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Illinois farmers harvest corn crops. Photo: Seth Perlman / AP

The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday largely maintained quotas for a federal ethanol mandate, resisting efforts by oil companies to make bigger changes.

Why it matters, per Axios' Amy Harder: These final quotas show the ethanol lobby and a group of corn-state lawmakers led by Sen. Chuck Grassley remain as powerful as ever even under the unconventional administration of President Trump. EPA did cut the quotas compared to statutory levels, but it discarded more aggressive changes. That mixed bag ultimately led to a range of muted reactions from ethanol backers, including a cautious statement of approval from Grassley, and criticism from oil and refinery interests.

Gritty details: The mandate's overall quota was revised slightly upward, from a proposed 19.24 billion gallons to a final 19.29 billion gallons. The difference comes largely from a slightly increased quota for cellulosic biofuels made from non-corn material compared to the proposal.

Go deeper: Understanding America's ethanol policy; The ethanol empire strikes back

Go deeper

National Guard chief says it took 3 hours for Pentagon to grant Jan. 6 request

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, will testify Wednesday that it took three hours and 19 minutes for Pentagon leadership to approve a request for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, according to his prepared remarks.

Why it matters: The timeline over when National Guard requests were made and granted has been a key point of contention in congressional hearings examining the security failures surrounding the Capitol riots.

39 mins ago - World

International Criminal Court opens Israel-Palestine war crimes probe

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu has strongly objected to the investigation. Photo: Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday announced her intention to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories since 2014.

Why it matters: The investigation is expected to consider possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as the construction of West Bank settlements by Israel. It could sharply increase tensions between Israel, which fiercely opposes the probe, and Palestinian leaders, who requested it.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Exxon says it's well-positioned amid investor pressure

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

ExxonMobil said Wednesday that its oil-and-gas development plans will create good returns even at modest oil prices as the company looks to win back investor confidence after several rocky years.

Driving the news: The company, just ahead of an investor presentation this morning, said its investments are designed to generate returns of over 30% and touted its spending reductions.