Senate Democrats are proposing to create a new tax credit for clean fuels as part of a package of tax incentives intended to address climate change. 
The new tax credit would replace a series of tax incentives that are now on the books for fuels such as biodiesel, advanced biofuels and natural gas. Fuels could qualify for the new credit if their lifecycle emissions are at least 25% below the current U.S. national average. Under this proposal conventional corn-based ethanol producers would be able to apply for the credit too.
“Rather than tie incentives to specific technologies,” the tax bill “ties incentives to emissions reductions and climate outcomes,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore. The committee will consider the bill on Wednesday.
Take note: There also would be a new tax incentive for electric vehicles. 
Key R wants transparency from USDA legal staff
The top Republican on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., says he’s pushing USDA to share its legal thinking with lawmakers when it comes to key issues, such as the use of the Commodity Credit Corp. 
Boozman tells Agri-Pulse he conveyed that message on Monday to Janie Simms Hipp, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be USDA’s general counsel. The committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Hipp on Thursday. 
“We talked at length about the importance of being transparent with us,” Boozman said. “We’re concerned about them really pushing the envelope on some of the things they’re talking about.” 
He says he didn’t bring up the CCC specifically, but Republicans argue USDA lacks the legal authority to use the CCC account for a carbon bank. 
Keep in mind: The climate-smart agriculture strategy USDA released last week doesn’t mention the CCC or the concept of a carbon bank directly, but still suggests the department could play a role in supporting prices for carbon credits. 
Take note: Boozman supports Hipp’s nomination and isn’t aware of any opposition. “I think that she's poised to do a good job and certainly, certainly has the credentials to be in that position,” Boozman said. 
Did you know? Boozman and Hipp both have deep University of Arkansas connections. Boozman attended the university, where he played football for the Razorbacks. Hipp, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation, founded the university’s Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and got her law degree from the university. 
Senate reauthorization bill increases freight highway miles for rural corridors
A Senate highway reauthorizing bill scheduled for markup Wednesday would increase the maximum number of highway miles a state may designate as critical rural freight corridors. The number of miles is increasing from 150 to 300 miles.  
The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unveiled the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 Saturday. It would set a new baseline funding level of $303.5 billion for U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) programs for highways, roads, and bridges. This is a 34% increase from the last reauthorization bill passed in 2015.
By the way: A House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee aide told Agri-Pulse to expect their text in the coming weeks. Chairman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., hoped to have a bill by Memorial Day but staff is still vetting more than 2,300 “Member Designated Project” submissions and hopes to complete the review soon.
Claxton Poultry says it wasn’t involved in price fixing, bid rigging
Claxton Poultry denies it was involved in bid rigging and price fixing in the broiler chicken industry, in response to an indictment announced by the Justice Department last week.
The allegation of an antitrust violation “is virtually identical to the pending charge brought in 2020 against Claxton Poultry’s President, Mikell Fries, and national accounts sales manager, Scott Brady,” Claxton said in a statement sent to Agri-Pulse. “The company has been investigating these matters extensively for two years and is confident it did not participate in price-fixing or bid rigging conspiracies of broiler chicken products.”
“Claxton Poultry continues to believe that the allegations in the indictment are without merit and it intends to vigorously defend these charges and its good name,” the company said.
US rice makes new inroads to Chinese market
The U.S. rice sector is still trying to drum up new business in China and representatives took full advantage of a recent agricultural showcase event hosted there by USDA’s Agricultural Trade Office. The China-based company Sungiven Foods, which distributed the first U.S. shipment to China that arrived there more than a year ago, donated U.S. rice to give away as samples at the event, says the USA Rice Federation.
“We were pleased to see Sungiven participate in this activity, allowing us to share U.S. rice to all of the interested visitors,” said Jim Guinn, USA Rice director of Asia promotion programs. “Additionally, we garnered four qualified contacts who expressed interest in U.S. rice, requesting samples and U.S. exporters’ contact information, including a foodservice company to test in their restaurant.”
Pasteurized butter requirement upheld by federal court
 The Food and Drug Administration properly rejected a petition challenging the agency’s authority to require pasteurization of butter, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Raw milk advocate Mark McAfee and the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund sued over the denial of the petition, which sought to have butter removed from the definition of milk products, and said FDA did not have a scientific basis for requiring pasteurization.
But U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras in Washington, D.C., said FDA properly promulgated its 1987 rule requiring pasteurization of milk and milk products under the Public Health Service Act.
“Plaintiffs’ argument rests on the false premise that the pasteurization rule works a change to butter’s standard of identity” as defined in the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, he said in his decision. “They offer no statute, regulation, or case to back that position. Their only support is a misreading of history.”
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