Obama: GOP will send US into recession to prevent ObamaCare VIDEO
Kevin Bogardus - 09/21/13 06:08 AM ET
Video, Obama, 2nd Video Boehner
President Obama said conservative Republicans are willing to send America into a recession to stop ObamaCare as Washington is locked in another budget crisis.
With federal funds set to run out on Oct. 1, House Republicans passed legislation Friday to keep the government up and running, but defunded the Affordable Care Act. They have also threatened to tie a repeal of the law to legislation lifting the debt ceiling, which will need to be raised by mid-October.
Any move to defund ObamaCare, however, is a non-starter with Democrats. In his weekly address, Obama said “far right” Republicans are behind the threats in an attempt to stop the healthcare reform law.
“A faction on the far right of the Republican party who’ve convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act. Some are actually willing to plunge America into default if they can’t defund the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said.
“Think about that. They’d actually plunge this country back into recession — all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.”
Obama said he will not negotiate with Republican lawmakers over raising the debt ceiling.
“We are a compassionate nation. We are the world’s bedrock investment. And doing anything to threaten that is the height of irresponsibility. That’s why I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States,” Obama said.
On Friday, the president called Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to reiterate that claim.
Obama said Congress’s “most basic constitutional duty” is to pass a budget. But with the Senate expected to reject the House-passed spending bill, government funds could run out in little over a week and put key government services at risk.
“Military personnel, including those deployed overseas, won’t get their payc
Democrats push Reid to get more aggressive in shutdown battle
Alexander Bolton - 09/21/13 06:00 AM ET
Senate Democrats are urging Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to be aggressive in the standoff over a government shutdown with House Republicans.
They say Reid should counter the House Republican government funding bill by not only stripping language defunding ObamaCare, but by increasing funding for the rest of the government.
Democrats say Reid can afford to go on offense against Republicans given their division, and polls that show most voters would blame them if the government shuts down.
“We’re going to try to get as high a CR level as we can get,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Democratic caucus, referring to the stop-gap spending measure. “We are not going to be held hostage.
“We think it should be higher than the $988 [billion] level, absolutely. But we’re not going to have a negotiation that deals with extraneous issues,” he added. “We’re going to negotiate to get as a high a level as possible.”
But the first step for Democrats, Schumer said, is to remove the ObamaCare issue from the government funding resolution.
If Congress does not act by Oct. 1, large portions of the federal government will shut down due to lack of funding. Democrats believe Republicans will get most of the blame if that scenario comes to pass.
A recent CNN poll showed that 51 percent of the public would fault congressional Republicans for a shutdown, while only 33 percent would blame President Obama.
The House on Friday passed legislation funding government through mid-December. It extended government funding at the current level, which has been reported alternately as $988 billion and $986.3 billion.
Democrats want the Senate to adopt a higher number because it would serve as a precedent for boosting government funding levels for the rest of fiscal year 2014.
House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told r
CBOT corn, soybeans tumble as U.S. harvest begins
Wheat down on profit-taking, good planting weather
Sep 20, 2013 6:08 PM
By: Julie Ingwersen
Chicago | Reuters
Chicago Board of Trade corn and soybean futures closed at their lowest in roughly a month Friday, pushed down by seasonal pressure from the start of the U.S. harvest, traders said.
Wheat followed the weaker trend on profit-taking after Thursday's rally and news of favourable planting weather in the U.S. Plains.
At the CBOT, December corn settled down 8-1/2 cents at $4.51 per bushel, its lowest close since Aug. 13, but held above psychological support at $4.50 (all figures US$).
November soybeans ended down 24-1/4 cents at $13.15-1/4 a bushel, the lowest since Aug. 22, and December wheat fell 10-3/4 cents to $6.46-1/4 a bushel.
For the week, the benchmark November soybean contract fell 66-1/2 cents a bushel, or 4.8 per cent, its first drop in seven weeks and biggest since May 2012.
