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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE October 28, 2019

Top Story

D.C. Circuit grapples with RFS exemptions

By Pamela King, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

Federal judges Friday struggled to find a foothold in a dispute over EPA’s methodology for deciding which small refiners can get a break from the federal renewable fuel standard. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit grilled the agency and its challengers on whether EPA’s looser approach to determining which facilities would suffer “disproportionate economic hardship” from requirements to either blend ethanol into fuel or purchase renewable fuel credits is a final agency action that the court can review. “It’s hard for me to see where we have jurisdiction,” Senior Judge David Sentelle said to an attorney for a biofuels group during oral arguments in Advanced Biofuels Association v. EPA.
[ read more … ]

Trade

U.S., China say they are ‘close to finalizing’ part of a Phase One trade deal

By David Lawder and Andrea Shalal, Reuters  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

U.S. and Chinese officials are “close to finalizing” some parts of a trade agreement after high-level telephone discussions on Friday, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office and China’s Commerce Ministry said, with talks to continue. The USTR provided no details on the areas of progress. “They made headway on specific issues and the two sides are close to finalizing some sections of the agreement. Discussions will go on continuously at the deputy level, and the principals will have another call in the near future,” a statement said. [ read more … ]

Corn exports down as trade wars continue

By Robert Pore, Grand Island Independent  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

“As farmers harvest our 2019 corn crop we need to be aware that as of Oct. 17 accumulated U.S. corn exports (quantities shipped) were only 37 percent of year ago levels,” said Gale Lush, American Corn Growers Foundation (ACGF) chairman of Wilcox. Lush is a corn, soybean and wheat farmer. “Apparently, today’s new policymakers have yet to learn the hard lesson that trade wars are not easy to win,” he said. “In fact, trade wars come with a tremendous cost to farmers and the rural economy.” [ read more … ]

White House Biofuel Plan

Hearing takes up controversial refinery exemption tomorrow

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 28, 2019

Tomorrow, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change will examine the small refinery exemptions, which are part of the federal renewable fuel standard. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) is the chairman. With the title “Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration’s Abuse of Secret Waivers,” the hearing draws from complaints by biofuel advocates that EPA has overstepped by granting the vast majority of exemptions sought by small refineries during the Trump administration. [ read more … ]

Group of House Republicans Asks Wheeler to Change Biofuels Proposal

By Todd Neeley, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

A group of Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives has asked EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to reconsider a proposal to account for small-refinery exemptions in future years, in a letter sent to Wheeler earlier this week. Agriculture and biofuels interests have expressed concern about the proposal, claiming it would not fully account for future exemptions. Between 2016 and 2018 the EPA granted 85 such waivers totaling more than 4 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent gallons. [ read more … ]

Three most hated letters in farm country: EPA

By Jacqui Fatka, FeedStuffs  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

On Oct. 4, the White House seemingly had struck a deal to appease the ethanol industry, which was getting louder about its displeasure with President Donald Trump. He promised that the 15 billion gal. mandate would indeed be 15 billion gal. – and could even go as high as 16 billion (as he mentioned in a news briefing with producers in the room). Just 11 days later, the proposal from EPA did not offer the promised reallocation of lost demand. The ethanol industry felt sucker punched by the EPA —  and rightfully so. As it turns out, the U.S. Department of Agriculture warned EPA in final review that EPA’s draft version of the new biofuel fix “violated the spirit of a deal brokered by President Donald Trump,” according to a recent report on the final review. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

D.C. Circuit rejects case against Trump rollback

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

A federal appeals court Friday handed a defeat to states and environmentalists pushing back on EPA’s rollback of Obama-era clean car rules. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit told California, the District of Columbia and 16 other states they couldn’t sue EPA because its actions didn’t constitute a “final rulemaking,” thus scrapping the case over a lack of jurisdiction. States and groups sued in May of last year, arguing the administration had sidestepped procedure and substantive review in announcing its reconsideration of Obama-era regulations on midterm greenhouse gas emissions evaluations for cars manufactured between 2022 and 2025. [ read more … ]

Trump could target Calif. pact with Canada on clean cars

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

The Trump administration may not be finished attacking California’s authority to combat climate change. After the administration this week sued California over its cap-and-trade agreement with Canada, another suit could be coming over a similar agreement related to clean cars, critics fear. The Department of Justice’s complaint this week took aim at the Golden State’s 2017 agreement with the Canadian province of Quebec to cooperate on a cap-and-trade program to lower emissions at power plants, at industrial facilities, and from oil and gas distributors [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Democrats propose major clean cars program

By Maxine Joselow and Geof Koss, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer last night introduced a proposal to boost sales of clean cars, in a rebuke to the Trump administration and a sign of Democrats’ broader strategy on climate change legislation. The New York Democrat proposed a program called “Clean Cars for America,” which would provide rebates for consumers to trade in their old gas guzzlers for new zero-emission vehicles. The $400 billion program would help take more than 63 million gas-powered vehicles off the road over 10 years, according to Schumer’s office. [ read more … ]

World ‘Awash’ in Oil As U.S. Sees Its Shale Boom Barreling Ahead

By Anthony Dipaola, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

Global markets are “awash” in crude thanks to the surge in U.S. oil output, and the boom looks set to continue, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a Bloomberg TV interview. U.S. shale production has turned the world “on its head,” and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is “off a bit” in a report last week saying that the bonanza is fading, Perry said on Sunday in Dubai. [ read more … ]

Government Loophole Gave Oil Companies $18 Billion Windfall

By Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

The United States government has lost billions of dollars of oil and gas revenue to fossil-fuel companies because of a loophole in a decades-old law, a federal watchdog agency said Thursday, offering the first detailed accounting of the consequences of a misstep by lawmakers that is expected to continue costing taxpayers for decades to come. The loophole dates from an effort in 1995 to encourage drilling in the Gulf of Mexico by offering oil companies a temporary break from paying royalties on the oil produced. However, the rule was poorly written, the very politicians who originally championed it have acknowledged, and the temporary reprieve was accidentally made permanent on some wells. [ read more … ]

Energy lobbyist Mike McKenna to take White House job

By Kelsey Brugger, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 27, 2019

Energy lobbyist Mike McKenna is taking a job at the White House on Monday, a White House official confirmed yesterday to E&E News. McKenna will work under Eric Ueland, the legislative affairs director, who was tapped for the post this summer. McKenna will also serve as deputy assistant to the president, and is expected to work on energy and environmental issues. [ read more … ]

 

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