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The results of Tuesday’s election are still sorting out. One thing we know for certain is that the Senate Agriculture Committee will have a new chair. Democrat Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas lost. She was chair.
Democrats held on to the Senate, so there will be a D in charge of the committee. That is likely to be Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, according to DTN’s Chris Clayton.
Unless North Dakota’s Kent Conrad wants the job, which Clayton says is a possibility. He apparently hasn’t made up his mind, and since Conrad outranks Stabenow, the job could be his. However, Conrad is already chair of the budget committee, so, who knows. Clayton writes here.
• Canada has blocked the sale of Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan by BHP Billiton of Australia. There is growing concentration of firms in the fertilizer business — and looming shortages, as the world is reaching the limits on production of phosphorus and other fertilizer inputs.
Meanwhile, dealers are running out of potash and phosphate fertilizers in the midwest. The first time there have been shortages in 30 years.
• Howard Berkes at NPR reports that the Labor Department has asked a federal judge to shut down a Kentucky coal mine because it is unsafe. The mine is owned by Massey Energy, the same company that owned the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that exploded earlier this year and killed 29 men.
• Iowa citizens voted to remove three Supreme Court judges Tuesday. The court had voted unanimously to allow same-sex marriages. The vote does not change the ruling.
• Joe Manchin, a Democrat (above), won the senate seat in West Virginia, but he did so by disagreeing with the President. He opposed cap and trade legislation (firing a bullet into the bill in a television commercial) and he has promised to “fix” the health care law. So what does that mean for the Senate, the Washington Post asks?
• Ken Ward Jr. asks similar questions about Nick Rahall, a Democrat who held on to his House seat in southern West Virginia. The Republicans and Massey Energy went after Rahall, according to Ward, but the Democrat still won 55% of the vote. He won by becoming an extreme supporter of coal.
So, you have two Rahalls, according to Ward. “In Washington, Rep. Rahall has among the best voting records on environmental issues and his expertise on the Middle East makes him one of the leading voices for a reasonable U.S. foreign policy there,” Ward wrote.
“But back home, Rahall has now made himself among the Faces of Coal — among the faces of those who support mountaintop removal. He barely admits its downsides, and — perhaps worse — the fact that regardless of any federal rules or regulations, its days may be numbered.”