"It's harvest time and we've got seasonal pressure. Also, we did get the finishing rains for some of the late crop. The market really stopped its rally on soybeans when the temperatures cooled and the rains came," said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities in West Des Moines, Iowa.
Additional pressure came from funds liquidating net long positions in CBOT soybeans.
During the session, Informa Economics, a closely watched research firm, raised its estimate of U.S. 2013 soybean production to 3.224 billion bushels, above USDA's current forecast for 3.149 billion.
Informa also projected that U.S. soybean plantings for 2014 would reach 83.6 million acres, topping the 2009 record of 77.5 million acres by 8 percent.
Bumper corn harvest
December corn posted its third straight weekly decline, falling 1.7 per cent as the market reacted to the prospect of a huge U.S. crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week forecast corn output at a record 13.8 billion bushels, and a weekly crop report showed the harvest was four per c
Is Brazilian sugarcane the answer to U.S. biofuel needs?
Ethanol made from sugarcane may be able to supplement corn-based ethanol produced in the United States, which would help meet U.S. government targets for increased biofuel consumption.
By Stephen Edelstein, Guest blogger / September 21, 2013
Is Brazilian sugarcane the perfect biofuel for American drivers?
Brazil believes ethanol made from sugarcane can supplement corn-based ethanol produced in the United States, which would help meet U.S. government targets for increased biofuel consumption.
Under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, the U.S. is required to gradually increase the consumption of biofuels. The goal is to increase production from 4.7 billion gallons per year in 2007 to 36 billion gallons per year in 2022.
As of August 31, Brazil has shipped 330 million gallons of sugarcane ethanol to the U.S., compared to 267 million gallons during the same period in 2012.
Brazil exported a total of 403 million gallons to the U.S. last year.
Those exports can now compete head-to-head with U.S. ethanol produced from corn. In December 2011, Congress ended most ethanol subsidies, including a protective tariff of 54 cents per gallon on imported ethanol.
Two groups are working to promote sugarcane for use as a biofuel: UNICA, the trade group that represents the Brazilian sugarcane industry, and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (also known as Apex-Brasil), a government agency focused on economic development.
One advantage sugarcane ethanol has over corn-based ethanol is in productivity. One acre of crops produces roughly 300 gallons of corn ethanol, but the rate for sugarcane ethanol is closer to 600 gallons per acre.
Importing ethanol could also help sidestep criticism over domestic ethanol production's impact on food production, land use, water consumption, and carbon emissions.
Still, it's difficult to tell whether Americans will want any of that ex
EPA Announces August Biodiesel Production Figures
USAgNet - 09/19/2013
The EPA reported 148 million gallons of biodiesel production for the month of August, putting year-to-date volume at a record pace of nearly 916 million gallons.
With more than 1 billion gallons of production in each of the past two years, biodiesel is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. The industry has surpassed RFS targets since the program began and is on track to do so again this year.
The production volumes are reported under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS. To view the figures, visit the EPA's website here. The monthly numbers show a total of more than 177 million gallons of Biomass-based Diesel in August. That total includes nearly 30 million gallons of renewable diesel, a similar diesel replacement made with the same resources but using a different technology.
For the year, biodiesel and renewable diesel together have already exceeded 1 billion gallons, with nearly 1.1 billion gallons total.
Made from an increasingly diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is produced in nearly every state in the country and supports some 50,000 jobs. The National Biodiesel Board is the U.S. biodiesel trade association.
EPA releases August biodiesel production figures
Together, biodiesel and renewable diesel have exceeded production of 1 billion gallons this year
Updated: 21 September 2013 | 12:00 pm
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported a record pace for year-to-date production of biodiesel.
For the month of August, the EPA reported 148 million gallons of biodiesel production, which puts volume at nearly 916 million gallons so far this year, according to a news release.
With the addition of 30 million gallons of renewable diesel, a similar alternative fuel made with a different technology, 177 million gallons of biodiesel were produced in August.
