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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE September 13, 2019

Top Story

Branstad wakes Trump to danger in Iowa

BY ART CULLEN, The Storm Lake Times  •    •  Posted September 12, 2019

Ambassador Terry Branstad walked into the White House on Aug. 19 to brief President Trump on the trade war with China, but the two-hour conversation was consumed almost entirely about losing Iowa in 2020 over ethanol, according to a fascinating story by Reuters posted Friday. Branstad warned Trump that the administration infuriated rural voters in Iowa and Wisconsin by issuing waivers of ethanol blending requirements to 31 gasoline refiners. The Iowa Corn Growers said they were “fed up” with the administration. Trump ordered up a phone call to the EPA and USDA chiefs with Branstad in the room. “Let’s fix this now,” he commanded them, according to Reuters. [ read more … ]

White House Biofuels Plan

Trump meets with senators from key farm states, touts biofuel deal progress – Reuters

By Jarrett Renshaw, Stephanie Kelly and Chris Prentice, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 13, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump said the administration has made progress on a biofuel reform package after he met with U.S. senators from key farm states on Thursday as part of an ongoing effort to boost ethanol demand and help hard-hit corn farmers. Trump met with a group of corn-state Republican lawmakers that included Iowa senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley on Thursday afternoon, four sources familiar with the matter said. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds also attended the meeting, two of the sources said. The president is expected to meet with senators representing oil-producing states on Friday to continue discussions on the issue, sources said. [ read more … ]

Trump Meets With Oil Refining Executives Amid Talks on Biofuel

By Jennifer A Dlouhy , Mario Parker , and Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted September 13, 2019

President Donald Trump met Wednesday with the heads of two of the nation’s largest refiners as he seeks a deal that would boost corn-based ethanol and soy-based biodiesel without alienating oil companies required to use the products. Trump met with Marathon Petroleum Corp. chief executive Gary Heminger; Valero Energy Corp. chief executive Joe Gorder; and Harold Hamm, the founder of Continental Resources Inc., according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named describing private discussions. Although Hamm’s Continental is an oil producer without direct involvement in U.S. biofuel mandates, the president has long tapped the billionaire oilman’s energy expertise. [ read more … ]


Washington, Beijing lay ground for trade deal talks; China buys U.S. soybeans – Reuters

By Stella Qiu, Ben Blanchard, Michael Martina, and Dominique Patton in Beijing and Chris Prentice, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 13, 2019

he United States on Thursday welcomed China’s renewed purchases of U.S. farm goods while maintaining the threat of U.S. tariff hikes as the world’s two largest economies prepared the ground for talks aimed at breaking the logjam in their trade war. Lower-level U.S. and Chinese officials are expected to meet within days in Washington ahead of talks between top trade negotiators in early October, seeking to ease a dispute that for more than a year has rattled financial markets and fueled fears of a global recession. [ read more … ]

With Trade Talks Looming, U.S. and China Move to Relax Tensions

By Ana Swanson and Alan Rappeport, New York Times  •    •  Posted September 13, 2019

The trade war between the United States and China showed signs of easing on Thursday, as China reportedly made its first large purchase in months of American soybeans after President Trump agreed to briefly delay his next round of tariffs. A trade deal between the two sides is not imminent, and deep divisions remain. But after weeks of escalating tariffs that have pushed the bilateral relationship to its rockiest point in decades, both countries appeared eager this week to try to calm tensions before a new round of talks next month. [ read more … ]

Big Oil vs Farm Majors: Ethanol Tussle Is Heading to Asia

By Alfred Craig, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted September 13, 2019

Pummeled by the trade war with China, U.S. farm companies are scouring the world for additional sources of demand. That means for instance that crop handler The Andersons Inc. has now decided to compete with the likes of Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc for a slice of the global fuel market. “We’re moving away from ethanol being seen as an agricultural product and moving toward it being an energy product and gasoline component,” James Pirolli, president of the company’s ethanol business, said in an interview at the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference. The company is seeking to boost sales to Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam, which both rely on overseas fuel supplies, he said in Singapore. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

‘Staff was courageous’ at tornado-struck hospital

By Dave Kolpack, Associated Press  •    •  Posted September 12, 2019

The National Weather Service has determined that three EF-2 tornadoes struck the city overnight, lead meteorologist Todd Heitkamp said yesterday. Dozens of buildings were damaged or destroyed, trees torn up and power lines downed. But no one was reported killed or even seriously injured in the devastation of the storm. Flicek said seven people suffered minor injuries from falling debris at the hospital campus, and another was hurt outside. Gov. Kristi Noem (R) toured the damage in Sioux Falls yesterday afternoon, saying it was “miraculous” that no lives were lost. [ read more … ]

Top Democrat attempts to block Trump from paying farm bailout money, setting up battle over trade war tactics

By Jeff Stein and Mike DeBonis, Washington Post  •    •  Posted September 12, 2019

House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) is proposing to block the White House request over its farm bailout program, according to a draft of legislation reviewed by the Washington Post, potentially imperiling President Trump’s ability to direct payments to thousands of farmers. The bailout program was created last year amid complaints from agriculture groups that China had stopped purchasing their crops in retaliation for new tariffs that the White House imposed on Chinese imports. Trump has ordered that billions of dollars in taxpayer funds be paid directly to farmers as a way to offset their losses. [ read more … ]

How to Get Rid of Carbon Emissions: Pay Farmers to Bury Them

By Greg Ip, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted September 12, 2019

Such a solution might lie here in an Iowa cornfield beneath the feet of Mitchell Hora, a seventh-generation farmer. Mr. Hora experiments with “regenerative growing practices” that improve soil health, boost yields, reduce water and fertilizer use, and carry a significant collateral benefit: they sequester in the soil carbon released from burning fossil fuels. Mr. Hora could soon be rewarded for providing this social benefit. Indigo Ag Inc., a Boston-based company specializing in agricultural technology and management, is setting up a market for carbon credits. Companies and consumers with voluntary or compulsory commitments to reduce their carbon footprint can, rather than reduce emissions themselves, pay farmers to do it for them. Via the Indigo Carbon marketplace, they can pay farmers like Mr. Hora $15 to sequester one metric ton of carbon dioxide in the soil. [ read more … ]

The Great Ethanol Debate: Status Quo Or New Paradigm?

By Robert Rapier, Forbes  •    •  Posted September 12, 2019

Sometimes there is a total disconnect that takes place somewhere between an idea that I have in my head, and a reader’s interpretation of what I am saying. Whether I communicated poorly, or the reader filled in some blanks because they assumed I was saying something else, sometimes I receive responses that don’t remotely correspond to what I actually wrote. I am happy to report that today’s column addresses a reader who understood me clearly, and who responded in a clear and informative manner. Following my recent series of ethanol articles, the most substantive reply came from Douglas A. Durante, who is the Executive Director of the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, a pro-ethanol advocacy group. [ read more … ]

‘Dramatic’ rise in driver fees threatens EV adoption — study

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted September 12, 2019

Drivers of electric vehicles are being unfairly singled out by states trying to replenish eroding funds for highway repairs, according to a new analysis from Consumer Reports. The assessment is one of the first nationally to examine how state fees on hybrids and pure-electric cars stack up against those of their gas counterparts. Overall, 26 states have either enacted or are contemplating fees on EVs — generally charged annually and on top of registration fees also paid by gas-car drivers. [ read more … ]

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