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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE September 3, 2019

Top Story

Trade

As Trump Escalates Trade War, U.S. and China Move Further Apart With No End in Sight

By Ana Swanson, New York Times  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

After months of stalled negotiations and China’s refusal to give in to America’s demands, Mr. Trump’s strategy has taken a more punitive turn. Mr. Trump, who has emphasized his view of the two countries as economic enemies and geopolitical rivals since his presidential campaign, has more recently advocated a rapid “decoupling” between nations that have become economically dependent on each other over the past two decades. On Sunday, China began charging a 33 percent tariff on American soybeans, compared with just 3 percent for those coming from Brazil or Argentina, Mr. Bown says. On Dec. 15, China will start taxing American autos and auto parts at a 42.6 percent rate, compared with 12.6 percent for those from Germany or Japan. [ read more … ]

Trump Heaps More Tariffs on China, Still No Deal in Sight

By Jenny Leonard and Mark Niquette, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

The Trump administration slapped tariffs on roughly $110 billion in Chinese imports on Sunday, marking the latest escalation in a trade war that’s inflicting damage across the world economy. China retaliated.
The 15% U.S. duty hit consumer goods ranging from footwear and apparel to home textiles and certain technology products like the Apple Watch. A separate batch of about $160 billion in Chinese goods — including laptops and cellphones — will be hit with 15% tariffs on Dec. 15. President Donald Trump delayed part of the levies to blunt the impact on holiday shopping. [ read more … ]

Factbox: Next rounds of Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods to hit consumers – Reuters

By David Lawder, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

The Chinese move, which also goes into effect in two steps on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15, targets U.S. crude oil for the first time with a 5% tariff. U.S. soybeans, already subject to a 25% Chinese tariff, will be hit with an extra 5% tariff on Sept. 1, while beef and pork from the United States will get an extra 10% tariff. Beijing also will reinstitute a 25% tariff on U.S.-made vehicles and a 5% tariff on auto parts that it had suspended in December at a time when U.S.-China trade negotiations were gaining momentum. China already has tariffs in place on about $110 billion worth of U.S. products, ranging from 5% to 25%, including soybeans, beef, pork seafood, vegetables, liquefied natural gas, whiskey and ethanol. [ read more … ]

SREs

Trump promises to appease ethanol makers as anger builds over refinery waivers

By Meghan Gordon, S&P Global  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

Biofuel makers are pushing the US Environmental Protection Agency to rewrite the 2020-21 biofuel blending mandate as farm-country anger builds about small refinery waivers eating into ethanol demand. The anger has gotten the attention of President Donald Trump, who tweeted Thursday that his administration was working on a “giant package” that would benefit the biofuel industry.

“The Farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for Ethanol, not even including the E-15, year around, which is already done,” Trump said, referring to his lifting the ban on summertime sales of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol. [ read more … ]

Anger grows in rural Iowa: Can Trump provide a renewable fuels solution that wins back farmers?

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

Farmers’ growing frustration and anger over the waivers have opened a door for Democratic presidential candidates to hammer Trump’s commitment to rural America, once considered a lock for the president. Democratic presidential candidates have criticized Trump’s decision on waivers, and Axne and U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, also an Iowa Democrat, have called for federal investigations. [ read more … ]

Corn Plus ethanol plant in Winnebago closing

By Tim Krohn, Mankato Free Press  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

The Corn Plus ethanol plant in Winnebago, Minn., is the latest victim of an industry rocked by low prices and actions by the Trump administration that have cut ethanol use and collapsed ethanol prices. Don DeLanghe, a member of the board of directors, said the plant may cease production as soon as the end of this week. Corn Plus is owned by farmer shareholders and is one of the oldest plants in the state. About 40 employees at the plant will be laid off. [ read more … ]

Litigation

Court rejects challenges to RFS implementation

By Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

The court largely agreed with EPA’s reasoning that it has significant discretion over how to implement the program, though the challengers had called the rule a “misalignment” and said it was part of the reason the refining firm Philadelphia Energy Solutions filed for bankruptcy last year. While he concurred with the decision, Senior Judge Stephen Williams expressed frustration with the program, calling EPA’s legal interpretation a “muddle” and chastising the court’s decision for its breadth. [ read more … ]

Court Dismisses Biodiesel Challenge to RFS Volumes

By Todd Neeley, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

A federal appeals court on Friday dismissed a legal challenge by the National Biodiesel Board on the biomass-based diesel volumes set by EPA in 2017, in an opinion handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The NBB asked for a review of the EPA action in 2017, alleging the agency has no statutory authority to control or limit the growth of biofuels markets. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

U.S. Chamber splits with Trump over car rules

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is splitting with President Trump over his rollback of Obama-era clean car standards. Until now, the business heavyweight had largely refrained from criticizing the high-profile environmental regulatory rollback.
[ read more … ]

Oregon plant could produce ethanol from wheat

By Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

Global Partners LP recently filed for a renewal of its air quality permit at its Columbia Pacific Bio-Refinery in Clatskanie, Oregon. The permit could allow the plant to use wheat as its feedstock in addition to the more traditional corn. Catie Kerns, vice president of external communications for Global Partners, said the permit is being finalized by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, and that Global Partners “hope[s] to receive the final permit renewal in the coming weeks.” [ read more … ]

Opinion

Our View: Farm economy: Trump actions continue to decimate farm country

By Editorial Board, Mankato Free Press  •    •  Posted September 2, 2019

The pillars of the agriculture economy are crumbling while President Donald Trump offers only feel-good words and empty promises. Trump promised long ago the trade war with China would be long over and said trade wars are “easy to win.” So far, it’s a couple years and billions of dollars in lost farm income “easy.” Trump promised he would support allowing use of E-15 ethanol in the winter as an aid to farmers, but on another issue his EPA quietly granted waivers to 31 oil companies recently who no longer must use cleaner-burning ethanol. Another 54 waivers were granted earlier this year, with the National Corn Growers pegging the lost business to farmers in over 2.6 billion gallons of ethanol. All told, the waivers are cutting 4 billion gallons of ethanol demand from the 15 billion required by law, a near 30 percent drop [ read more … ]

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