Together, biodiesel and renewable diesel have exceeded production of 1 billion gallons so far this year.
Iowa biodiesel producers made 184 million gallons of biodiesel in 2012, or 17 percent of the nation’s biodiesel, according to the Iowa Biodiesel Board on its website.
“Right now we’re producing great volumes, we’re on pace to set another record this year and all that is is proving the need to increase our renewable volume obligation within the RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) each year,” said T.J. Page, communications director for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.
Iowa is the No. 1 biodiesel producing state in the nation, Page added. There are 13 biodiesel plants throughout the state, according to the biodiesel board.
“The production pace demonstrates that the Renewable Fuel Standard is working as intended to diversify our nation’s fuel supply and stimulate domestic energy production,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.
Tri-State Biodiesel's triple play in fashion, tribute and heating
By Ron Kotrba | September 17, 2013
Since 2009, Tri-State Biodiesel has supplied the generators that run the Twin Towers Tribute Lights with B50; this year, the lights ran on B99.9
Photo: Tri-State Biodiesel
Last week, New York City’s Lincoln Center, one of the most well-known arts and cultural institutions in the world, was fashion central as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, New York City's single largest media event, kicked into high gear. Designers from across the globe rolled out their spring 2014 lines sported by supermodels strutting down runways whose lights were powered by B20.
Dehran Duckworth, a managing partner at Tri-State Biodiesel, said this was the first year Tri-State Biodiesel won the contract to supply the Aggreko plc generators and temperature control equipment for the virtual “tent city” with its 20 percent biodiesel fuel. “It was an uphill push getting them to agree to run on B20,” Duckworth told Biodiesel Magazine. Bidding against other suppliers, Duckworth said Tri-State Biodiesel was able to hit the right price point since New York State only taxes the petroleum portion of a B20 blend.
“They said, ‘Your fuel is so clean that it shut down our units, and we had to change the filters,” Duckworth said. Fortunately, Aggreko was savvy enough to understand that the cleansing properties of the biodiesel blend freed up residues left behind from years of petroleum use. He said in the future, Aggreko may dedicate some of its equipment for biodiesel blends to avoid similar issues.
Earlier this month in New York City, the Twin Towers Tribute Lights shined brightly, as they have each year since the terrorist attack violently took the World Trade Center Twin Towers down on Sept. 11, 2001. The lights, said to be the strongest shafts of light ever projected from Earth into the night sky, are a visual memorial to those who were lost on that fateful date, and are turned on at suns
In 2009, Tri-State Biodiesel began supplying the generators that run the tribute lights with a 50 percent blend of biodiesel. This year, however, the generator supplier, Cat Entertainment Services, agreed to run the lights on B99.9 supplied by Tri-State Biodiesel.
This year marks the fourth year for Tri-State Biodiesel’s Bioheat program that seeks to convert B20 Bioheat users in the New York City area to B99.
Coburn predicts ObamaCare defunding 'tactic' won't be successful VIDEO
Kevin Bogardus - 09/22/13 12:17 PM ET
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Sunday that Republicans won’t be able to defund ObamaCare, despite many conservatives pushing to end the healthcare reform law.
Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Coburn said House Republicans attaching a provision to defund ObamaCare to the short-term spending bill they passed on Friday has helped highlight the law’s problems. But the move in the end will not be successful, according to the Oklahoma Republican.
“I think it’s a great attempt to raise the issue of some of the weaknesses and problems with ObamaCare, but it’s not a tactic we can actually carry out and be successful,” Coburn said.
The government is set to run out of funds on Oct. 1 and the Senate, which is in Democratic hands, is expected to reject the GOP spending bill due to its anti-ObamaCare provision. The debate over whether to force a government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act has split Republicans, with many sniping at Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has forced the issue.
Coburn, a strident budget hawk, cited the Congressional Research Service (CRS) as well as Republicans not having the votes in the Senate to defund ObamaCare. He said if it was possible, he “would be in the fight.”
