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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE September 25, 2019

Top Stories

Exclusive: U.S. EPA granted full biofuel waivers to refineries despite Energy Dept advice – memo

By Jarrett Renshaw, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency granted some refineries full waivers from the nation’s biofuels regulation for the 2018 compliance year, even though the Department of Energy had recommended partial exemptions for those facilities, according to an EPA memo seen by Reuters. The decision is likely to upset the powerful U.S. corn lobby, which has said the Trump administration’s move in August to grant 31 full exemptions to refineries – freeing them from their at-times costly obligation to use biofuels like corn-based ethanol – hurts farmers already suffering from the U.S. trade war with China. [ read more … ]

Another renewable fuel plant closes as Iowa leaders wait for White House biofuels fix

By Donnelle Eller and Barbara Rodriguez, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted September 25, 2019

An Iowa biodiesel plant announced Tuesday it’s shutting down as Gov. Kim Reynolds warned that federal waivers exempting oil companies from using renewable fuels are hurting the state’s rural economy. “We continue to see farmers that are impacted,” Reynolds said at a weekly meeting with reporters. “We continue to see ethanol plants that are being idled. “They’re burning through their cash reserves,” the Republican said. [ read more … ]

White House Proposed Biofuel Plan

Senator expects Trump to announce limit on credits

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

A senator who participated in last week’s meeting with President Trump on ethanol policy said he expects the administration to soon announce price controls on renewable fuel credits — though he admitted he’s been proved wrong on Trump’s plans before. “I came away from that meeting believing that the answer to that question is yes,” Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) told E&E News yesterday, adding that others may have had varying interpretations. [ read more … ]

Trump’s billion-dollar gambit: An ethanol deal to meet the demands of farmers and Big Oil

By Tim Mullaney, CNBC  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

The Trump administration appears to be moving toward a deal to placate ethanol interests who have blamed the president’s deregulatory push for forcing the closing of 17 ethanol plants. It’s a deal where the administration is trying to do damage control and balance the demands of farmers and oil companies, two of Donald Trump’s most loyal constituencies. The deal, still not yet reduced to a written bill, is likely to help oil companies that have been given permission to stop blending ethanol with gasoline at some of their refineries to make up the lost production at other plants, said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group for ethanol producers.
[ read more … ]

Trade

Trumps’ China trade rhetoric turns harsh at U.N., says won’t take ‘bad deal’

By Jeff Mason, Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu, David Brunnstrom and David LawdeJeff Mason, Steve Holland, Doina Chiacu, David Brunnstrom and David Lawder, Reuters  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

The tone of Trump’s speech also was at odds with some recent steps by China to meet his request for purchases of more American farm products. On Monday, Chinese importers bought about 10 shiploads of U.S. soybeans – about 600,000 tonnes. China’s customs commission will exclude certain amounts of U.S. soybeans, pork and other products from its retaliatory tariffs, the official Xinhua news agency said on Tuesday. The purchases were made following last week’s trade talks, which both the U.S. and Chinese sides characterized as “productive.” People familiar with the trade talks said no new Chinese proposals were presented, and the countries agreed to continue minister-level talks in early October. [ read more … ]

China’s Soybean Move Lands With a Thud for U.S. Farmers

By Brendan Murray, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

China’s latest gesture of goodwill in its trade war with the U.S. isn’t having much of an immediate effect where it matters most for President Donald Trump: on struggling American farms. Beijing gave new waivers to several domestic companies to buy U.S. soybeans free of the tariffs China imposed in retaliation for the Trump administration’s higher levies. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

Trump EPA threatens Calif. highway funding

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

The Trump EPA is threatening to sanction California because of its lack of compliance with federal clean air standards, the latest salvo in its multipronged attack on the Golden State over climate change. In a letter released yesterday to the California Air Resources Board, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler threatened to revoke federal highway funds in retaliation for the state’s halting compliance with the Clean Air Act. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

The RFS and ethanol production: Lack of proven impacts to land and water

By Growth Energy  •    •  Posted September 25, 2019

The key conclusion of this report is that there are no proven adverse impacts to land and water associated with increased corn ethanol production under the RFS. Accordingly, EPA could decide to reset renewable volumes in a manner that would incentivize greater production and consumption of conventional corn ethanol in US transportation fuel without discernible adverse environmental impacts to land and water, to the extent any exist. [ read more … ]

Gov. Walz administration declares Climate Week in Minnesota amid youth protests

By Dana Ferguson, Pioneer Press  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

“Climate change threatens the very things that make Minnesota a great place to live, from our magnificent 10,000 lakes to our farmable land and clean air,” Gov. Tim Walz said in a prepared statement. “If Washington won’t lead on climate, Minnesota will.” [ read more … ]

Oil Giants, Under Fire From Climate Activists and Investors, Mount a Defense

By Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

From the deck of a boat in New York harbor, the chief executive of Equinor squinted toward a stretch of sea where his oil company will soon build a giant wind farm. “We are doing all we can” to fight climate change, said the executive, Eldar Saetre. Hours later, at a hotel where Mr. Saetre and fellow oil executives were gathering to defend their industry — a major contributor to global warming — climate protesters weren’t buying it. Using lights, they projected “MAKE BIG OIL PAY” on the facade. [ read more … ]

Infrastructure is on track to support an on-time transition to HOLC ethanol-based fuel by 2023.

By Reg Modlin, Natural Resource Solutions  •    •  Posted September 24, 2019

The capability of the fuel distribution infrastructure to support the deployment of a 98 RON, E25 product is good. Some that hold a different view are presenting their opinion as seen through a doomsday lens. Remember, ethanol has been in the market for decades. Performance requirements for its distribution have been written and are reasonably understood and followed. Because demonstration of compliance to these requirements is relegated to local authorities (fire marshals) who are largely supported by a local electorate, such demonstration is known to be inconsistent. However, this does not mean that huge or overwhelming investment is needed to move to a better gasoline product. [ read more … ]

Opinion

The U.S. Is Growing More Corn Than It Can Handle

By Justin Fox, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted September 25, 2019

This year’s U.S. corn crop isn’t looking great. Soggy spring weather in many parts of the Midwest delayed planting, and warmer-than-normal temperatures lately have been posing their own problems.
Still, while the 13.8-billion-bushel corn harvest currently projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be the smallest since 2015, it’s about 40% more than U.S. corn farmers were bringing in just two decades ago, and more than three times the average harvest in the 1960s. [ read more … ]

 

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