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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE November 4, 2019

Top Story

Trump makes U-turn on fuel economy standards

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

President Trump is backing off a controversial freeze of fuel economy standards, marking a dramatic shift in his rollback of Obama-era clean car rules, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Trump administration last year proposed freezing fuel economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than increasing their stringency by 5% each year as President Obama had mandated. [ read more … ]

Trade

U.S.-China trade deal in sight after progress in high-level talks

By Makini Brice, Andrea Shalal, Susan Heavey, Doina Chiacu, Lisa Lambert, Tim Ahmann and Eric Beech in Washington, Reuters  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

The United States and China on Friday said they made progress in talks aimed at defusing a nearly 16-month-long trade war that has harmed the global economy, and U.S. officials said a deal could be signed this month. The Chinese Commerce Ministry on Friday said the world’s two largest economies had reached “consensus on principles” during a “serious and constructive” telephone call between their main trade negotiators. [ read more … ]

White House Biofuel Plan

For Trump, hints of trouble in ethanol country

By By Art Cullen, Washington Post  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

While much of the state is in the throes of harvest, Scholten says he smells something in the corn dust. Farmers here are unhappy with President Trump for granting 31 petroleum refineries waivers from federal requirements that they blend corn ethanol into their gasoline. Corn prices dropped not long after. Former governor Terry Branstad, now ambassador to trade-conflicted China, warned Trump not to grant the waivers. Trump did it anyway. “They screwed us,” Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the state’s senior senator, admitted. (Corn prices are still up about 20 cents a bushel from last fall, near the break-even point for most growers.) [ read more … ]

Renewable Fuel Standards impact on Iowa

By Rachel Droze, WeareIowa  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

“I got a sense that folks were very uniformally upset with the EPA for not hitting the mark so to speak when it comes to delivering on the deal that the president announced a couple of weeks ago,” Iowa Dept. of Agriculture’s Sec. Mike Naig said. Without the full 15 billion gallons guaranteed, agriculture experts say the renewable fuel market is in jeopardy. “We’ve got four renewable fuels plants in this state that have shut down. We’ve got dialed back their production. You’ve got layoffs that are impacting hundreds of families,” Naig said. [ read more … ]

SREs

Noem Urges EPA to Reconsider Proposed Biofuels Rules

By Kristin Wileman, Governor Noem’s Office  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

Governor Kristi Noem and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz yesterday sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging the agency to honor President Donald Trump’s commitment to follow the Renewable Fuel Standard. As part of President Trump’s Oct. 4 announcement, he directed the EPA to restore the biofuels lost when the agency granted disproportionate small refinery waivers At the time of the announcement, Noem applauded the administration’s plan, calling it a “big win for producers.” [ read more … ]

Walz, Noem urge EPA to reconsider proposed biofuels rules

By Jody Heemstra, DRG News  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

“President Trump’s announcement to expand ethanol production would be an incredible shot in the arm for South Dakota’s farmers. It would increase the demand for corn and improve long-term agriculture stability,” said Noem. “This announcement is meaningless, though, if the EPA fails to honor the president’s direction and shirks its responsibility to American farmers. The EPA’s recently proposed rules fail to fix the problems they previously caused and once again do not enforce ethanol production requirements. I strongly urge Administrator Wheeler and EPA leadership to reconsider this approach and utilize actual exempted gallon data to ensure the support of farmers and ranchers in South Dakota and throughout the nation.” [ read more … ]

NFU urges greater transparency in EPA’s granting of small refinery exemptions

By National Farmers Union  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

In light of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ongoing misappropriation of small refinery exemptions (SREs), the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Environment and Climate Change within the Committee on Energy and Commerce hosted a hearing on Oct. 29 on how those exemptions have undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the American biofuels industry. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

White House Backing Off Proposed Fuel-Efficiency Freeze

By Ben Foldy and Timothy Puko, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

The Trump administration is backing away from a plan to freeze tailpipe-emissions targets for new vehicles through 2025, say people familiar with the process. The administration is now considering requiring a 1.5% annual increase in fleetwide fuel efficiency, using an industry measure that takes both gas mileage and emissions reductions into account, the people said. The target moves the number closer to the Obama-era rules calling for 5% gains but still provides auto makers with significant relief and would allow cars to emit more pollution. [ read more … ]

Big automakers take risks in siding with Trump administration against California

By Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

The move has sparked a backlash among congressional Democrats historically allied with the auto industry and has angered some consumers, one of whom tweeted, “Boycott time!” while another said, “GM to the planet: Drop dead.” Meanwhile, the Trump administration, which last year said it wanted to freeze fuel efficiency at the 2026 levels required by Obama-era regulations, has decided to propose requiring auto companies to improve fuel efficiency at a pace of 1.5 percent a year, according to senior federal officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the rule has not yet been published.
[ read more … ]

Primary 2020

As the Iowa caucus nears, ethanol politics start rising: The Flyover

  •    •  Posted November 1, 2019

It isn’t just farmers who are upset at Republican President Donald Trump’s decision to grant more waivers to oil refineries for ethanol blending. Per Reuters, everyone is upset with the administration’s handling of the matter. The ethanol industry says Trump went back on his word by granting more waivers in the first place, then reneging on a deal to increase demand. The oil industry says they’re having the rug pulled out from under them after complying with the law. [ read more … ]

Opinion

SD Corn: Battle against EPA and waivers isn’t over

By South Dakota Corn, Farm Forum  •    •  Posted November 3, 2019

A deal is a deal. At least it should be. But when dealing with the EPA and the Trump administration on ethanol obligations and promises, don’t bank on it. The government changes direction more frequently than a hungry South Dakota walleye. What’s promised one day is sometimes squashed the next. It’s enough to make your head spin. [ read more … ]

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