Friday Roundup: The Primacy of Food
• About a dozen people have begun a march from Hazard, Kentucky, in the eastern coalfields, to the state capitol in Frankfort to protest mountaintop removal coal mining. The trek will take about 11 days.
• Think the political parties aren’t polarized? Check out the Iowa legislature, where there is an argument over the kinds of cups legislators can use.
Democrats, when they were in charge, banned the use of plastic foam cups on the House floor. (It was an environmental thing.) Now Republicans are in the majority and, yes, the Rs have brought back the foam cups.
“I do think they just want to take the Democratic fingerprints off of the place,” said one Democrat who lost last November. A Republican House member lifted a foam cup and said, “We altered House rules to lift the ban on foam cups, so foam cups are now allowed again on the House floor. So in honor of the first substantive thing we’ve done on the House floor, I say, ‘Cheers.’ ”
• DTN’s Urban Lehner writes about the brave (and strange) new world where every piece of food can be traced to its origin.
• Vermont’s new governor, Peter Shumlin, announced a jobs package yesterday at Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery — a sign that the new official thinks ag will be a leader in the state’s economy.
Shumlin focuses on agriculture, with a new loan program, grants and other incentives. “The big thing Shumlin is doing is putting agriculture in economic development,” said Sen. Hinda Miller, D-Burlington.
Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat and new member of the House Ag committee, talked with food producers about what could be done to help the agriculture sector.
• Alaska Dispatch reports that a bill has been introduced by Sen. John McCain that would curtail the federal Essential Air Service program that subsidizes air service to rural locations.
McCain’s amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration’s reauthorization bill, now on the Senate floor, would eliminate the $200 million Essential Air Service, which provides service to 150 communities, from Adak, Alaska, to Muscle Shoals, Alabama.