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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE September 19, 2019

Top Story

Kim Reynolds says ethanol meeting with Trump went ‘great,’ but ‘the devil’s in the details’

By Stephen Gruber-Miller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted September 19, 2019

Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed optimism about a deal negotiated with President Donald Trump last week to mitigate the damage to Iowa’s ethanol industry caused by federal waivers for oil refineries, but cautioned that she’s still waiting to see the final version on paper. “We’re waiting to see that in writing and hopefully we’ll get that sooner rather than later,” Reynolds told reporters on a conference call Wednesday. “And we’ll continue to touch base with the administration and just see where they’re at on it. But I take them at their word. It was a really, really good meeting with a good dialogue and ideas committed to the farmers.” [ read more … ]

‘I’ve been hoodwinked so many times’: Grassley wants Trump’s ethanol fix ‘on paper’ before he will support it

By Donnelle Eller,  Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley says he won’t be cheering a Trump administration biofuels fix until the Environmental Protection Agency has “put it on paper.” “I’ve been hoodwinked so many times, not just by the EPA on this issue, but by other bureaucracies as well, so I’m going to see if what we talked about is the end product,” Grassley told reporters Tuesday. [ read more … ]

White House Biofuel Plan

Trump to meet with U.S. senators today over biofuels policy

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 19, 2019

President Donald Trump will meet today with U.S. senators to discuss biofuels policy, Senator Bill Cassidy’s office said, as Trump attempts to find a compromise between Big Oil and Big Corn on an issue that pits two constituencies that are important to Trump’s quest for a second term against each other. The meeting will continue a marathon of discussions the White House has held since last week with biofuel and oil refining advocates – including senators from key farm states and refining executives – to negotiate a deal over how much ethanol should be blended into the nation’s gasoline. Thursday’s meeting will likely focus on the demands of the oil industry. [ read more … ]

Oil and Ethanol Both Use Saudi Attack to Push Their Policy Cases

By Mario Parker and Jennifer A Dlouhy  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

Both advocates and opponents of proposed U.S. biofuel policy changes are using an attack on a Saudi Arabian oil facility to argue their cases. America’s ethanol industry, the subject of White House deliberations to increase demand for the corn-based fuel, touted its use as a way to stabilize U.S. pump prices in the wake of Saudi oil disruptions. [ read more … ]

Refinery Bosses Tell Trump to Shun Farmers’ Biofuel Demands As 2020 Showdown Looms Between Big Oil and Big Corn

BY BRENDAN COLE, Newsweek  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

Oil refinery bosses have told Donald Trump to ignore demands by the rural sector to increase government mandates for biofuels, as the president faces a tough fight to keep both farmers and the oil industry happy ahead of his 2020 re-election bid. Farmers in the Trump-voting rural heartland say they have been hit hard by his trade wars. Adding to the pain was the White House agreement that 31 oil refineries could get waivers from blending ethanol into their fuel, known as Small Refinery Exemptions (SREs), leading to a slump in the demand for corn. [ read more … ]

Trade

U.S., Chinese trade deputies face off in Washington amid deep differences – Reuters

By David Lawder and Andrea Shalal, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 19, 2019

U.S. and Chinese deputy trade negotiators were set to resume face-to-face talks on Thursday for the first time in nearly two months as the world’s two largest economies try to bridge deep policy differences and find a way out of a bitter and protracted trade war. The negotiations on Thursday and Friday are aimed at laying the groundwork for high-level talks in early October that will determine whether the two countries are working towards a solution or are headed for new and higher tariffs on each other’s goods. [ read more … ]

Ag Secretary: Deal With China Must Go Beyond Agricultural Purchases

By Chris Clayton, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted September 19, 2019

U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators start talks again on Thursday in Washington, and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Wednesday that a successful trade deal still must go beyond buying U.S. farm products. “We want them to be a customer, but we want them to play buy the rules everybody else plays by,” Perdue told representatives from the fruit and vegetable industries at the United Fresh conference Wednesday morning. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