“We don’t have the ability, both according to CRS nor politically, do we have the ability to put a total stop and defund ObamaCare,” Coburn said. “It would be nice if we did. I would be in the fight.”
Obama tells families of Navy Yard victims: 'We can't accept this'
Kevin Bogardus - 09/22/13 06:32 PM ET
President Obama delivered a somber speech on Sunday at a memorial for the Navy Yard mass shooting’s 12 victims, saying "we can't accept this" and must address gun violence.
Speaking at the Marine Barracks in Washington, Obama said he too often has had to comfort grieving families from mass shootings. The president said he is worried that there is “a creeping resignation” among Americans that nothing can be done in response to tragedies like the shooting last Monday.
“Sometimes I fear there is a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just the way it is. That this is somehow the new normal,” Obama said, but insisting that “we cannot accept this” as a nation.
“We must insist here today that there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work. There is nothing normal about our children being gunned down in their classrooms. There is nothing normal about children dying in our streets from stray bullets. No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence. None.”
Obama noted that other countries like Australia and the United Kingdom reformed their laws after they experienced mass shootings, making them a rarity. The president said the availability of guns here in the United States is the reason why.
“The main difference that sets our nation apart, what makes us so susceptible to so many mass shootings is that we don’t do enough, we don’t take the basic commonsense actions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. What’s different in America, it’s easy to get your hands on a gun and a lot of us know this,” Obama said.
Obama recounted stories of the victims from the shooting, including Arthur Daniels, whose 14-year-old son was also shot and killed in 2009. The president said the nation’s grieving for the families is not enough and that action must be taken.
“Our tears are not enough. O
Massachusetts Clean Economy Grows 11.8% To 80,000 Jobs
With the way Massachusetts’ clean energy economy is growing these days, state residents may need to start celebrating a different kind of green than Boston Celtics jerseys.
The Bay State’s clean energy industry kept booming this year, increasing green jobs by 11.8% from 2012 to 2013, according to the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report.
Green growth has been fast, strong, and diverse across the state, benefitting from smart government policy and a combination of access to finance and cutting-edge research. Add it all up, and you get an economic success story with a sustainable twist.
2013 Massachusetts green economy image via MassCEC
24% Green Job Growth In Two Years
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report is compiled by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), and 2013 is the third year it’s been published. The report tracks the size and growth of green jobs and businesses across the state through direct business surveys and interviews, and defines a clean energy firm or clean energy worker as one engaged in whole or part with clean energy technology.
And make no mistake – Massachusetts’ green economy is growing fast. Since the first report, the state’s clean energy economy has grown 24% and added 15,500 jobs. That’s more than eight times faster than an overall 3% economic growth rate for all industries statewide.
Massachusetts green job growth chart via MassCEC
Massachusetts now boasts 79,994 green jobs across 5,557 businesses – 1.9% of all jobs statewide, spread across every corner of the state and nearly every aspect of the clean energy economy. More than half of these firms are small businesses, meaning five or fewer full-time employees, but the majority of job creation came from new businesses and startups.
But even more promising, 27% of employers say they have current openings they expect to fill in the next three months. 83% of green jobs added si
First Solar Breaks Ground On 150 MW California Solar Farm
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture checks out a new kind of ethanol plant
Posted: Sep 20, 2013 5:38 PM MDT
By Stephanie Ross, Multimedia Journalist
GALVA, Iowa (KTIV) -
Siouxland is home to several ethanol plants, but soon there will be one like no other. And Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Bill Northey, checked out the progress on Friday.
"This is potentially very, very significant for the ethanol industry, actually in the country - certainly for Iowa, as Iowa's the biggest state for ethanol production," Northey said.
Northey was talking about cellulosic ethanol. Even though it has a different name, it's the same product you've been getting out of your local gas pump, but it's made with a different feed stock.
