High stakes for Iowa in ethanol waiver debate

Source: Dave Dewitte, The Gazette • Posted: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Worries that many Iowa ethanol plants will close if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves requests to waive the Renewable Fuel Standards due to drought may not be far off base, experts say. Renewable fuel advocates contend that the economics of producing ethanol tilted sharply against producers in July due to a jump in corn prices caused by the drought. If the Renewable Fuel Standard is waived entirely, they say, ethanol producers would lose a large part of the market they serve.

Isaac’s heavy rains on way to parched Midwest

Source: Paul Quinlan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac may bring the U.S. midsection the rain it desperately needs. Forecasters this morning predicted Isaac will plow north through parched Arkansas, Missouri and Illinois this weekend, providing relief from what many are calling the worst U.S. drought since 1988. Moderate to extreme drought conditions afflict 53 percent of the country

Industry groups sell profit-making, not planet-saving, at GOP convention

Source: Elana Schor, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The American Petroleum Institute is inescapable here, its name attached to briefings and concerts while its campaign logo adorns free sunglasses and sunscreen. But clean energy is not invisible to Republicans during their quadrennial celebration. Even as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney emphasizes the oil, gas and coal elements of what his party likes to call an “all of the above” strategy, businesses that traffic in renewables and efficiency are honing their energy pitch to conservatives. Their language tends to sidestep climate change and the environment while emphasizing profits and growth — talk tailor-made to persuade a potential Romney administration that fossil fuels are not the only game in town.

Nebraska Ethanol plant idle, but town is optimistic

Source: Art Hovey, Lincoln Journal Star • Posted: Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The last time the local ethanol plant went into idled status, it was 2008 and mothballing turned out to be the beginning of a complete financial meltdown for its owner, VeraSun. This time, local businessman and economic development promoter Tim Kayton isn’t expecting anything nearly as serious to happen, even though the operation now owned by Valero has been out of production mode since June.

Algae ‘Green Crude’ test plant now running

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

A California company working to turn algae into oil can now start running its demonstration plant. San Diego-based Sapphire Energy said yesterday that it has finished initial development of its “Green Crude Farm” in Luna County, N.M., after 14 months of work. The company plans to grow algae in ponds and produce a petroleum substitute.

White House finalizes higher standards

Source: Jason Plautz, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The White House today finalized rules that could double fuel economy in light-duty vehicles by 2025, a move the administration says will reduce domestic oil consumption by 12 billion barrels over the life of the program. The new standards, announced today by the Department of Transportation and U.S. EPA after a lengthy White House review, establish a 54.5 mpg fleetwide standard by model year 2025. The standards, which apply to cars produced between model years 2017 and 2025, will also require reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which EPA says will slash 6 billion metric tons of emissions over that time.

New fuel standards aim to double gas mileage

CBS News, Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The Obama administration on Tuesday announced new regulations seeking to force the average gas mileage of new cars and trucks to nearly double in the next 13 years. The rules, issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, require new cars and trucks to average 54.5 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving by 2025, up from 28.6 mpg at the end of 2011.

Virginia Governor McDonnell Asks EPA For Ethanol Waiver

Source: By Mario Parker, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to suspend the nation’s ethanol requirement, citing high grain prices. McDonnell follows lawmakers from both political parties who have called for a suspension of the mandate in the wake of the worst U.S. drought in 56 years, prompting the U.S. Agriculture Department to reduce its forecast for this year’s corn crop to 10.779 billion bushels.

Biofuels industry: Waiver requests on renewable fuels standard rattling investors

Source: By Zack Colman, • Posted: Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Biofuels groups said Tuesday that political pressure from governors to waive the renewable fuel standard (RFS) this year is starting to strain the industry by sending “instability signals” to investors. Eight state governors have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an RFS waiver in response to the drought. Biofuels groups told reporters that they are starting to worry such efforts could chill investment in advanced biofuels — generally considered those made from non-food products — that many lawmakers support.

Military Spending on Biofuels Draws Fire

Source: By DIANE CARDWELL, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

When the Navy put a Pacific fleet through maneuvers on a $12 million cocktail of biofuels this summer, it proved that warships could actually operate on diesel from algae or chicken fat. “It works in the engines that we have, it works in the aircraft that we have, it works in the ships that we have,” said Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy. “It is seamless.”