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Q & A: Looking Forward with Biodiesel PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 11 July 2011 13:34

Q.  Why do you support the production of biodiesel?

A.  Too much of America’s energy comes from fossil fuels imported from countries that don’t like us.  We can reduce dependence on foreign oil, and be better off economically, environmentally, and geopolitically, by encouraging domestic production of renewable, clean-burning biodiesel.  In 2004, Congress passed the biodiesel tax incentive that I sponsored as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to encourage the production and use of biodiesel.  Biodiesel production in the United States increased from 25 million gallons in 2004, to 700 million gallons in 2008.  When Congress allowed the tax credit to lapse in 2009, nearly 8,900 jobs were wiped out, many in Iowa.  Thankfully, in December 2010, the credit was restored retroactively through December 2011. 

Q.  What can be done to encourage the production of biodiesel? 

A.  I’ve introduced legislation with Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington that would extend through 2014 the $1 per gallon tax for biodiesel.  And, the bill would help small producers by maintaining the additional 10 cent credit for the first 15 million gallons of biodiesel created by producers with an annual production capacity of less than 60 million gallons.  Fourteen of Iowa’s 15 biodiesel plants fall into that category.

Q.  Can abuse of the credit be prevented? 

A.  The bill would eliminate potential abuses by changing the incentive from a blender credit to a production tax credit.  This change would gear the credit toward producers who create clean biodiesel, rather than for the blending of biodiesel with petroleum diesel.  By focusing the credit on production, we’ll further reduce potential abuses of foreign fuel passing through the U.S. to claim the blender’s credit.  

Q.  What affect will extension of the biodiesel tax credit have on jobs and the economy?

A.  A study by an international consulting firm found that if Congress does not extend the tax credit, consumers would be forced to spend an additional $6.6 billion for diesel fuel between 2012 and 2015.  But, with the right incentives, by 2015, biodiesel production could replace 1.9 billion gallons of imported diesel fuel, support more than 74,000 jobs, and generate $4 billion in income and approximately $7.3 billion in gross domestic product.

July 8, 2011

 
Braley Fights to Keep Mexican Trucks Off U.S. Roads PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Monday, 11 July 2011 13:28
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) co-sponsored a bill to protect American families and keep long-haul Mexican trucks off U.S. roads. Rep. Braley signed on to the bill, Protecting America’s Roads Act, in response to the Department of Transportation’s announcement that it will now allow Mexican trucks access to American roads.

“This decision is dangerous and it threatens jobs here in Iowa,” said Congressman Braley. “When we have so many hard-working Americans out of a job, I can’t support a decision that puts Mexican workers and truckers before American trucking companies. I’m also deeply concerned that this proposal puts American families at risk. Mexico’s safety standards are not on par with ours, and letting tens of thousands of these trucks onto our highways poses a serious threat to everyone traveling on our roads. I drove a truck myself and I know just how dangerous these vehicles can be if they’re not operated properly.”

Yesterday, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced a deal to allow Mexican long-haul truck operators to operate in the United States. This proposal threatens American truck driver and warehouse worker jobs – especially during the recession – and with increased drug cartel violence along the Mexican border, this proposal also threatens to give cartels an alternate way of getting their products across the border. In fact, there is little doubt that cartels would try to infiltrate the trucking system to transport drugs and weapons.

“I strongly urge the President to reject allowing Mexican trucks on American roads,” said Rep. Braley.

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Braley Fights to Create Jobs, Boost Investment in Biofuels PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Alexandra Krasov   
Friday, 08 July 2011 12:38
Washington, DC – Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) is offering a $105 million loan guarantee tosupport the development of the nation’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa. Rep. Braley’s legislation, passed last Congress, allows DOE to provide a loan guarantee for the new biofuel plant and others like it.

“Investment in biofuels is crucial not just to Iowa’s economy, but also to our country as a whole,” said Rep. Braley. “By producing ethanol in new and innovative ways, we can lower the price of gas across the country and reduce our national dependence on foreign oil. This new plant will help create hundreds of jobs right here inIowa, and I’ll keep fighting to make sure we grow our economy and create long-term, good-paying jobs in Iowa and all over America.”

The project, sponsored by POET, LLC, will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year and is estimated to bring approximately $14 million in newrevenue to Iowa farmers. Named Project LIBERTY, the new plant will use corncobs, leaves and husks provided by Iowa farmers – local materials that do not compete with feed grains. Project LIBERTY will displace over 13.5 million gallons of gasoline annually and fulfill more than 25 percent of the projected 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard Requirement for biomass-based cellulosic ethanol. POET estimates that 85 percent of Project LIBERTY will use local, U.S.-grown materials.

