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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE October 6, 2019

Top Story

Iowa farmers welcome Trump decision, but question if it can reopen closed ethanol plants

  •    •  Posted October 5, 2019

On Friday, Siouxland’s board and 42 employees got some good news: The administration said it would take steps to begin restoring the market for billions of gallons of renewable fuel waived through small refinery exemptions. While the announcement was widely welcomed, it lacked details, and it was unclear whether the president’s plan would be enough to immediately boost the market and help the nation’s ailing renewable fuel plants. “The market will respond positively. But I don’t know if it will be positive immediately enough to restart these plants,” said Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director. Farmers also are struggling with the impact of U.S. trade war with China, Mexico, Canada and other countries.
[ read more … ]

White House Proposed Biofuel Plan

Trump administration promises biofuel boost to farmers, angering Big Oil

By Richard Valdmanis, Reuters  •    •  Posted October 7, 2019

Oil companies have consistently resisted measures to expand the biofuels market, which they view as a competitor. Refiners have vehemently complained that the requirements under the RFS cost them a fortune. Their weeks-long efforts to include oil-friendly measures in the final deal announced Friday failed. “We are deeply concerned about the Administration’s decision to, once again, play politics with our fuel system by increasing an already onerous biofuel mandate, placing greater strain on the U.S. manufacturers he promised to protect and threatening higher costs for consumers,” the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers industry groups said in a joint statement. [ read more … ]

Trump, Facing Farmers’ Discontent, Plans Help for Ethanol

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture jointly proposed new rules on Friday that would increase ethanol consumption at the expense of oil refineries to help corn and soybean farmers buffeted by President Trump’s trade wars. The plan would overhaul the system of quotas for ethanol, a fuel that is made from corn and other crops, as they blend their fuels. Its overall goal is to increase the sale of the biofuel beyond the current mandate of 15 billion gallons annually. [ read more … ]

After Farm Belt Outcry, Trump Administration Revamps Ethanol Rules

By Kirk Maltais and Jacob Bunge, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

“It is too early to judge the impact of this announcement,” said Eric Wilkey, president of Arizona Grain Inc., a sister company to Pinal Energy LLC. Pinal idled its 50-million-gallon-per-year plant in Maricopa, Ariz. in February. Corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade dropped following the plan’s release, with the December corn contract slipping 1%. Traders said they were dissatisfied with the scant details in the EPA’s press release. Ethanol futures also declined, with the November contract down 2.2% at $1.39 a gallon. [ read more … ]

Biofuels’ New Deal

By Chris Clayton, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

Looking to right the ship with Midwest farmers, the Trump administration on Friday released its long-awaited proposal to restore the Renewable Fuel Standard and reallocate billions of gallons of biofuels granted in waivers to the petroleum industry. The Environmental Protection Agency will propose rules to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of ethanol is blended in 2020 and require higher volumes of biodiesel to be blended as well. EPA noted, “This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.” The proposals will go through a rule-making process that includes seeking public comments. [ read more … ]

Trump EPA Pledges Biofuel Boost to Calm Corn-State Criticism

By Jennifer A Dlouhy and Mario Parker, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

The Trump administration is taking action to boost U.S. demand for corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel, as the president seeks to temper criticism from farmers and Midwest politicians before next year’s election. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture on Friday outlined several steps to aid those renewable fuels, committing to boost annual biofuel-blending quotas to make up for waivers exempting some small refineries from the mandates. The shift, which was outlined by the agencies Friday but still must be formally proposed and codified, would effectively force bigger, non-exempted refineries to take up the slack. [ read more … ]

Trump admin policy aims to boost ethanol blending

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

In a joint news release, EPA and the Department of Agriculture said a proposal — likely released next week — will open the way to including more than 15 billion gallons of ethanol a year in the nation’s fuel supply, the level mandated by the renewable fuel standard, and ensure that exemptions given to small refineries don’t undercut the overall mandate. The announcement didn’t delve into details, such as the volumes to be required, saying those would come in a formal proposal subject to public comment, building off EPA’s annual rulemaking for next year’s biofuel requirements. Proposed volumes would be based in part on a rolling three-year average of biofuel levels, an EPA official told reporters in a conference call today. [ read more … ]

Trump Renewable Fuels Standard announcement draws mixed reviews

By Elisa Sand and Dan Crisler, Dakota Media Group  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

