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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE October 23, 2019

Top Story

White House Sides With EPA Over USDA, Farmers in Biofuel Deal

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

Administration officials warned that an EPA plan for boosting biofuel-blending requirements violated the spirit of a deal brokered by President Donald Trump. The White House blessed it anyway. The back and forth is revealed in newly released documents from a White House review of the Environmental Protection Agency’s biofuel proposal before its public release. The documents show the U.S. Department of Agriculture warned the plan is inconsistent with an earlier White House promise to ensure “more than 15 billion gallons” of conventional biofuel, such as ethanol, are required to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020. [ read more … ]

White House Biofuel Plan

Midwest Governors Say Trump Still A Friend To Farmers Despite Industry Frustration Over EPA Proposal

By By Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

Some Iowa farmers and ethanol industry advocates say a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal released last week to account for lost demand for renewable fuels because of small refinery waivers is not what President Donald Trump promised. But at a news conference following a meeting in South Dakota with three Midwest Republican governors, the governors said President Trump is committed, and a friend to farmers. Asked if they still think Trump is a friend to farmers, all three Republican governors said yes. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Trump is committed to the rule that requires a certain amount of renewable fuels be blended into gasoline. [ read more … ]

After playing ‘footsie with big oil companies,’ EPA has a ‘public relations problem’ with farmers, Grassley says

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted October 23, 2019

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler told a reporter for Nexstar Media Group on Monday that he guarantees the changes the agency proposes making to a federal mandate called the Renewable Fuel Standard will ensure 15 billion gallons of ethanol are blended into the nation’s fuel supply — restoring demand that was lost when the administration granted waivers from the RFS to a number of refiners. After “playing footsie” with big oil companies, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a “public relations problem” with Iowa ethanol industry leaders and farmers, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Tuesday. [ read more … ]

Farmers Will Be Happy With Ethanol Plan Once They ‘Fully Understand’: Perdue

By Jeff Barber, OPIS  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a Monday Cabinet meeting that the Trump administration has “balanced” small-refinery exemptions (SREs) with help for the biofuel and agriculture sectors and told the president that farmers will be “fine,” once they “fully understand what you’ve done.” Perdue’s comments come as biofuel and agricultural groups continue to criticize as insufficient EPA’s Oct. 15 proposal to adjust how annual renewable fuel blending percentages are calculated.
[ read more … ]

Trump Lays RFS Egg and Perdue Hatches It

By Jim Wiesemeyer, Profarmer  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

President Donald Trump today said a plan to recalculate biofuel-blending requirements to offset waivers exempting refineries from the mandates is approved, done and ready to sign and that the deal is “going to be terrific for the small refiners” that have “been hurt for a long time” and have been helped by waivers. In comments virtually certain to upset his farmer supporters, Trump said farmers “seem to be very happy” with the plan. Trump’s comments came during a Cabinet meeting this morning amid biofuel industry complaints the EPA has proposed recalculating blending requirements based on past Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations on waivers — not the EPA’s actual decisions on them. Opponents of the proposal say it runs the risk of under-projecting refinery waivers and undercutting the annual target to use 15 billion gallons of primarily corn-based ethanol under U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) law. [ read more … ]

Air Quality

Review panel urges EPA to tighten particulate curbs

By Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

EPA must tighten Clean Air Act limits on fine particle concentrations to protect public health, an expert panel said today in a set of formal recommendations released just as industry allies were preparing to argue against any tightening. Existing standards that set limits on annual and 24-hour exposure “are not protective of public health,” the Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel said in a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. [ read more … ]

U.S. Air Quality Was Improving. Now It’s Getting Worse

By Eric Roston, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

After years of decline, a spike in air pollution may have taken the lives of almost 10,000 additional Americans over two years.  Following a 24% drop between 2009 and 2016, particulate matter air pollution in the U.S. increased 5.5% in 2017 and 2018, according to a new analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data by two Carnegie Mellon economists.  [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Bill would reform RFS to boost high-octane fuels

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

The “21st Century Transportation Fuels Act,” from Reps. Bill Flores (R-Texas) and John Shimkus (R-Ill.), would require that all new cars and trucks be designed to run on high-octane fuels. The requirement would take effect starting in model year 2023. High-octane fuels are those that can withstand more compression before igniting. They enjoy broad support from the biofuels lobby, as ethanol is one of the cleanest and cheapest sources of octane available. [ read more … ]

USDA biofuel infrastructure initiative to be up and running soon

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

The USDA hopes to have a new program up and running in early 2020 that will support retail sales of higher ethanol blends, including E15, according to statements made by U.S. Deputy Agriculture Secretary Stephen Censky during an Oct. 17 congressional hearing. Censky appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Oct. 17 to discuss implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill. During the hearing, Censky fielded several questions on biofuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard. [ read more … ]

Trump says he’s the dealmaker in chief, but his record lists mostly incompletes

By Anne Gearan and David J. Lynch, Washington Post  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

Sitting in the Oval Office alongside senior Chinese officials this month, President Trump declared that the United States had reached “a substantial phase one deal” with China — a development that could ease an intensifying trade war that has roiled global markets and hurt many U.S. businesses and consumers. Within days, however, “the greatest and biggest deal ever made” turned out to be at best a work in progress. Chinese officials signaled they want another round of talks before signing anything, while adding that Trump should scrap a tariff hike scheduled for December before talks proceed. [ read more … ]

Commentary

Moving Beyond the RFS

By Douglas A. Durante, Clean Fuels Development Coalition  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

The global biofuels community is without a doubt watching the developments in the US with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and might be understandably confused.  How is a program that was passed by the U.S.  Congress and supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, and happily signed into law by two different Presidents, so controversial?  How can this program be considered so successful that is was expanded and passed a second time, drain such resources from the biofuels industry and draw such ire and venom from the petroleum industry?  I have met people from other countries who seem bewildered, asking how renewable biofuels like ethanol that only have a small portion of the massive US motor fuels market, leaving 90% to the oil companies, be such a problem. [ read more … ]

Biofuels Producers Merit Recognition for Contributions to Climate Change Mitigation

By Solutions from the Land  •    •  Posted October 22, 2019

Solutions from the Land (SfL) joins those who recognize the importance of using domestic biomass for renewable energy. Because bioenergy emits far fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) than its petroleum equivalents, broader use can help mitigate climate change. Those benefits were strongly underlined by a USDA study released earlier this year showing GHGs from corn-based ethanol are about 39 percent lower than from gasoline. The study also states that when ethanol is produced at refineries powered by natural gas, GHGs are even lower, running around 43 percent below gasoline. [ read more … ]

 

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