That includes wood, grass, or the inedible part of plants. When it's built, the Quad County Corn Processors will use corn fiber or cellulose to make ethanol.
Northey learned more about the process during his tour and said the idea is revolutionary.
"This is the first one that's using that corn fiber that's already coming in to the ethanol plant that's attached to the corn that is now being processed for the starch," Northey said.
Travis Brotherson is the plant engineer. He took part in discovering this kind of ethanol about five years ago.
"We found that we could break down cellulose in to a form that we could ferment into ethanol," Brotherson said.
Even though ethanol will be made with cellulose, the final product won't change.
"The difference between the ethanol we will be producing from cellulose and the ethanol we produce from starch will be zero," Brotherson said.
Although there will be no noticeable difference for the consumer, Northey said there are many benefits to using the cellulosic ethanol.
"It could be something that's not horribly expensive to add to plants that could allow additional ethanol from the same bushels of corn, and a better feed product, and more corn oil that could get used in biodiesel," Northey said.
The Renewable Fuel Standard calls for 18 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply in 2014. This year, 16.5 billion gallons must be blended into the U.S. fuel supply.
At the Illinois Corn Growers tent at the Farm Progress Show in Decatur last month, Executive Director Rod Wein-zierl said ethanol represents fuel savings for motorists.
“We’re trying to get out the word that while there may be a 17 percent mileage penalty using E85, the price differential between the higher ethanol blend and unleaded gasoline is growing,” he said.
Buis said ethanol was currently 80 cents cheaper per gallon than unleaded gasoline. “Gas is still a global market. You’ll notice that even though domestic production of oil and gas is rising, U.S. fuel prices haven’t gone down. That’s because the price of oil is still set by OPEC, a group that we’ve been beholden to for more than 40 years,” he said.
Pelosi: ‘There’s no more cuts to make’
By Aaron Blake, Published: September 22 at 11:13 am
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that President Obama shouldn't negotiate over the debt ceiling because there are "no more cuts to make."
"Because the cupboard is bare. There's no more cuts to make," Pelosi said on CNN's "State of the Union." "It's really important that people understand that. We all want to reduce the deficit."
Pelosi said that whether and how to raise the debt ceiling "really shouldn't be a conversation."
CNN's Candy Crowley then noted that other presidents have negotiated over the debt ceiling and asked why Obama shouldn't. Pelosi said the level of brinksmanship in the current debate is what makes it different, along with the lack of options as far as spending cuts.
"You cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts," Pelosi said, noting the deficit reduction that has occurred under President Obama.
Govt forces Shell, Total to boost biodiesel mix
Amahl S. Azwar, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Mon, September 23 2013, 10:01 AM
PT Shell Indonesia and PT Total Oil Indonesia will have to increase the proportion of biodiesel in the diesel fuel mix they sell at their gas stations to at least 10 percent by January next year or leave the business.
Shell and Total, the only two remaining foreign players in the downstream petroleum sector in Indonesia, were obligated to boost the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) content in their diesel mixes, said Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry director general for renewable energy and energy conservation Rida Mulyana.
“We will inspect [their] gas stations from time to time to ensure they follow the new regulation,” he said over the weekend, referring to the 2013 Energy and Mineral Resources Ministerial regulation issued on Sept. 1 mandating the change.
The regulation also requires a minimum of 10 percent biodiesel in diesel fuel mixes used for industrial and commercial purposes, and a minimum of 20 percent for those used in power plants.
The regulation also stipulates a minimum amount of 1 percent bioethanol in gasoline used in non-public service transportation vehicles, as well as in industries and commercial businesses, by January next year.
The new regulation, which was passed as part of the government’s stimulus package aimed at pushing down fuel imports to combat the current-account deficit and weakening rupiah, replaces a previous regulation issued in 2008 and makes the fuel-blending requirement mandatory instead of voluntarily.
Fuel retailers failing to comply with the regulation may face sanctions ranging from suspension of operations to business license revocation.
