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BIOFUELS:

Stakeholders baffled, angry as Obama admin punts 2014 RFS

The Obama administration today stepped away from a contentious rule that aimed to slash 2014 targets for ethanol and advanced biofuels. U.S. EPA conceded in an announcement it couldn't complete the rule during a 90-day review at the Office of Management and Budget and that a final rule wouldn't be ready this year. The agency will likely withdraw the rule from OMB.

PUBLIC OPINION:

Most Americans think climate change will harm other people -- poll

The United Nations' climate panel warned recently that global climate change is set to render "severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts" and 2014 will likely be the hottest year on record. Yet the majority of Americans think the worst climate impacts will happen in poorer, less-developed foreign nations, and not in the United States, according to a new survey by the Public Religion Research Institute and the American Academy of Religion.

COMMITTEES:

Lobbyists fund Hill portraits as lawmakers target paintings of Cabinet members

The unveiling earlier this week of retiring Rep. Doc Hastings' (R-Wash.) official portrait as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee drew great fanfare. Hastings' portrait will hang on the wall of the committee room where he has presided since 2011 -- a privilege afforded to all current or former chairmen of standing House committees. But the government doesn't pay for the pricey portraits. Instead, it's common practice for lobbyists and undisclosed private donors to chip in. Lawmakers are continuing the practice even as members of Congress work to ban administration officials from having the taxpayer-funded portraits traditionally made of Cabinet members.

OCEANS:

Debate churns as NOAA is set to open U.S. waters to aquaculture

Giant cages float off the shores of Hawaii, housing hundreds of thousands of yellowtail snapper in the deep waters of the Pacific. The so-called Hawaiian Kampachi spend about one year in their net pens before they're put on ice and sold to restaurants and wholesalers in the United States and abroad. They are a rare breed: the product of one of the few open-water fish farms in the United States. They may not keep that status for long. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is on the verge of setting a regulatory system and allowing as many as 20 permits for farms in the Gulf of Mexico, in what supporters hope is the seed of a nationwide industry.

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