**For the first time, new administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency spoke with a few dozen EPA employees and the media this week after his swearing in.

Former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt outlined general principles, but offered few specifics.

Two significant items on his plate are the Clean Power Plan, a massive rulemaking under which states devise plans to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, and the Waters of the U.S. rule, which seeks to clarify which of the country’s waters can be regulated under the Clean Water Act.

** Tax reform is one of the two highest priorities for Republicans in Congress this year along with replacing Obamacare, but GOP lawmakers are struggling to make progress on either.

The House tax reform plan is getting mixed reviews at best among farm groups because of the broad impact it could have on everything from the cost of fuel and fertilizer to what producers can write off from their taxes.

** With farm incomes on the decline and corn stocks at a 30-year high, there is a “sense of unease spreading across rural America.”

That’s according to Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen who points out how things could be much worse without 5.3 billion bushels of corn demand coming from the ethanol industry, producing 15.3 billion gallons of ethanol last year and supporting nearly 75,000 jobs.

And, that the industry is on the verge of a fifth straight year of growth.

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