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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE October 31, 2019

Top Story

Trump’s Push for Corn-Heavy Fuel Isn’t Reaching Your Gas Pump

By Jeffrey Bair and Jacquelyn Melinek, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

Donald Trump’s effort to boost corn demand by allowing year-round sales of ethanol-blended gasoline has run into a logistical problem. Few stations offer it. In a nod to the president’s Midwest voter base, U.S. officials in May allowed summertime sales of E15 gasoline containing up to 15% ethanol, a fuel made from corn and other crops. That move offered the promise of a surge in year-round sales, potentially stealing market share from the E10 mix. But while 30 states now have stations selling E15 year-round, the number offering it nationally is below 2,000, mostly located in Minnesota and Iowa. according to the Growth Energy trade association. [ read more … ]

Trade

Chile’s APEC cancellation creates hurdle for U.S.-China trade deal

By Andrea Shalal, Steve Holland and Lusha Zhang, Reuters  •    •  Posted October 31, 2019

The White House said afterwards the United States still expects to sign an initial trade agreement with China next month, but no alternate location had yet been set for Xi and Trump to meet. “We look forward to finalizing Phase One of the historic trade deal with China within the same time frame,” the White House said in a statement that omitted a mention of the president or his planned meeting with Xi. China’s commerce ministry said in a statement on Thursday the bilateral talks will continue to proceed as previously planned and the lead trade negotiators from both countries will speak by telephone on Friday. [ read more … ]

U.S. agricultural sales to China will ‘take some time to scale up’: Mnuchin

By David Lawder, Reuters  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

Mnuchin said U.S. and Chinese negotiators were working to try to agree on a text in time for Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping to sign in the coming weeks. Their goal had been to sign the deal in mid-November at an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Santiago, Chile. But Chilean President Sebastian Pinera canceled that summit on Wednesday due to worsening protests in the country. “We’ve obviously just seen the news and we’re considering options,” a Treasury official said after the interview.
[ read more … ]

White House Biofuel Plan

Reflecting on the Anatomy of a Biofuels Agreement

  •    •  Posted October 31, 2019

Just how could EPA release a biofuels proposal reportedly not consistent with a deal made with President Donald Trump? When you compare what was publicly reported in September about a deal to what EPA proposed recently, it would seem the agency didn’t exactly follow the agreement. You be the judge. [ read more … ]

EPA Supplement Rule Hearing

Big corn, big oil both blast Trump biofuel plan at EPA hearing

By Richard Valdmanis in New York and Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Reuters  •    •  Posted October 31, 2019

Corn farmers, ethanol producers, refinery representatives, energy traders and state and local officials from the Midwest all blasted away at the Trump administration’s proposed biofuels plan for next year during a public hearing on Wednesday hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The hearing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, marks the second public meeting on the topic in as many days, airing the grievances of the opposing oil and corn constituencies President Donald Trump has been working to win over ahead of next year’s election.
[ read more … ]

RFS Waiver Proposal Hammered

By Todd Neeley, Progessive Farmer  •    •  Posted October 31, 2019

“On my farm, this proposal is devastating,” Greif said. “Not only am I impacted, but this will hurt all the corn farmers in the state of Iowa, and we have enough problems piled on us with low prices, wet weather and the ongoing trade disputes. The weather cannot be controlled, but our own government should be able to step up when called upon.” Gracelynn Dale, a farmer from Bureau County, Illinois, said recent doubts about the stability of the RFS have led many farmers to reconsider their futures. When it comes to young farmers, she said, having market security, including the RFS, is an important factor in whether they’ll stay in the business. [ read more … ]

Governors Say EPA’s Proposed Rule Fails to Honor President Trump’s Biofuel Agreement

By Larry Pearce, Governors’ Biofuels Coalition  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

      “EPA chose to approve these waivers at a time when farmers and biofuel producers were already hurt by adverse weather conditions, flagging export market opportunities, and chronically low commodity prices. Approving these waivers when the agriculture economy was struggling represented a callous disregard for the economic interest our nation’s farmers.”  The governors pointed out that at least 30 plants remain closed and that the rule will not allow those facilities to open and “put people back to work.” [ read more … ]

Big corn, big oil both blast Trump biofuel plan at EPA hearing

By Richard Valdmanis in New York and Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Reuters  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