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State Historical Society Board Appointment PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tara Richards   
Friday, 08 July 2011 12:34

Brucemore announces the appointment of Assistant Director Maura Pilcher (photo) to the State Historical Society of Iowa Board of Trustees by Governor Terry Branstad.  In addition to her role at Brucemore, she is also active in the preservation community serving as the Chair of the Cedar Rapids Historic Preservation Commission and the Vice President of the Czech Village/New Bohemia Urban Main Street Board. For further information, call (319) 362-7375 or visit Brucemore’s website at www.brucemore.org.

Brucemore, Iowa’s only National Trust Historic Site, is located at 2160 Linden Drive SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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Child Pornography Found on Assistant U.S. Attorney’s Computer, Attorney was also Viewing Adult Content on Taxpayer Dime PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 08 July 2011 12:15

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley today questioned why the Justice Department declined to prosecute an Assistant United States Attorney after the department’s Inspector General found at least one image of child pornography on the attorney’s work computer.  The Inspector General also determined that the attorney had spent hours viewing adult content during work hours.   

According to the Inspector General’s report, the Assistant U.S. Attorney acknowledged he had spent a significant amount of time each day viewing pornography.  The report also cited that at least one image of child pornography was recovered on the attorney’s government computer.  The report indicates that the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case and as of May 31, 2011, disciplinary action against the attorney was still pending.  

Grassley said he was concerned that the attorney, who admitted viewing pornography on the taxpayers’ dime, was employed by the federal government at least two months after the allegations were outlined in the Inspector General report.   

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Grassley questioned the department’s decision to not prosecute and delay disciplinary action against the attorney.  He also asked the types of cases the attorney worked on and the steps the department has taken to update its technology to keep pornography off its computers.   

Last year, Grassley learned that 33 employees at the Securities and Exchange Commission who were found to have viewed pornography during work hours were not terminated and were given uneven and light disciplinary action.   

Here is a copy of the text of Grassley’s letter to Holder.  Click here for a copy of the signed letter.     

July 7, 2011 

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.  

Attorney General 

U.S. Department of Justice  

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW  

Washington, DC 20530  

   

Dear Attorney General Holder:  

   

On May 31, 2011 I received a report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Inspector General (OIG) in response to a request Senator Coburn and I made to all Inspectors General to provide semiannual reports on closed investigations, evaluations, and audits that were not disclosed to the public.  

   

This report contained what appears to be an inexcusable mishandling of serious allegations against an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) which calls into question the DOJ’s internal controls and prosecutorial discretion.  The report cites the following OIG investigation of an AUSA:  

   

“The OIG conducted an investigation concerning allegations that an AUSA was using his government computer to view inappropriate material on his government computer.  The investigation determined that the AUSA routinely viewed adult content during official duty hours, and that there was at least one image of child pornography recovered on the AUSA’s government computer.  The AUSA acknowledged that he had spent a significant amount of time each day viewing pornography.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined prosecution.  Disciplinary action against the AUSA is pending.”     

   

This report relates to OIG investigations from October 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011 and was submitted two months later.  As the case for disciplinary action is “pending” as of May 31, 2011, this means that, at the very least, the DOJ has allowed an admitted serial viewer of pornography – possibly child pornography – to serve as an AUSA for two months, if not longer, and has yet to take action.  This is simply unacceptable and compounds the questions raised by the fact that this AUSA was found to have “at least one image of child pornography” on his government computer and yet he was not charged with a crime.  

   

Regarding the DOJ’s decisions in this case, I respectfully ask the following questions:  

   

 1.       Is this individual still employed by the Department of Justice?  

   

 a.        If so, in what capacity?  

   

 b.       If not, when did this individual leave employment with the Department of Justice?  

   

  i.       Was this departure voluntary or were they terminated?  

   

 2.       Is this individual eligible for a government pension?  

   

 a.        If so, has the DOJ made any efforts to strip this individual of his or her pension?  

   

  i.       If so, what efforts have been made?  

   

  ii.       If not, why not?  

   

 3.       What types of cases did this AUSA handle?  

   

 4.       Did the cases this AUSA was assigned to handle ever lead to any interaction with children?  

   

 5.       Was the decision not to prosecute this individual made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in which he or she served?  

   

 a.        If so, did that raise any concerns regarding a conflict of interest?  

   

 b.       If not, what office made the decision not to prosecute this individual?  

   

 6.       How was this individual able to evade the DOJ’s pornography filters?  

   

 7.       Has the DOJ made efforts to upgrade its pornography filters as a result of this individual’s actions?  

 

a.       If so, what efforts have been made?

 

b.      If not, why not?

 

Thank you for cooperation and attention in this matter.  I would appreciate a response by July 21, 2011.  If you have any questions regarding this letter, please contact (202) 224-5225.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Grassley
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary

 
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