On February 16, 2011, Congressman Tom Latham stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and made a complete fool of himself while simultaneously attacking the Iowa ethanol industry. It’s not clear if Latham just didn’t read the amendment he was attacking, if his staff gave him bad analysis, or if he is so desperate to attack Congressman Bruce Braley, who sponsored the amendment, that he ignored all of the facts and the numerous ethanol and renewable fuels organizations who were aggressively encouraging lawmakers to support it.
Check out the video and see how Latham breathlessly goes on and on about the common sense amendment, it’s pretty astonishing:
The amendment proposed by Braley would have helped to protect the Renewable Fuels Standard, and subsequently Iowa ethanol, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that ethanol industry groups stood with Braley, as reported in the WCFCourier:
Braley's amendment received the backing of several industry groups, including the National Corn Growers Association, the Renewable Fuels Association and the Advanced Ethanol Council, among others.
"Ethanol is one part of our nation's solution to the energy challenges we face. Now is not the time to turn back the clock on the energy, environmental and economic progress this industry has made," said Bill Brady, chairman of the ethanol council.
Even more surprising, on the very same day that Latham sided with Republican leadership instead of Iowa farmers, several of the largest ethanol organizations wrote an open letter to Congress encouraging them to “support Amendment No. 521, offered by Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, which safeguards the Renewable Fuels Standard program against any unintended consequences resulting from efforts to block EPA climate change programs.”
The Renewable Fuels Association also sent a press release on February 16th encouraging lawmakers to stand up for ethanol by supporting Braley’s amendment.
Additionally, the AEC urges members of Congress to remove language in the CR that would defund administrative efforts to implement the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The AEC fully supports an amendment by Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) that would reinforce the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to implement the RFS.
“The RFS is as important, if not more important, to advanced ethanol companies as it is to current ethanol producers,” said Brady. “Ethanol is one part of our nation’s solution to the energy challenges we face. Now is not the time to turn back the clock on the energy, environmental and economic progress this industry has made.”
One day after Latham’s meltdown in the House, RFA sent another press release praising Braley for “raising awareness about the anti-ethanol, anti-fuel choice agenda of some members of Congress.”
It should be pretty clear to anyone with half a brain that Braley’s commonsense bill was necessary in order to protect Iowa ethanol, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the worst political analysts in Iowa, Craig Robinson, reported on the Latham meltdown by claiming that “Braley didn’t understand what he was talking about.”
Unfortunately for Tom Latham and his buddy Craig, they are in fact the ones that don’t know what the hell they are talking about. But I guess that’s what happens when you blindly read the Republican leadership’s anti-ethanol talking points.
One question remains in this whole disturbing episode: When is Congressman Tom Latham going to go back on the floor of the Congress and apologize for giving cover to the job-killing Republicans who are dead set on killing the ethanol industry?
Disclosure: I’m not paid by Rep. Bruce Braley but I support his campaign and any progressive politician in Iowa. If you have an idea or topic for a diary, please don’t hesitate to email me! kirkwoodsamuel at yahoo dot com.