News

Call ethanol ‘transitional.’ Just don’t call it dead

Source: By ErinJordan, The Gazette • Posted: Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Doug Berven doesn’t mind if the word “transitional” is used to describe ethanol as a fuel — as long as people recognize the transition between gasoline-powered vehicles and an all-electric fleet likely will take some time and ethanol may have a part in the future. “If ethanol is a bridge, it’s a very wide bridge and you can’t see the other side,” said Berven, vice president of corporate affairs for POET, one of the world’s largest biofuels producers, based in South Dakota.

The Chevy Bolt recall is burning up what’s left of GM’s EV good will

Source: By Sean O'Kane, The Verge • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

General Motors plans to launch 30 new electric vehicles around the world by 2025, and aspires to sell only zero-emissions vehicles by 2035. But over the last few years, the United States’ biggest automaker has once again squandered the advantages it held in the still-burgeoning field of electric vehicles through bad politics, bad investments, and now most notably, a massive recall of the Bolt — currently its only all-electric vehicle — thanks to around a dozen reported fires.

Critics of $4.5 billion carbon capture pipeline say Branstad appointees have conflict, should recuse themselves

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

Critics of a proposed $4.5 billion pipeline project say Iowa Utilities Board members appointed by former Gov. Terry Branstad have a conflict of interest and should recuse themselves from decisions about the project, which has hired Branstad as an adviser. Summit Carbon Solutions wants to build a pipeline, called the Midwest Carbon Express, across 30 counties in Iowa to capture carbon emissions from ethanol and other industrial agriculture plants, compress it into a liquid and transport it to North Dakota for permanent sequestration a mile underground.

Oil giant Shell sets sights on sustainable aviation fuel take-off

Source: By Ron Bousso, Reuters • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

Royal Dutch Shell plans to start producing low-carbon jet fuel at scale by 2025, in an attempt to encourage the world’s airlines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Aviation, accounting for 3% of the world’s carbon emissions, is considered one of the toughest sectors to tackle due to a lack of alternative technologies to jet fueled-engines.

Billions in USDA pandemic assistance continues

Source: By Jacqui Fatka, Farm Progress • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

USDA has made over 20 announcements of significant resources of the pandemic assistance, according to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. An anticipated $700 million in COVID aid for the biofuels industry waits at the Office of Management and Budget for final rule review, while the administration continues to dole out pandemic assistance to farmers and related industries. To date, USDA has paid out $13.8 billion in Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments in the second round (CFAP2) and $10.5 billion for CFAP1. 

Rivian is coming. Here’s why it matters

Source: By David Ferris, E&E News • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

Americans always have had exactly one choice when it comes to all-electric carmakers: Tesla. Starting this month, they will have another. Rivian Automotive Inc. rolled its first pickup truck destined for regular customers off its assembly line in Normal, Ill., last week, and first deliveries are coming soon. The vehicle is a milestone toward electric vehicles’ being, well, normal. But it’s not the only reason that Rivian matters. One reason is historic. If Rivian thrives, it will be only the third American automaker in a century to not to die by bankruptcy. The others are Chrysler, founded in 1925, and Tesla, in 2003.

NBB presses EPA to boost biodiesel mandates

Source: By InsideEPA • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is again seeking a meeting with EPA Administrator Michael Regan to press its case for increased biodiesel use as an immediate means to cut mobile source emissions, as the agency nears proposal of biofuel blending rules that might cut or hold steady biodiesel production mandates. In a Sept. 16 letter, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik reiterates his May request for a meeting, citing EPA’s recent report on “Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States

As EPA Plan Looms, Lobbying Intensifies Over RFS Biofuel Volume Cuts

Source: By Stuart Parker, InsideEPA • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

Lobbying efforts by biofuels groups, refiners and others are accelerating ahead of EPA’s release of a proposal expected to reduce biofuel blending requirements under the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for 2021 and potentially 2020, even as required volumes could rebound to statutory targets in 2022. In a series of recent and upcoming meetings with White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) officials, stakeholders are pitching to either reduce volumes or safeguard them at existing levels, as EPA weighs whether to cut the program’s blending requirements to reflect reduced overall fuel consumption during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pipes are calling

Source: BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

Even as Democrats edge forward on the most aggressive climate legislation in U.S. history, they’re getting some grief from advocates who are usually solidly in their corner: anti-pipeline advocates. At issue is $2 billion in the bipartisan infrastructure bill to help develop new pipeline networks to carry carbon dioxide from industrial emitters to underground storage sites. Jane Kleeb, chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party who spearheaded efforts against the now-canceled Keystone XL pipeline, said Nebraska farmers have received calls from pipeline companies interested in look at their land for siting of a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline system. “There is such little education on this out there, even among climate champions, that people feel like they’re getting sold, just like they got sold with fracking early on,” Kleeb said. “That money for pipelines shouldn’t be in there, I’m sorry. If these measures are necessary, let oil companies handle them, not taxpayers.”

RIN talk

Source: By MATTHEW CHOI, Politico • Posted: Monday, September 20th, 2021

Democratic members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation are calling on the Biden administration to alter the Renewable Identification Number credits markets to protect union jobs at independent refineries, who typically purchase the credits to meet biofuel obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard. They write that current high RIN prices will force Monroe Energy’s Trainer refinery to spend twice as much to comply with the program as was spent to purchase the entire company 10 years ago. That letter arrives as EPA’s Office of Inspector General signaled Friday it would begin an audit on the agency’s oversight of the RINs market. The audit is part of the OIG’s 2021 plan that called for looking at whether EPA provides reasonable assurance that the credit market complies with its regulations and guidance.