industry and accelerate the development of advanced biofuels.” And at an ethanol conference in Ohio a few days ago, he said “We are working at USDA to develop a roadmap for how to build ethanol into a nationwide industry. We understand it starts with allowing the capacity we have today to maximize its input. That means increasing the blend rate to 15%. I have been advocating for that, will continue to advocate for that, and I believe it will happen. Obviously, I wish it had happened now, but I believe it will happen sometime this fall.”

I commend the Secretary for his strong support and hope the EPA gets the message, from the President and the Secretary, and works toward the common goal of creating more energy from renewable sources here at home. It’s time to make the 15% announcement!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.