Corn farmers, ethanol producers, refinery representatives, energy traders and state and local officials from the Midwest all blasted away at the Trump administration’s proposed biofuels plan for next year during a public hearing on Wednesday hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The hearing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, marks the second public meeting on the topic in as many days, airing the grievances of the opposing oil and corn constituencies President Donald Trump has been working to win over ahead of next year’s election. [ read more … ]

House RFS-SRE Hearing

Hearing fails to find much common ground on RFS reforms

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

Illinois Republican Rep. John Shimkus said yesterday he’s trying to save biofuels — not kill them — by weaning the country off the renewable fuel standard’s fuel-blending requirements. “I think we’re threatened by a changing world,” Shimkus said at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing, referring to a gradual move toward electric vehicles. “And we’d better get united.” Shimkus, who’s worked on legislation to create a national octane standard that could boost demand for ethanol, said he’s not sure how long the transition away from liquid-based fuels may take but that finding the right balance between petroleum and biofuel is part of making sure the switch doesn’t happen overnight — an outcome that would hurt both industrie [ read more … ]

At House Hearing, Iowans Warn EPA Is “Crippling Rural America”

By Josh Cook, Iowa Starting Line  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

“EPA’s secretive and underhanded approach to the SRE provision in recent years has destabilized the RFS, reduced the production and use of clean renewable biofuels, increased GHG emissions and tailpipe pollution, and led to lost jobs and economic opportunity in rural America,” Cooper said. Cooper’s testimony comes near the end of the EPA’s “public comment period,” which will culminate Wednesday with a public hearing based on feedback the agency received. The EPA will then decide how to proceed in regard to SREs, RIN prices and setting the renewable fuel volume. [ read more … ]

US House panel considers transparency rules for EPA’s small refinery waivers

By Meghan Gordon, S&P Global  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

A US House of Representatives panel Tuesday considered requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to disclose details of small refineries’ requests for exemption from the federal biofuel mandate. Biofuel makers urged lawmakers to adopt the transparency rules, while oil refiners argued the disclosures would put small refineries at a competitive disadvantage.
[ read more … ]

Democrats push to end confidentiality for oil companies that don’t add ethanol

By Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

Lawmakers are looking for a solution to fix the nation’s ethanol program after proposals from the Trump administration have repeatedly irked both corn farmers and gasoline producers. A bill from Democrats heard Tuesday goes straight to the source of the controversy as far as farmers are concerned — a transparency measure to illuminate why oil companies are receiving waivers that exempt them from blending ethanol into their fuels. President Trump had promised Iowa farmers he would review the waiver program but sparked an outcry in August after he directedthe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to hand them out once again.
[ read more … ]

Car Rule

Dems go after automakers, Big Oil in tense hearing

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

GOP members of the Oversight and Reform panel moved to adjourn citing lack of quorum, but the Democratic majority largely ignored the move, proceeding to hammer the administration, car companies and fossil fuel interests. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) sought to draw a connection among the wildfires raging across his state, climate change and the car rules. “Hundreds of thousands of people’s homes are being destroyed,” the former governor said of the fires. “So this is not just another legislative game here.” [ read more … ]

New fronts and new alliances in the war over fuel economy standards

By Josh Siegel & Abby Smith, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

Former California Governor Jerry Brown had some choice words for the Trump administration and General Motors on Tuesday, during a hearing in a House Oversight subcommittee. General Motors has tried to “torpedo” California’s air pollution regulations in the past, Brown said. “Now they’ve come for a third round,” he added, calling the automakers’ intervention a “shameless effort” to protect profits. Brown said General Motors would do well to remember what happened when other countries like Japan began building smaller, more efficient cars. Neither China nor Europe are cutting back on their vehicle standards, Brown said, noting they’re actually doubling down. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Idled Sioux Center ethanol plant back at 50% production

By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa  •    •  Posted October 30, 2019

A northwest Iowa ethanol plant that was idled in mid-September has resumed production, due to action in California. “The State of California is using a significant amount of ethanol to meet its requirements under the low-carbon fuel standard and CARB lowered our plant’s carbon score by roughly 10%, giving us a new market opportunity,” Nieuwenhuis said yesterday. “As a result, now we’re back on line and operating at 50% capacity.” [ read more … ]

 

 

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