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Clean Water Act Challenges; Grain Council Trade Woes

Court fights over the scope of the government’s authority under the Clean Water Act are likely to increase during the Trump administration.

That’s according to Neal McAliley, with the Carlton Fields law firm in Miami, who thinks there will be an increasing focus on the courts.

Part of the reason is the Supreme Court’s decision last year in Hawkes v. U.S., in which the court found landowners seeking a CWA permit could challenge the Corps of Engineer findings.

The U.S. Grains Council has always been one of the major voices for the country’s grain exports, but the last several weeks have brought some major changes to requirements for that job.

For starters, the Council’s international employees are now faced with the sometimes daunting task of reassuring trading partners who are reacting to developments stirred up by comments from President Trump, including a pledge to renegotiate NAFTA.

Tom Sleight, the group’s president and CEO, said that “flare-up” is just further evidence that maintaining trading relationships is “going to take a lot of work.”

President Trump doubled down on his climate change skepticism with Cabinet selections like EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

With former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson already confirmed as Secretary of State, these Trump choices are a guarantee that fossil fuels will be well represented in energy discussions.

One dark cloud over U.S. ethanol industry profitability is threatened by China’s recent decisions imposing protectionist trade barriers targeting U.S. ethanol and distillers dried grains with solubles.

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