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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE October 16, 2019

Top Story

One issue that unites Republicans and DFLers in Minnesota? Biofuels

By Walker Orenstein, MinnPost  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

In September, Walz wrote a letter with South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem saying they were “extremely concerned” by the waivers Trump has approved since taking office. The pair said the latest round of waivers — 31 in the last year alone — “undermines the integrity of the RFS and harms our states’ agricultural communities, which have already been affected by the Administration’s tariffs.” Walz chairs the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition and Noem is the vice chairwoman. Walz has been an aggressive booster for ethanol and biodiesel. He became chairman of the biofuels coalition in February, following in the footsteps of former governors Mark Dayton and Tim Pawlenty, who also took stints leading the organization. [ read more … ]

White House Proposed Biofuel Plan

Deal or No Deal: EPA Short on Biofuels

By Todd Neeley, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted October 16, 2019

President Donald Trump’s promise to rural America on biofuels took a hit on Tuesday, when the EPA released a proposal that falls far short of the administration’s biofuels deal announced on Oct. 4.An agency supplemental proposal to the Renewable Fuel Standard calls for accounting for 770 million gallons annually in expected small-refinery exemptions. That number falls far below the average annual gallons exempted from 2016 to 2018 of around 1.35 billion gallons. In 2016, EPA granted exemptions on 790 million gallons. In 2017, the agency waived 1.82 billion gallons, and in 2018 it waived 1.43 billion gallons. [ read more … ]

Farm, renewable fuel groups angered by EPA plan to replace lost demand for ethanol, biodiesel

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted October 16, 2019

Iowa farm and renewable fuel groups say a proposal that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released Tuesday fails to keep President Donald Trump’s promise to boost the sagging market for ethanol and biodiesel. “We had a deal with the president … but what the EPA rolled out isn’t that deal,” said Monte Shaw, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association’s executive director.
[ read more … ]

EPA reverses course on refinery exemptions

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

EPA said today it will start giving small petroleum refineries partial exemptions from biofuel blending requirements next year, reversing the agency’s approach of approving or denying them in full. The new approach, spelled out today in a proposed rule, will help maintain minimum volumes of biofuel to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply while allowing some refineries to bypass blending requirements in cases of economic hardship, the agency said. [ read more … ]

EPA Proposes Biofuel Quota Plan to Offset Refinery Waivers

By Jennifer A Dlouhy and Mario Parker, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

The Trump administration took steps Tuesday to implement a hard-fought deal meant to ensure biofuel quotas are not undermined when oil refineries are exempted from requirements compelling them to use ethanol and biodiesel. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed changes in the way it sets annual percentages spelling out how much renewable fuel refiners must blend into gasoline and diesel. The agency is seeking public comment on a plan to project the amount of exemptions based on the most recent three years’ practice — and then use that to adjust its calculations. [ read more … ]

Trump administration proposes plan to raise U.S. biofuels use: EPA

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

The proposed plan would calculate the volume of biofuels U.S. refiners have to blend by using a three-year average of exempted gallons as recommended by the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency said. This will potentially boost demand for biofuels like ethanol, a response to farmers outraged by the EPA’s decision in August to exempt 31 oil refineries from their obligations under the nation’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The plan was announced as a supplement to proposed 2020 blending rules, which requires the refining industry to blend ethanol and other biofuels into the nation’s gasoline. As part of the RFS, EPA can exempt small refineries if they prove compliance would cause disproportionate economic hardship. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

Here’s the most overlooked part of the car rule rollback

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

“Off-cycle credits are really important,” said one auto industry source. “What we’re really talking about here are technologies that really do reduce CO2 and improve fuel economy.” That person added, “If the administration gets rid of the off-cycle credits, manufacturers are gonna have a significant hill to climb.”
[ read more … ]

2020 Primary

Oil faces existential risk from Democratic president. Right?

By Mark K. Matthews and Timothy Cama, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

en. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said he would consider pursuing criminal charges against fossil fuel executives. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has accused the oil and gas industry of corruption. And former Vice President Joe Biden has pledged to “take action” against energy companies. Without question, the 2020 Democratic presidential field is the most anti-fossil fuel in history. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

How Will Climate Change Alter Agriculture? Winemakers Are Finding Out

By Eric Asimov, New York Times  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

Around the wine-growing world, smart producers have contemplated and experimented with adaptations, not only to hotter summers, but also to warmer winters, droughts and the sort of unexpected, sometimes violent events that stem from climate change: freak hailstorms, spring frosts, flooding and forest fires, just to name a few. Farmers have been on the front line, and grape growers especially have been noting profound changes in weather patterns since the 1990s. In the short term, some of these changes have actually benefited certain regions.
[ read more … ]

Brazilian official: Flex fuel hybrid vehicles are the future

By Matt Thompson, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted October 15, 2019

Miguel Ivan Lacerda Oliveira, director of biofuels for the Brazil Ministry of Mines and Energy, said during the Global Ethanol Summit in Washington, D.C., that the future of transportation is electric vehicles, but ethanol will still have a role as a transportation fuel. Oliveira was one presenter on a panel called “Global Decarbonization of Fuel: The Environmental Benefits of Ethanol.” “The future is electric,” Oliveira said. “There’s no denying electric cars are going to grow up. But I think biofuels could play a major role in electrification of the transportation sector.”
[ read more … ]


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