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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE August 26, 2019

Top Stories

SRE

Trump Orders Biofuel Boost in Bid to Temper Farm State Anger

By Jennifer A Dlouhy and Mario Parker, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

President Donald Trump, seeking to tamp down political fallout in U.S. farm states essential to his re-election, has ordered federal agencies to shift course on relieving some oil refineries of requirements to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol. Trump and top cabinet leaders decided late Thursday they wouldn’t make changes to just-issued waivers that allow small refineries to ignore the mandates, but agreed to start boosting biofuel-blending quotas to make up for expected exemptions beginning in 2021. The outcome was described by four people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named before a formal announcement could be made. [ read more … ]

Trump administration considers boost to biofuel mandates to ease farmer anger: sources – Reuters

By Humeyra Pamuk and Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renhsaw in New York, Reuters  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

The Trump administration is considering ramping up biofuel blending quotas in the coming years to assuage anger in the Farm Belt over its recent broad use of waivers for small refineries, but is not planning to rescind any of the exemptions it has granted so far, four sources familiar with the matter said. The approach would mark a mixed result for the agriculture industry and its backers who had been pushing the administration to revoke some of the exemptions, which they argue hurt demand for corn-based ethanol by freeing refiners from their obligation to blend biofuels into their products. [ read more … ]

Leaked memo: Trump admin mulls effort to boost ethanol

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

In the memo, Perdue — who’s supported the biofuel program as important to corn farmers — outlined several ideas that he said were discussed at the meeting and later agreed on in a phone call by him, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Ambassador to China Terry Brandstad. Brandstad’s involvement signals concerns about the effects of Trump’s trade battles with China, which have resulted in tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods. Farm groups say a friendlier approach to biofuels could counteract the negative effects of trade policies. [ read more … ]

SRE Reaction

‘A slap in the face’: Trump’s ethanol waivers are sparking rebellion in farm country

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

Gripped with anger, some Iowa ethanol leaders say President Donald Trump should no longer count on their support in next year’s election, given his administration’s action to cut demand for the U.S. renewable fuel. “If people connected to agriculture decide to vote for the president, they’re just voting to cut off their own economic prosperity,” said Nick Bowdish, CEO of Elite Ethanol in Atlantic. [ read more … ]

Trade

Trump pivoted again on China, turning down the heat on the trade war — for now.

By Peter Baker, New York Times  •    •  Posted August 26, 2019

President Trump shifted tone on his trade war with China yet again on Monday, calling President Xi Jinping of China a “great leader” just three days after branding him an “enemy” of the United States. Mr. Trump said that Chinese officials had reached out by telephone and that the two sides would soon restart talks aimed at a trade agreement, after the latest escalation in tariffs and his “order” to American companies to look for ways to pull out of China. [ read more … ]

U.S., Japan Agree in Principle on Trade Deal Focused on Farmers

By Isabel Reynolds , Jennifer Jacobs , and Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted August 26, 2019

The U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle on a trade deal under which Japan will slash tariffs on U.S. beef, pork and other agricultural products, while continuing to face tariffs on its own auto exports. Announcing the deal Sunday, U.S. President Donald Trump also said Japan would purchase large quantities of U.S. wheat and corn. Japanese officials may consider that a good deal if they can elicit a promise in return that its automakers will be shielded from Trump’s threat of more painful tariffs. [ read more … ]

Trump, Abe say U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle on trade deal

By Jeff Mason, Reuters  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

The United States and Japan agreed in principle on Sunday to core elements of a trade deal that U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said they hoped to sign in New York next month.
Lighthizer noted that Japan imports about $14 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products and said the agreement would open up markets to over $7 billion of such products. He said beef, pork, wheat, dairy products, wine, and ethanol would all benefit by the deal. [ read more … ]

Trump heaps another 5% tariff on Chinese goods in latest tit-for-tat escalation – Reuters

By Judy Hua, Min Zhang, Se Young Lee, Stella Qiu, Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton in BEIJING, Yilei Sun and Winni Zhou in SHANGHAI, David Lawder, David Shepardson, Doina Chiacu, Jeff Mason, Steve Holland in WASHINGTON and Koh Gui Qing in New York; Additional reporting by Jason Lange, Andrea Shalal and Humeyra Pamuk in WASHINGTON and Tom Polansek and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Reuters  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

The growing economic impact of the trade dispute was a key reason behind the U.S. Federal Reserve’s move to cut interest rates last month for the first time in more than a decade. “The president’s trade war threatens to push the economy into a ditch,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “The president is hoping that the Federal Reserve will … bail him out, but if he continues to pursue the war, the Fed won’t be up to the task.”

