Calif. mandate triggers ethanol backlash

Source: Adam Belz • USAToday • Posted: Monday, March 19th, 2012

A California rule assigning higher carbon scores to fuel produced outside the state has drawn the ire of the ethanol industry and the Midwestern states that produce most of the ethanol in the U.S. At least seven states – Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota – are opposing California’s effort to enforce the mandate, which critics say threatens the renewable fuels business in the nation’s grain belt.

EPA approves plan to prevent E15 ‘misfueling’

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, March 19th, 2012

U.S. EPA approved a plan submitted by a biofuels trade group aimed at ensuring the ethanol-gasoline blend E15 doesn’t get pumped into cars from model year 2000 or older.
Companies that manufacture E15 — a blend of 15 percent ethanol and gasoline — may use the “Misfueling Mitigation Plan,” or MMP, when registering with EPA to sell the fuel. EPA requires submission of a plan under Clean Air Act waivers it granted for E15 for new vehicles.

Cargill sticking with ethanol despite challenges

Source: Christine Stebbins • Reuters • Posted: Friday, March 16th, 2012

Agribusiness company Cargill Inc expanding in the corn-based ethanol business despite a sluggish demand outlook for the renewable fuel, the head of the company’s corn milling group said on Thursday. Alan Willits, president of Cargill Corn Milling, said the company is on track to spend $200 million retrofitting and expanding a corn processing facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that will employ 200 and open by the fourth quarter of 2013. “Biofuels have an important role to play as a fuel source in North America,” Willits said in an interview at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit.

Obama Defends Energy Policy, Hitting Back at Presidential Candidates

Source: MARK LANDLER • New York Times • Posted: Friday, March 16th, 2012

In what has become a weekly ritual, President Obama on Thursday defended his administration’s energy policy, in the face of relentlessly rising gasoline prices, to an American public that believes he can do more to ease the pain at the pump. Mr. Obama cycled through now-familiar themes, promoting his record of increased domestic oil and gas production; stricter fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks; and investments in alternative sources of energy, like biofuels, wind and solar power. The administration’s energy policy has been the focus of many speeches the president has given in recent weeks.

Solyndra Is Blamed as Clean-Energy Loan Program Stalls

Source: BILL VLASIC and MATTHEW L. WALD • New York Times • Posted: Friday, March 16th, 2012

More than $16 billion in loans authorized five years ago by Congress to develop fuel-efficient vehicles has yet to be disbursed, with applicants for the money complaining that the Energy Department is crippling plans for greener cars and trucks at a time of rising gas prices.

Brazil Ethanol Drive Falters on Domestic Supply Shortage

Source: Raymond Colitt and Stephan Nielsen • Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Brazil is struggling to make enough ethanol to satisfy domestic demand just as the U.S. scraps restrictions on imports for the first time since 1980. The U.S., the world’s largest market for the biofuel, on Jan. 1 cut a 45 cent-a-gallon tax credit and a 54 cent-a-gallon tariff that protected local companies from foreign competition. Brazil, the world’s No. 2 producer, is unlikely to be able to take advantage after output dropped 19 percent this season.

NH House: Ban ethanol in gasoline

WPTZ • Posted: Thursday, March 15th, 2012

New Hampshire’s House has voted to ban corn-based ethanol as a gasoline additive. The ban would not take effect unless at least two other New England states do the same. A similar proposal has not been approved in the rest of the region.

Senate approves reauthorization bill after grueling floor debate

Source: Jason Plautz • E&E • Posted: Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The Senate voted 74-22 today to clear a two-year bill that would reauthorize U.S. transportation programs in a bipartisan vote, ending months of work and five weeks of floor action.

A Reminder That Science Can Override Pressure

Source: FELICITY BARRINGER • New York Times • Posted: Thursday, March 15th, 2012

The recent death of F. Sherwood Rowland, who, working in 1974 with Mario Molina, discovered that the ozone layer was endangered by a lucrative class of chemicals, is a reminder of the perennial determination of industries to undermine scientific findings that could cost them money or markets. The best-known example is the cigarette industry’s effort to marginalize the science linking tobacco to deadly diseases like lung cancer. Accounts by historians including “Merchants of Doubt” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway or the just-released “Golden Holocaust” by Robert Proctor show how tobacco companies delayed regulatory action by casting doubt on science.

Wind and ethanol groups lament failure of Stabenow’s tax break plan

Source: Hannah Northey • E&E • Posted: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Renewable energy supporters said the Senate’s rejection yesterday of a Democratic proposal to extend a host of expiring tax breaks for the wind, solar and bioenergy industries reflects the new “buzz saw partisan politics” currently looming over Congress.