United States Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and 14 other senators today introduced bipartisan legislation to reform the biodiesel tax credit and extend the new policy for three years. The Senators’ bill, the American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act of 2017, extends this important clean-fuel incentive for three years and reforms the incentive by transferring the credit from the blenders to the producers of biofuels. The switch ensures that the tax credit incentivizes domestic production and taxpayers aren’t subsidizing imported fuel.
Biofuels compliance expenses for CVR Energy’s refining unit fell to the lowest level in almost five years during the first quarter, the company said on Thursday, as the U.S. government weighs an overhaul of its renewable fuels policy. The cost of compliance credits required by the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) have fallen sharply in recent months, driven in part by a proposal to alter the regulation by shifting the blending burden away from refiners to fuel terminals.
DTN Livestock Analyst John Harrington said Cargill’s move was not surprising. “Cargill has steadily been moving away from red meat production over the last decade,” he said. “I would love to be privy to corporate strategy in that regard. I’ve read some papers concerning serious concerns within the company about global warming and the risk of shrinking areas of production, especially in the Southern Plains. I have no idea whether such thought played into this particular sale but am curious, and there’s definitely a pattern.”
A number of climate experts have suggested they expect the White House will eventually decide to remain in the agreement. “I think there is a better than 50/50 chance that the Trump administration will stay in the Paris agreement. I think odds are they will stay in,” Al Gore told the TED conference in Vancouver Wednesday. The internal administration debate about the U.S. position toward Paris was echoed on Capitol Hill on Tuesday when Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who served as Trump’s energy adviser during the campaign, convened a panel to debate the merits of staying in, or departing from, the agreement. The event showed surprising support for the “stay” position, including from conservatives.
The Trump administration’s legal maneuverings and attempts to begin unraveling regulations during its first 100 days have set the stage for what are likely to be prolonged, fierce battles in environmental law over the next four years. The administration has mostly tried to get its bearing in a host of environmental legal disputes pending in various federal courts. Early skirmishes with environmentalists have centered on its requests to halt litigation as it figures out what to do with Obama-era policies.
A roundtable discussion at the White House Tuesday involving President Trump, Vice President Pence, newly sworn-in Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and 14 farmer-leaders and farm advocates offered a genuine sense of encouragement that the administration will focus strongly on the challenges facing U.S. agriculture, those attending the session agreed.
The executive order includes an emphasis on renewable fuels, stating that, “It is in the national interest to promote American agriculture and protect the rural communities where food, fiber, forestry, and many of our renewable fuels are cultivated.” One of the stated objectives of the task force is to “further the Nation’s energy security by advancing traditional and renewable energy production in the rural landscape.”
Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi has asked Brazil’s foreign trade council to impose tariffs on ethanol imports following a surge in shipments from the United States, an official said on Thursday, a move that could stir trade tensions with the Trump administration. Brazil is the main market for U.S. exports of corn ethanol which have swelled in recent months to fill a gap left by falling domestic output, as cane farmers in the South American country diverted more of their crop to making sugar because of high prices.
Renewable fuels stakeholders piled into a courtroom this week in Washington, hoping a three-judge panel would be sympathetic to their concerns over EPA’s governance of the Renewable Fuel Standard. They seem to have gotten their wish. Judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit routinely peppered a Justice Department attorney arguing on behalf of the EPA with questions each more skeptical than the last.
A plan to raise the amount of ethanol that can be blended with motor fuels in Mexico, which could power job growth and lower air pollution, was submitted to the country’s energy regulators by an industry group on Tuesday. The Mexican Association of Sustainable Transportation argues that ethanol is a renewable fuel that can bolster a new domestic industry in rural Mexico where both sugar cane and sorghum are grown, leading to hundreds of thousands of new jobs.