With a goal of weaning the nation's cars off foreign oil, Congress created the renewable fuels standard in 2005. This mandate requires increasingly large amounts of biofuels each year to be blended with gasoline. As most of the mandate is currently met with corn-produced ethanol, last summer's drought sent corn prices soaring and caused the mandate to come under intense bipartisan scrutiny.
Join National Journal as we convene members of Congress and experts from both sides of the aisle to explore whether the mandate should be revised, eliminated, or remain as is, and what the Environmental Protection Agency can and should do to respond to concerns about the policy.
Paul Beckwith is CEO of Butamax Advanced Biofuels.
Michael R. Brower is Mosaic Federal Affairs' Senior Federal Policy Director and Principal responsible for the firm's operations, projects and legislative objectives and priorities. Michael is a retired career Naval Officer and Aviator who commanded Sea Strike Squadron Twenty-Two in the first Iraqi War and personally flew 43 aircraft carrier-based combat sorties. He also served in the Secretary of the Navy’s personal office as Special Assistant for Air Warfare communicating United States Navy legislative policy to the Congress for Secretary of the Navy Lehman, Secretary of the Navy Webb and Secretary of the Navy Ball. Michael is an ACORE member from the outset and is a long-time Leadership Council member.
Rob Green is executive director of the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR). In this role, he is responsible for overall management of the association’s activities. NCCR, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the leading trade association exclusively representing chain restaurant companies and its members include the country’s most respected and innovative quick-service and table-service restaurants.
Before joining NCCR in 2011, Green was vice president of government and political affairs at the National Retail Federation (NRF). Green came to NRF from the National Restaurant Association, where he promoted the restaurant industry’s policy agenda in Washington as vice president of federal relations. He has been recognized by The Hill as one of the top small business lobbyists in the Nation’s Capital.
Green has also served in a variety of positions on Capitol Hill including senior staff on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and chief of staff and legislative director for several members of Congress.
Green has led a number of business coalitions engaged in federal advocacy on key legislative and policy initiatives. He regularly addresses gatherings of business executives, industry trade associations, and other stakeholder groups, providing analysis and insights regarding federal public policy developments.
Green is a graduate of Dickinson College. He and his wife Jo-Marie live in Bethesda, Maryland.
Amy Harder reports on the intersection of policy, politics and economics of energy and environment issues for National Journal. This includes covering congressional legislation, executive-branch rulemakings and international policy actions affecting the United States. Harder also moderates the popular Energy & Environment Policy Insiders Discussion, which includes more than 100 experts, advocacy leaders and lawmakers in Washington and around the country. Harder moderates and participates in panel discussions hosted online by National Journal and other organizations. She has appeared on CSPAN, MSNBC, Fox News and NPR, among other media outlets; and she delivers speeches throughout the country on national energy and environment policy.
Before covering energy and environment policy, Harder covered the selection of a new Supreme Court justice as the lead reporter for National Journal’s The Ninth Justice blog. Harder has covered a variety of topics since coming to National Journal in May 2008, including foreign policy, national security and political advertising. Prior to her time here, Harder was a staff writer for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Harder is originally from Washington State and received a B.A. in journalism with honors from Western Washington University.
Steven King is the U.S. Representative for Iowa's 4th congressional district, serving in Congress since 2003.
Kris Kiser, an attorney, is President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) and the OPEI Education and Research Foundation located in Alexandria, VA. OPEI is an 84 member international trade association representing the engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturing industry. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show and exposition. The OPEI Education & Research Foundation sponsors the national TurfMutt education program with Discovery Education, a unit of Discovery Communications.
Peter Lehner is the Executive Director of NRDC, and manages more than 350 dedicated environmental advocates in seven offices across the planet and guides NRDC's policy positions and advocacy strategies.
Since Peter assumed his role as Executive Director in 2006, NRDC has strengthened and rededicated its resources towards curbing global warming, building a clean energy future for America, reviving the world's oceans, saving endangered wild spaces and lands, stemming the tide of toxic chemicals, and accelerating the greening of China. NRDC has opened new offices in Chicago and Beijing, and established a new Center for Market Innovation.
Peter Welch is the U.S. Representative for Vermont's at-large congressional district, serving since 2007. He is a member of the Democratic Party. He previously served in the Vermont Senate where he was the Minority Leader and President pro tempore.
Damon Wells serves as the vice president of government relations at the National Turkey Federation. Wells oversees and implements all aspects of the federation’s legislative affairs program, from policy formulation and development to advocacy on Capitol Hill, in a manner that helps ensure the turkey industry’s ability to profitably produce high-quality, nutritious products.
Wells returned to NTF in 2011 after spending a year as professional staff on the Senate Agriculture Committee. He previously had joined NTF in February 2007 as director of legislative affairs. Wells has also held legislative staff positions for Reps. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, and Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., where he provided advice on agriculture and natural resource issues.
Wells holds a B.S. in animal science from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and a master’s degree in agriculture education from Texas Tech University in Lubbock.