President Donald Trump’s decision Friday to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard was met with praise from South Dakota’s elected officials and agricultural organizations and indifference from a major South Dakota ethanol producer and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the organization, under the direction of Trump, will look to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol will be blended into the nation’s fuel supply annually beginning in 2020, following a period of public comment. [ read more … ]

Nebraska Ethanol Board eager to see action on Trump administration’s promises to the biofuel industry

By Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

“We are encouraged by the Trump Administration’s announcement to uphold the law by way of the RFS and to remove barriers that are holding back the biofuel industry’s ability to compete and thrive,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Today’s announcement is good news and we appreciate the step forward but we are disappointed in its lack of details. There is a lot of work that still needs to take place to help stabilize the damage already done and increase biofuel consumption. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

A ‘Chilling Message’: Trump Critics See a Deeper Agenda in California Feud

By Coral Davenport, New YorkTimes  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

President Trump’s political feud with California has spread collateral damage across more than a dozen other states, which have seen their regulatory authority curtailed and their autonomy threatened by a Trump administration intent on weakening the environmental statutes of the country’s most populous state. When the administration last month revoked California’s authority to set state-level standards on climate-warming tailpipe emissions, it simultaneously stripped that power from 13 other states that follow California’s standards and ensured that no other state could set fuel-efficiency standards in the future. The Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Perry’s legacy? Expansion of agency he’d vowed to kill

By Jeremy Dillon, Kelsey Brugger and Tim Cama, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

If Energy Secretary Rick Perry leaves the Trump administration by year’s end, as media reports say, he’ll leave a Department of Energy that’s far larger than when he arrived. DOE’s annual budget for fiscal 2020 could approach $40 billion — a nearly 25% increase from when Perry took the helm in fiscal 2017. That’s an astonishing expansion of spending for a department that Republican presidential hopeful Perry had targeted for elimination before he comically forget its name in a 2012 candidates’ debate. [ read more … ]

In a Sated Oil Market, Saudi Arabia Attack Sinks Without Trace

By Grant Smith , Olga Tanas, and Dina Khrennikova, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

It was the nightmare scenario dreaded by oil markets for decades: a direct strike right at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s energy production network. But when it finally came last month, crude traders almost immediately lost interest. Although oil prices surged the most on record after a barrage of missiles and drones blasted the Abqaiq processing facility and Khurais oilfield on Sept. 14 — instantly disabling half of Saudi output — the gains have since evaporated. Crude is back below $60 a barrel, partly because Saudi Aramco has restored production so swiftly, but also reflecting deeper challenges afflicting the market. [ read more … ]

Opinion

Here’s how President Trump can help farmers and the environment beyond RFS

By Doig Sombke, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

Advances in agricultural production, high-octane renewable fuels manufacturing, and fuel combustion technologies in the U.S., China, Brazil, and other nations offer dramatic benefits in terms of the public health and welfare, rural economies, and reduced oil consumption. The U.S. and China account for one-third of global automobile use and their gasoline, especially aromatic hydrocarbons-related, mobile source emissions. Policies that improve fuel quality and vehicle efficiency which reduce harmful emissions in those countries would be adopted by other nations, thus preventing millions of premature deaths and improving quality of lives worldwide. [ read more … ]

Primary 2020

Klobuchar says Trump’s ‘vague promise’ on biofuels is too little, too late

By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa  •    •  Posted October 6, 2019

“Oil has been having their way for way too long,” Klobuchar said. “I would stop the subsidies on ‘big oil’ that make it very unfair and then I would also make sure we have incentives in place to move to cellulosic and other forms of ethanol.” The “hardship” waiver process for small refineries must be greatly reduced as well, according to Klobuchar. “To me, it’s too little, too late,” Klobuchar said late this morning. [ read more … ]

Trump’s Impeachment Turmoil Follows GOP Senator on 2020 Ballot

By Laura Litvan, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 7, 2019

While Barack Obama won Iowa in 2008 and 2012, Trump won it by 9 points in 2016. But even before Ukraine and the impeachment inquiry, the president’s popularity had taken a hit in in the Hawkeye State. His net approval rating has declined 18 percentage points there since he took office in January 2017, according to tracking polls by Morning Consult. The Ukraine allegations and the impeachment controversy could make that worse, said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball election forecast at the University of Virginia. That risks turning Ernst’s race more competitive, he said. [ read more … ]

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