Corn Price Pressures Ethanol Margins

Source: By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2021

Profit margins continued to fall at DTN’s hypothetical ethanol plant as soaring corn prices offset higher ethanol prices at the 50-million-gallon Neeley Biofuels plant. The DTN National Corn Index has spiked from about $3.75 per bushel in early October to $4.99 on Wednesday. The March futures price on the Chicago Board of Trade — the price paid by DTN’s hypothetical plant — closed at $5.24 on Wednesday, jumping by about $1 since the middle of December.

Ethanol Watches EPA Warily on RFS

Source: By Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor, and Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2021

Members of Congress and the biofuels industry are scrambling over EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler potentially reversing course and approving more renewable fuel exemptions for small petroleum refiners in the last days of the Trump administration. EPA is considering 32 requests by petroleum refiners to exempt them from 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard blend obligations. Industry sources have told DTN a decision on new exemptions by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler is “imminent.” Wheeler now has less than a week in office to take any such action to help the refiners at the expense of the biofuels industry.

5 transportation trends to watch in 2021

Source: By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

When it comes to curbing the climate effects of transportation, 2021 is shaping up to be an eventful year at the federal, state and local levels. Climate hawks are increasingly focused on slashing planet-warming emissions from the transportation sector, the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States. Top of mind for many is President-elect Joe Biden’s promise to scrap President Trump’s rollback of clean car standards and set ambitious new tailpipe rules.

Ernst gives Biden EPA pick earful on biofuel mandates

Source: By Marc Heller, E&E News Reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) spoke with President-elect Joe Biden’s choice for EPA administrator, Michael Regan, about the importance of biofuel mandates as the renewable fuel faces one last potential showdown with the Trump administration. Ernst’s office said she spoke with Regan, the head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, about the importance of denying small refineries’ requests for waivers from biofuel-blending requirements, as well as expanding consumer access to higher-ethanol fuels

Companies launch coalition to promote EVs

Source: By David Ferris, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

A new coalition of transportation and automotive companies has formed to advocate for policies to aid the spread of electric vehicles. The Electrification Coalition Business Council (ECBC) includes traditional automakers General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp., all of which have EVs coming to market.

17 states sue EPA for declining to tighten air pollution standards

Source: By Rachel Frazin, The Hill • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

“Study after study shows the negative health impacts of particulate matter pollution to our most vulnerable communities,” Becerra, whom President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate as Health and Human Services secretary, said in the release. “History books will record unkindly the Trump Administration’s callous disregard for their lives and the willful denial of science and the law.” The EPA in December finalized a decision to retain the standards set by the Obama administration in 2012 for both fine and coarse forms of particulate matter, commonly known as soot. 

Scoot yourself

Source: BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

A coalition of 17 states and New York City, led by California, is suing EPA for not strengthening the national air quality standard for particulate matter, or soot. They argue that EPA’s review of the health science on particulate matter was “flawed and unlawfully biased,” according to the office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

US Ethanol Stocks at 35-Week High Despite Modest Demand Boost

Source: By DTN Staff • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Total domestic ethanol inventories increased 1.7% in the week ended Jan. 8 as production continued higher while demand, though up 4% from a week earlier, remains more than 12% below a year earlier, data released by the Energy Information Administration on Wednesday, Jan. 13, show. Blending activity, a measure of demand, gained 29,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 748,000 bpd, down 12.4% from the same week in 2020, data show. Blending activity during the four weeks ended Jan. 8 averaged 772,000 bpd, 97,000 bpd below the comparable year-ago period.

House Biofuels Caucus urges Trump to reject SRE petitions

Source: By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

Members of the House Biofuels Caucus sent a letter to President Trump on Jan. 12 urging him to direct the U.S. EPA to immediately reject any pending small refinery exemption (SRE) requests that do not meet criteria established by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in its January 2020 ruling on SREs. In the letter, the representatives say they are alarmed by reports that the EPA may issue numerous pending 2019 SREs despite ongoing legal action and commitments from top EPA officials that this would not occur.

U.S. EPA eyes extending refinery biofuel deadlines, no action on waivers

Source: By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Thursday it would propose to extend deadlines for refiners to prove compliance with biofuel laws, but signaled it would not decide on a slew of pending waiver requests submitted by the industry. The agency’s proposal represented mixed news for refiners hard hit by slumping energy demand during the coronavirus pandemic and eager to sidestep regulatory costs associated with U.S. biofuel blending policy. It also marks one of the last actions from President Donald Trump’s EPA before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
U.S. senators including Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley of Iowa urged EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in a letter dated Thursday not to grant small refinery exemptions until ongoing litigation is resolved.