Among U.S. goods targeted by Beijing’s latest duties were soybeans, which will be hit with an extra 5% tariff starting Sept. 1. China will also tag beef and pork from the United States with an extra 10% tariff, as well as ethanol with an additional 10% duty from December 15.
[ read more … ]

More Chinese Tariffs Hit US Ag

By Chris Clayton, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

President Donald Trump late Friday afternoon tweeted that higher tariffs would be slapped on Chinese products, following similar action against U.S. products announced by China earlier Friday.
The president reiterated in a tweet China continues stealing intellectual property to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Trump then said $250 billion in Chinese products now subject to 25% tariffs will instead face a 5% higher tariff starting Oct. 1, putting the tariffs for those products at 30%. U.S. agriculture remains caught in the middle of the dispute. Soybeans will face a 5% higher tariff starting Sept. 1. That will put tariffs against U.S. soybeans at 30%. Pork and beef will face 10% higher tariffs as well on Sept. 1. [ read more … ]

China warns U.S. to stop ‘wrong’ trade actions or face consequences

By Winni Zhou and Se Young Lee, Reuters  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

Trump was responding to Beijing’s decision on Friday night that it was planning to impose retaliatory tariff on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports ranging from soybean to ethanol. China will also reinstitute tariffs of 25% on cars and 5% on auto parts suspended last December. The White House economic adviser said earlier in the week the Trump administration was planning in-person talks between U.S. and Chinese officials in September. It is unclear if the bilateral meeting would still take place [ read more … ]

National Farmers Union Says Trump Is ‘Burning Bridges’ With His Trade Wars

By Mary Papenfuss, Huffington Post  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

A national farm organization representing many of the same rural voters who helped put Donald Trump in the White House issued a scathing statement Friday accusing the president of “burning bridges” with trading partners and making the devastating trade war with China even worse. Instead of looking to solve existing problems in our agricultural sector, this administration has just created new ones,” said a statement issued by Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, which represents about 200,000 family farmers, ranchers and fishers in 33 states. [ read more … ]

Nebraska farmers still have tough questions for ag secretary on trade, ethanol waivers

By Paul Hammel, Omaha World-Herald Bureau  •    •  Posted August 26, 2019

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue’s visit to Nebraska was canceled on Friday because of bad weather. What he missed were some tough questions from Nebraska farmers, who are wondering when some good news will arrive in the ongoing trade war with China, which has cut into farm profits. One even wondered if Perdue considered farmers “whiners” or “patriots.” [ read more … ]

Opinions

Jay Inslee’s Lonely Campaign for Climate Change Policy

By The New York Times Editorial Board  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

Jay Inslee’s single-issue campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination was a quixotic effort from the get-go, noble but doomed, one of the longest shots in this electoral season. And on Wednesday, with his hopes of appearing in the next round of debates fast disappearing because of his poor standing in the polls, he accepted reality and graciously dropped out of the race. Yet Mr. Inslee has much to be proud of. In retrospect, his efforts were less about actually winning than they were about pounding home the importance of one issue, global warming. The changing climate consumes him but has had little staying power with the public and the politicians in Washington, and Mr. Inslee dedicated his campaign to moving it closer to the center of the political conversation, at least among Democrats.
[ read more … ]

Trump administration sides with big oil over ethanol

By Editorial Board, Minneapolis Star Tribune  •    •  Posted August 25, 2019

So far, Minnesota ethanol producer Al-Corn Clean Fuel has managed to stay in what CEO Randall Doyal calls a “holding pattern” after the Trump administration sided with the oil industry in a recent standoff over the nation’s renewable fuels policy. But other ethanol producers aren’t as fortunate, including the nation’s largest — Sioux Falls, S.D.-based POET. On Tuesday, the company said it will close an Indiana facility. It has also reduced production at half of its 28 biorefinery locations, resulting in job consolidations and an additional 100 million bushel-a-year drop in corn processed in Minnesota and six other states. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.