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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE September 6, 2019

Top Story

White House Proposed Biofuel Plan

White House Weighs Biofuel Quota Boost Amid Appeals From Iowa

By Jennifer A Dlouhy and Mario Parker, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

Top administration officials have developed plans to give a 5% boost to U.S. renewable fuel-blending quotas in 2020, as President Donald Trump seeks to temper farm-state criticism he has undermined U.S. mandates compelling the use of corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel. Under the latest drafted plan, a 2020 quota for advanced biofuel would see a 500 million gallon boost, above the 5.04 billion gallons proposed earlier this year. A de-facto quota for conventional renewable fuel, such as corn-based ethanol, would also get a 500 million gallon boost, to 15.5 billion gallons. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture has asked EPA to increase the proposed 2021 biomass-based diesel requirement by 250 million gallons, to 2.68 billion gallons. [ read more … ]

Trump to meet with USDA, EPA officials about biofuels plan: sources

By Chris Prentice, Stephanie Kelly and Jarrett Renshaw, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 6, 2019

The draft plan under consideration would include a previously discussed increase of 500 million gallons for conventional biofuels, largely corn-based ethanol, as well as an additional 500 million gallons for advanced biofuels like biodiesel for 2020. It would also include an addition to the biodiesel mandate for 2021 of 250 million gallons. That increase would help address “excess waivers,” which have also harmed biodiesel and soy farmers, the document said. [ read more … ]

SREs

Governors’ Biofuels chair calls RFS waivers biggest threat to ethanol– Audio

By Mark Dorenkamp, Bownfield Ag News  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

On a conference call with reporters this Thursday morning, Walz says the unprecedented waivers are causing irreparable harm. “It’s kind of indicative of like long-term markets, and once you lose them, and what I’m very fearful of is that if there’s not an aggressive announcement, then (the Trump Administration) has dealt a death blow to an incredibly innovative American industry that started right here in the Heartland.” [ read more … ]

Survey: Majority of Iowans want to expand RFS, Trump to keep promise to protect policy

By Caroline Cummings, CBS2  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

New data from a survey by the Iowa Biodiesel Board this week shows supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard is a key issue for Iowa voters, who say they want President Trump to keep his promise to protect the federal policy at a time when critics condemn recent decisions by his administration as ways to undermine it. The Iowa Biodiesel Board, a nonpartisan trade association representing the biodiesel industry, commissioned the online survey of 550 Iowans, 470 identifying as voters, in late July and found that 77% of voters said it’s important to them that the president support the RFS, a promise he made on the campaign trail. The Renewable Fuels Standard is a federal mandate requiring blending of some biofuels in the country’s fuel supply. 78% said they want to expand the RFS. [ read more … ]

Walz, Noem ask Trump to tap the brakes on small refinery waivers

By DANA FERGUSON, Forum News Service  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

wo Midwestern governors on Wednesday, Sept. 4, co-authored a letter to the president asking his administration to tap the brakes on the number of small refinery hardship waivers it issues as farmers and renewable fuel plants struggle with the impact of foreign tariffs. Gov. Tim Walz, a Minnesota Democrat, and Kristi Noem, a South Dakota Republican, in their letter raised their concerns about the growing number of waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard granted since 2016. Walz and Noem are the chair and vice-chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition. [ read more … ]

Govs. Walz, Noem Cry Foul Over Trump’s Ethanol Waivers

By DAN NIEPOW, Twin Cities Business  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

President Donald Trump’s ethanol policies continue to raise concerns in the ag-heavy Midwest. On Wednesday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem crossed party lines to air their concerns about the Trump administration’s ethanol waivers for some oil refineries. Those waivers relieve small refiners from a requirement to blend ethanol and biodiesel into their fuels. To date, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued 85 ethanol waivers. [ read more … ]

Trade

U.S. and China Agree to Resume Trade Talks, Sending Markets Higher

By Alexandra Stevenson, New York Times  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

The United States and China will hold trade talks in Washington early next month, officials from both countries said on Thursday, but new tariffs will make it difficult to find a way to end their economic clash. Liu He, a top Chinese economic official and Beijing’s top trade negotiator, will travel to Washington in early October, state media said. Mr. Liu spoke on Thursday morning with Robert E. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, and Steven Mnuchin, the United States Treasury secretary. Mr. Lighthizer’s office said that deputy-level meetings would take place ahead of the talks. [ read more … ]

Fact-Checking Trump’s Claims About China’s ‘Worst Year’

By Linda Qiu, New York Times  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

