Northeastern states sue EPA for ‘failing to act’ on smog

Source: Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

New York and seven other Northeastern states are suing U.S. EPA regarding its refusal to undertake a sweeping expansion of regional ozone reduction efforts. The lawsuit, filed last week, challenges the agency’s turndown last fall of a 2013 petition to add another nine states — mostly in the South and Midwest — to the Ozone Transport Region.

Brazil establishes national biofuels policy

Source: By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Brazilian President Michel Temer has approved legislation creating RenovaBio, a new national biofuels policy. The law was published in the official federal gazette of Brazil on Dec. 26. The Brazilian Senate approved the bill on Dec. 12. RenovaBio aims to increase the use of all biofuels, including ethanol, biodiesel and biomethane, in Brazil with the aim of increasing energy security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Cruz taps Texas mistrust of ethanol

Source: By James Osborne, Houston Chronicle • Posted: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

Ethanol. Oil states like Texas hate it. Corn states live and die by it. And politicians who try to take on ethanol often get buried in the issue’s complexities. Nonetheless, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, continues to press ahead in the seemingly quixotic mission of lowering the cost for Texas oil refineries to comply with an increasingly pricey federal mandate requiring biofuels to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply.

Op-Ed: Rick Santorum: Refiners attack President Trump at their peril

Source: By Rick Santorum, Washington Examiner • Posted: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

The RFS is working, exactly as intended when we passed the law with bipartisan congressional support more than a decade ago. That’s why 38 Senators, along with members of the House and a coalition of GOP governors, fought to protect the RFS this past summer. It allows hundreds of rural biorefineries and America’s hard-working farmers to compete at the fuel pump against foreign oil.

EPA Opens Door to Sorghum Oil as Biofuel Feedstock

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN/Progressive Farmer • Posted: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Sorghum may see another Renewable Fuel Standard boost from a newly proposed pathway for sorghum oil extracted from ethanol plants, according to a new rule proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. On Dec. 19, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a proposed rule to allow sorghum oil to qualify as a biofuel feedstock for advanced biofuels and biomass-based diesel. The EPA proposal came about as a result of a petition filed by the National Sorghum Producers (NSP).

Vehicles are now America’s biggest CO2 source but EPA is tearing up regulations

Source: By Oliver Milman, The Guardian • Posted: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Some of the most common avatars of climate change – hulking power stations and billowing smokestacks – may need a slight update. For the first time in more than 40 years, the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the US isn’t electricity production but transport – cars, trucks, planes, trains and shipping.

Nafta May Be on Track for an Unhappy New Year

Source: By Andrew Mayeda, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

The U.S., Mexico and Canada are heading into 2018 with no clear plan for saving the North American Free Trade Agreement. Negotiators  wrapped up their latest round of talks last week in Washington without closing any new chapters of a revamped accord. While officials made headway on issues such as telecommunications and e-commerce this week, according to people familiar with the talks, the parties haven’t finalized agreements on even minor issues since October. The lack of progress makes the goal of reaching a deal by March seem increasingly unrealistic.

Air Pollution Contributes to More Than 20,000 Deaths a Year

Source: By NICHOLAS BAKALAR, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Researchers found that for each day-to-day increase of 10 micrograms per square meter in fine pariculate matter (PM 2.5), the small particles of soot that easily enter the lungs and bloodstream, there was a 1.05 percent increase in deaths. For each 10 parts per billion increase in ozone, a main component of smog, there was a 0.51 percent increase. The effect was greater for low-income people, African-Americans, women and those over 70, and the risk remained significant even at levels below what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

U.S. oil production booms as new year begins

Source: By Thomas Heath, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

The United States is so awash in oil that petroleum-rich Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil and natural gas company is reportedly interested in investing in the fertile Texas Permian Basin shale oil region, according to a report last month. That is a far cry from the days when U.S. production was on what was thought to be an irreversible downward path.

Iowa’s ethanol production sets a record in ’17

Source: By Mike Bell, Council Bluffs Nonpareil • Posted: Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018

Iowa’s ethanol industry celebrated a record-breaking year in 2017 as 43 plants produced 4.2 billion gallons, an increase from 2016. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association reported the increase is largely due to several plant expansions, increased demand of exports and higher blends, like E-15 fuel.