Both Shell — a subsidiary of petroleum giant Royal Dutch Shell — and Total — a subsidiary of France-based Total SA — currently only mix 1 percent of biodiesel into their diesel fuel, according to Rida.
They previously were re
Utilities Want Solar Customers to Pay More
Their argument: The few (homes with solar power) are being subsidized by the many (everyone else).
Utilities argue that the few (solar homes) are being subsidized by the many (everyone else).
By Cassandra Sweet
People with solar panels on their roofs often get a pretty good price break on their energy bills.
Too good, some utilities say.
Now, utilities in several states—including the country’s sunniest, California and Arizona—are trying to do something about it.
Here’s the issue: For most homes, solar panels don’t generate all the power the residents use. At night and on cloudy days, and sometimes even on sunny days, these homes draw power from the grid that serves all a utility’s customers. But at other times, the panels generate more power than the home is using, and that surplus power flows into the grid.
Under state rules known as net metering, customers are credited on their bills for any power that flows from their homes to the grid, usually at the same rate they pay when they draw power from the grid.
So, customers with solar panels not only are buying less electricity from their utilities, but also are able to offset much of the cost of what they do buy.
The utilities say solar customers are paying so little that they don’t cover their share of the cost of maintaining the grid, which they still rely on. That drives up costs for nonsolar customers, utilities say, and they warn that the burden will grow as the number of solar customers continues to swell.
Solar companies and their customers deny that people with solar panels aren’t paying their share of utility costs, and argue that rooftop solar systems benefit utility grids by relieving demand and providing extra power. Cutting incentives would reduce the appeal of solar energy, they say, depriving the grid of some of that additional power, blunting the environmental benefits of solar power and hurting the young, fast-growing industry.
One change utilit
Largest Solar Rooftop In Europe Complete, In Germany!
The largest self-consumption rooftop solar array in Europe has been completed, and it is of course located in Germany. It is eleven hectares in size, consists of 33,000 solar panels, and has a generation capacity of 8.1 MW (which could power up to about 1,846 homes).
The record-breaking solar roof is on top of the Pfenning Logistics distribution centre named multicube rhein-neckar, which is located in the Heddesheim municipality, a bit south of Frankfurt. The building was recently constructed and has been owned by Union Investment as of 2012.
Dennis Seiberth, president of international large-scale projects at the project development company Wirsol, said: “In this size we usually build solar parks.” He added that Wirsol was ambitious in its aims to build the plant in four weeks.
Largest solar rooftop in Europe. Image Credit: Wirsol.
The power plant was connected to the grid in July.
“We are happy that we can now partially generate electricity by ourselves,” said Karl-Martin Pfenning, owner and managing partner of the Pfenning group. “With the photovoltaic installation we can annually save up to 5, 171 tons of CO2.”
Germany has one of the most successful solar markets in the world, and while many now know that, it is still quite impressive that a cloudy country could have such a successful solar market. It also makes one rethink the misconception that solar panels only work in direct sunlight.
I own a solar panel, which I have been running numerous tests on for over a year. It works in all weather. However, power production does decrease to an extent when the weather is cloudy. The darker the sky is, the less power the solar panel generates. The results of some of my tests can be found here.
Imagine, all those solar panels insulating the rooftop from direct solar radiation and saving $$$$$$$$$ in air conditioning expenses while reaping the benefits of solar energy. Wal-Mart SuperCenters have massive rooftops!
Pump prices are falling
September 23, 2013 at 11:28 am by Zain Shauk
Gasoline prices are at their lowest level since early July and are expected to fall further, according to an analysis from GasBuddy.
The national average for a gallon of regular is $3.47, down 34 cents from a year ago, according to AAA.
The average price for a gallon of regular in Houston is $3.23, down 37 cents from a year ago, according to AAA data.
Pump prices: US gasoline prices reach milestone
Because refineries are running at high rates and consumer demand likely will be down from last year, prices will continue a gradual decline,