Calif. officials, Trump spar over Clean Air Act waiver

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

California’s top political leaders  defended the state’s right to set its own standards for clean cars and promised to fight the Trump administration’s bid to squash that power. Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D), Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols said the Trump administration lacks the legal grounds to revoke California’s Clean Air Act waiver, which gives the nation’s most populous state the right to set more stringent tailpipe emissions standards than federal ones. The California trio also framed its stance as a climate change fight, saying there’s a dire need to cut greenhouse gas emissions. [ read more … ]

Senators grill DOJ official over Calif. deal probe

By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

The Trump administration’s top official for antitrust matters at the Department of Justice denied allegations yesterday that the investigation into a fuel efficiency agreement four automakers struck with California regulators is politically motivated or improper. “I’m not doing this for political reasons,” Makan Delrahim, assistant attorney general for antitrust, said at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, in response to harsh questioning by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse [ read more … ]

Trump administration not so interested in states’ rights when it comes to California

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

President Trump likes to cast himself as a champion of states’ rights. But he stops short when it comes to California and other liberal states. The latest example comes from Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency, which is on the cusp of revoking California’s authority to regulate heat-trapping emissions from automobiles inside the state.
[ read more … ]

EVs

The coming clash between unions and EVs

By Maxine Joselow and Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

It was a Monday morning in May, five months after Volkswagen AG declared its plans to build electric cars here, when Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) made a surprise appearance at the VW manufacturing plant.
Workers were filing in through the front gates when word spread that the silver-haired governor was there to address them. For some in the room, the timing was suspicious, with just a few weeks to go before they would vote on whether to unionize with the United Auto Workers. [ read more … ]

Biofuels threatened as push builds for electric vehicles

By Ben Nuelle, Agri-Pulse  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

Biofuel advocates may be fuming about the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent actions granting small refinery exemptions to oil refineries, but they’d better check their rearview mirror. Electric vehicles may soon have policy in place to put them in the energy passing lane as climate talks in Congress move ahead. Earlier this summer, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced a $287 billion surface transportation bill that would set up a $1 billion grant program for the construction of charging stations for electric vehicles as well as infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars. The bill doesn’t include infrastructure spending for ethanol or biodiesel. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Gov. Kristi Noem: Recent weather a ‘slow-rolling natural disaster of epic proportions’

By Lisa Kaczke, Argus Leader  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

Noem said she’s proud to hear stories about neighbors helping neighbors as residents have faced natural disasters in the past week. South Dakotans always get through strong storms, she said. “For as long as people have made their way across the Plains and called South Dakota their home, we have struggled against extreme weather and a tough environment. But that’s what makes this place so special, along with the people who call it home,” Noem said. Federal disasters have been declared in 58 of 66 counties and on three reservations in the state so far this year. The state has had one federal disaster declared this year and has three federal disaster requests awaiting approval by President Donald Trump. Those requests total $56 million in damages, Noem said. The flooding in the past week will likely result in another federal disaster request, she said [ read more … ]

Minnesota governor launches biofuels council to offset hit to farmers from ethanol waivers

By Dana Ferguson, Forum News Service  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

Gov. Tim Walz on Monday, Sept. 16 signed an executive order establishing a Minnesota Biofuels Council, a body that will assess growth opportunities in the industry and advise the administration on potential policy changes. Surrounded by agriculture officials at a farm an hour outside the capital, the first-term governor said the state needs to take the lead in discovering new uses for Minnesota corn and expand ones that have been successful.“The exemptions for the refineries are simply hitting this industry in an unfair manner,” Walz said. “This industry has always been glad to compete but it needs to be a fair playing field. … We’re just saying today this door on biofuels is going to be wide open. We want to be the national leader.” [ read more … ]

Gevo to use wind power for biofuel production in US facility

By Biofuels International  •    •  Posted September 18, 2019

Renewable fuels manufacturer Gevo plans to power its Agri-Energy biofuel production facility in Minnesota, US with renewable energy. The company announced that it has secured the supply of 5MW of fully renewable electricity for the plant, which is located in Luverne, Minnesota, from an affiliate of energy company Juhl Energy. [ read more … ]

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