Editorial: Leave renewable fuels standard alone

Source: By Stephanie Herseth Sandlin & Tom Ewing, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

America is suffering from the worst drought since the Dust Bowl. Thirty-two states have been declared natural disaster areas, rural communities are hurting, and lawmakers from the local, state and national level are looking for solutions. As often happens in times of crisis, a potential solution is being touted that would have drastically negative consequences in the long run – altering America’s Renewable Fuels Standard, or RFS.

Iowa Corn conditions continue decline

Source: Dan Piller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The condition of Iowa’s corn crop worsened last week, with the percentage of poor to very poor corn rising two percentage points to 53 percent. Soybeans are in better shape, benefiting from recent rains and cooler weather as their pods set. Thirty-seven percent of the crop is rated poor to very poor, identical to last week’s rating, while 25 percent is good to excellent.

Georgia, New Mexico join call for end to US ethanol rule

Reuters • Posted: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Two U.S. states that depend on the livestock industry are adding their voices to a string of states asking Washington to ease pressure on corn prices by suspending rules that send a large share of the crop to produce ethanol. Georgia, the center of U.S. poultry production, and New Mexico, with its large cattle industry, this week asked federal officials to suspend a program that encourages converting corn into ethanol fuel.

Many farmers in the Midwest still say climate change is bogus

E&E • Posted: Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

Despite recent extreme weather events — flooding in 2011 and drought in 2012 — many Midwestern farmers still deny the existence of global warming. By 2030, climate change could cause $1.1 billion to $4.1 billion in losses for Corn Belt farmers, according to the Agriculture Department. Yet only 68 percent of Iowa farmers said they believed the climate was changing, and only about 10 percent of them attributed it to human causes, said an Iowa State University poll

Fuel industry pushes to keep high-ethanol blends off the market

Source: By Zack Colman, • Posted: Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The head of a top fuel industry group wants Congress to take action that he says would protect consumers by keeping a more corrosive blend of gasoline off the market. American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) President Charles Drevna told The Hill on Monday that a U.S. Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia decision last week will put consumers at risk. The court upheld an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy that let gas stations offer fuel with a higher ethanol content. Auto companies say the higher-blend ethanol fuel is more destructive to engines and is not covered by many consumers’ battery warranties.

EPA seeks input on ethanol mandate waiver requests

Reuters • Posted: Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said it has begun weighing requests to suspend the U.S. ethanol mandate, which requires refiners to blend ethanol into gasoline, and is seeking public feedback. The governors of North Carolina and Arkansas asked the agency last week to temporarily waive the U.S. quota on ethanol made from corn, because the worst drought in 50 years has driven corn prices higher and hurt livestock producers who depend on the grain for feed.

Novozymes cuts prediction of U.S. ethanol production because of drought

Source: E&E • Posted: Monday, August 20th, 2012

Novozymes, the world’s biggest supplier of enzymes used in biofuels, cut its forecast for U.S. ethanol production because of the ongoing drought’s impact on corn prices and availability. The Danish company, which commands more than 60 percent of the biofuels enzyme market in the United States, forecast yesterday full-year ethanol production of 13.4 billion gallons, down 6 percent from its previous forecast of 14.2 billion gallons.

Appeals court tosses E15 lawsuit on lack of standing

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 20th, 2012

A federal appeals court today dismissed a lawsuit brought by oil, auto and food industries against U.S. EPA for its approval of E15, or gasoline blended with 15 percent ethanol. In its decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that none of the petitioners has standing to bring the action against EPA.

Drought still getting worse in Nebraska

Source: By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World Herald • Posted: Friday, August 17th, 2012

Browned-out pastures and brisk business at sale barns testify to an ever-worsening drought in Nebraska. In the past week the percentage of the state in the worst category of drought — exceptional — has grown by roughly six times, making Nebraska one of the few states where conditions have deteriorated markedly week to week

Advanced biofuels developers fear corn debate might ‘unravel’ their industry

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 17th, 2012

When U.S. EPA hands down its decision on whether or not to waive the federal ethanol mandate in response to the drought, the corn ethanol and livestock industries won’t be the only ones keeping a sharp eye on it. The cellulosic biofuels sector and other advanced biofuels sectors — those that do not use corn as a feedstock — will also be watching closely. A waiver of the corn ethanol mandate, the fledgling industries worry, could send a signal to crucial investors that the government is not committed to growing domestic biofuels production.