Appeals court temporarily blocks EPA waivers

Source: By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 21st, 2021

A federal court yesterday put a hold on EPA’s latest small refinery exemptions (SREs) from federal biofuel-blending rules, responding to an emergency request from the ethanol industry. The emergency stay ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit means EPA can’t act on three exemptions it ordered on the last day of the Trump administration, at least for several weeks.

Electric car batteries with five-minute charging times produced

Source: By Damian Carrington, The Guardian • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Batteries capable of fully charging in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time, marking a significant step towards electric cars becoming as fast to charge as filling up petrol or diesel vehicles. Electric vehicles are a vital part of action to tackle the climate crisis but running out of charge during a journey is a worry for drivers. The new lithium-ion batteries were developed by the Israeli company StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China on standard production lines.

Emergency Petition Filed to Stop EPA From Granting Small-Refinery Exemptions

Source: By Todd Neeley, Dan Staff Reporte • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

The Renewable Fuels Association filed an emergency petition with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asking the court to stop the EPA from granting three small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard issued on Tuesday evening. “EPA’s decision will inflict substantial, immediate and irreversible harm,” on ethanol producers, the emergency motion said. “This would be devastating to America’s ethanol producers, many of which are already on the brink of closure due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Groups blast RFS waivers, urge reversal from Biden admin

Source: By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

As the Biden administration takes hold, groups on each side of the renewable fuel standard are watching for how the program evolves. The administration may put new emphasis on advanced biofuels such as renewable diesel, according to the coalition. The fate of small refinery exemptions depends in large part on a case the Supreme Court will hear this spring involving three exemptions granted to refineries in Utah, Wyoming and Colorado. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals threw out those exemptions and said EPA could only extend waivers granted earlier in the program, not issue new ones

Nebraska state senator seeks to address complaints about ethanol plant near Mead

Source: By Paul Hammel, Omaha World Herald • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

After fielding two years of complaints about an ethanol plant near Mead, State Sen. Bruce Bostelman said it was time to seek some resolution. On Tuesday, Bostelman, who represents the Mead area, introduced a bill that would prohibit the use of “treated seed corn” in the production of ethanol. His Legislative Bill 507 is aimed at the AltEn ethanol plant near Mead, the only ethanol plant in the state that uses seed corn coated in fungicides and pesticides to produce ethanol.

USDA Cut Ethanol Demand; USDA Chief Economist Explains Why

Source: By TYNE MORGAN, AgWeb • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Ethanol demand continues to be a question in the new year. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the country, some states are still seeing restrictions, which is impacting the number of people on the road. At the same time, ethanol stocks rose to an 8-month high earlier this month. Just how much of a reduction ethanol demand will see in 2021 is still unknown. In the latest World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates(WASDE) report, USDA showed corn used for ethanol would be lower this year. The agency said it was based on data through November from the Grain Crushings report, as well as weekly ethanol production data from the Energy Information Administration

RFA Will Fight EPA’s Illegal, Last-Minute Refinery Exemptions

Source: By Ken Colombini, RFA • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

The Renewable Fuels Association today harshly condemned the Environmental Protection Agency’s unconscionable and unlawful decision to grant three more small refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard with just hours remaining before Donald Trump leaves the White House and Joe Biden is sworn in as President. Last week, RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper notified Wheeler of RFA’s intent to legally challenge any waivers issued in the final days of the Trump presidency.

Clean Air Act gets boost as court dumps Trump carbon rule

Source: By Niina H. Farah, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

Opponents of President Trump’s climate rule rollbacks rejoiced after a federal appeals court gave the Biden administration a clean slate to craft a new rule to control greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. A three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit tossed out the Trump EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule and sent it back to the agency. The court found EPA had too narrowly interpreted its authority to regulate emissions. The court not only gave the green light for President-elect Joe Biden to draft stronger power plant regulations, but also broadly affirmed EPA’s authority to craft climate regulations for a range of emissions sources.

‘A cry for survival comes from the planet itself’

Source: By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

“With unity, we can do great things, important things,” he said. “We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus. We can reward work and rebuild the middle class, and make health care secure for all,” he continued. “We can deliver racial justice, and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.

U.S. EPA grants three biofuel waivers to refiners before Trump leaves office

Source: By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday granted three waivers to oil refiners that exempt them from U.S. biofuel blending obligations, a last-minute move before President Donald Trump leaves office on Wednesday. The agency granted two waivers for the 2019 compliance year and one waiver for the 2018 compliance year. The announcement followed four years of controversy around the waiver program under the Trump administration, but left many questions unresolved. Some 30 waiver requests remain outstanding for 2019 and 15 for 2020, which the incoming administration of Joe Biden will need to deal with.