False. First, the tariffs placed on Chinese imports have raised $27 billion, as of Aug. 28, and a number of recent studies have shown that the costs are borne by American companies and consumers, not by China. Analysts have estimated that the trade war would cost the average American family about $460 over a year. As for China’s “worst year,” President Trump is most likely referring to economic growth. China’s gross domestic product grew 6.2 percent from April to June compared with a year earlier, the slowest rate since 1992. That’s 27 years, not 57 years. [ read more … ]

Ethanol Industry Reels as Trade Dispute and Policy Changes Cut Demand

By Jacob Bunge and Kirk Maltais, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

Ethanol is a celebrated cause in rural America, where roadside signs hail corn farmers’ role in helping the U.S. wean itself from foreign oil. The federal mandate for oil refiners to blend ethanol into gasoline, established in 2005, helped turn the ethanol sector into a $28 billion industry and created a major new source of demand for crops. About 38% of corn grown in the U.S. is used to make ethanol, according to the Agriculture Department.
[ read more … ]

Proposed Car Rule

White House considers splitting rollback — report

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

The Trump administration is reportedly planning to split its rollback of Obama-era clean car standards into two components. The first component would revoke California’s legal authority to set emissions rules tougher than the federal government’s. The second would freeze fuel economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than increasing their stringency each year as President Obama had envisioned.
A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed the administration was working on bifurcating the proposal, a move first reported by Politico, which cited an anonymous White House official. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Lawsuit alleges ADM manipulated cash ethanol market to profit from derivatives – Reuters

By Mark Weinraub, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

Global grain trader and food processor Archer Daniels Midland Co allegedly manipulated the price of ethanol to profit from a short position it was holding in the derivatives market, according to a lawsuit by a rival firm. AOT Holdings, a Swiss company that owns an energy trading subsidiary, filed the class action complaint late on Wednesday in U.S. District Court’s Central District of Illinois Urbana Division, claiming damages from  ADM’s actions of up to $6.33 million. [ read more … ]

Gevo ‘breakthrough’ processes convert low-value products to renewable diesel

By Biofuels International  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

Renewable fuels manufacturer Gevo has developed ‘breakthrough’ processes that convert either isobutanol or fusel oils into renewable diesel. Fusel oils is a mixture of alcohols that are by-products from fermentation processes such as alcohol production, which has low value. The renewable diesel to be produced from low-carbon isobutanol and fusel oils is expected to compete on price with petroleum-based equivalents, as well as reducing particulates and carbon dioxide emissions.
[ read more … ]

Porsche unveils its first EV

By Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

After a bumpy start for sister brand Audi’s e-tron, the Taycan, with the top Turbo S version priced at $185,000, is for the time being the flag-carrier in VW’s massive drive to unseat e-car pioneer Tesla Inc. The wraps came off yesterday at simultaneous events in its three biggest markets, with Porsche — known for churning out roaring sports cars — presenting the vehicle bathed in a backdrop of sustainable-power imagery. “It’s a true Porsche,” the brand’s chief executive officer, Oliver Blume, said at the German leg of the event that unveiled a white version of the sedan. “But it’s different than anything we built in the past 70 years. Porsche is positioning itself for a sustainable future.” [ read more … ]

Primary 2020

Democrats Say Their Climate Plans Will Create Jobs. It’s Not So Simple.

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

Economists generally agree that inaction on climate change would result in deep economic pain for the United States. A government report in November, for instance, warned that, unless significant steps are taken to rein in global warming, it could knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end. But will the candidates’ proposals to fight climate change really spur job growth and if so, is there an accurate way to tally it? Experts say Democrats’ assertions are accurate, to a point. Fighting climate change will create jobs. Yet the rosy net numbers, some warned, don’t tell the far more complicated story of what that green growth could look like. [ read more … ]

EXCLUSIVE: In a new rural plan, Steve Bullock proposes two-year freeze on ag mergers to reset oversight

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted September 5, 2019

Democrat Steve Bullock, the sitting governor of Montana, spoke Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019, at the Des Moines Register Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. Des Moines Register, Des Moines Register. Presidential hopeful Steve Bullock says he would pause U.S. agricultural mergers for two years, while his administration builds increased protections for farmers and consumers. The Montana governor said the freeze is needed to reset proper oversight on proposed mergers. [ read more … ]

Opinion

Tim Walz: Exempting refineries from biofuel requirements is a kick in the gut to farmers

By Tim Walz, Twin Cities Pioneer Press  •    •  Posted September 6, 2019

As chair of the bipartisan Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, I urge the president to make good on his promise to “support our ethanol industry and to fight for the American farmer like no other president has ever fought before.” It has been reported that the president has been considering revoking some of these recently granted exemptions. While this would be a positive step, farmers and the ethanol industry need certainty that the administration will apply the law fairly and consistently. This should be a promise that farmers can depend on. [ read more … ]

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