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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE November 15, 2019

Top Story

Bill targets RFS, a ‘well-intentioned flop’

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

Two Democratic lawmakers proposed legislation yesterday to cut corn ethanol production while encouraging farmers to convert cropland into pasture and wildlife habitat. Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont and Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said their measure, called the “GREENER Fuels Act,” would cap the amount of ethanol that may be blended into gasoline at 9.7%, resulting in a reduction of a billion gallons of ethanol. The lawmakers, who’ve supported legislation in the past to phase out requirements for conventional ethanol, have complained about the fuel’s potential to damage small engines, as well as the loss of grasslands and forests converted to crops used in biofuels — assertions the ethanol industry disputes. [ read more … ]

Trade

How Trump’s Trade War Went From Method to Madness

By Shawn Donnan and Jenny Leonard, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted November 15, 2019

What began as method now looks more and more like madness. A tit-for-tat tariff war has ensnared more than 70% of bilateral trade in goods and raised the specter of a decoupling of two economies that once seemed destined to become progressively more intertwined. If the countries can’t resolve at least some of their differences in the coming weeks, the White House will on Dec. 15 add 15% punitive tariffs on a further $160 billion in Chinese imports, delivering on what were once just presidential ruminations. That tariff round could jeopardize America’s record-long expansion, according to some economists. As it stands, the existing duties will knock 0.8% off global growth in 2020, according to recent forecasts from the International Monetary Fund. [ read more … ]

U.S. and China ‘getting close’ to trade deal: White House economic adviser

By Andrea Shalal, Reuters  •    •  Posted November 15, 2019

The United States and China are getting close to a trade agreement, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Thursday, citing what he called very constructive talks with Beijing about ending a 16-month trade war. Kudlow said negotiators for the world’s two largest economies were in close touch via telephone but he gave no further details on the timing of a possible deal. “We’re getting close,” he told an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington. “The mood music is pretty good, and that has not always been so in these things.”
[ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

EPA study rebuked in escalating clash over soot standards

By Sean Reilly, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted November 14, 2019

The existing annual standard, last revised in 2012, is too weak to prevent thousands of early deaths, EPA air staff concluded in the preliminary assessment released earlier this year. Evidence of PM2.5’s dangers continues to mount. One recent study found that black carbon particles can migrate from a pregnant woman’s lungs to the placenta surrounding her baby). Another linked especially tiny ultrafine particles to heightened risk of brain cancer [ read more … ]

US biodiesel industry dependent on tax credit, RFS to compete with fossil-based diesel

By Biofuels News  •    •  Posted November 14, 2019

“The biodiesel industry’s growth has been steady and sustainable over the past 15 years, with support from the biodiesel tax incentive and the RFS,” commented Kurt Kovarik, vice-president of federal affairs at the NBB. “The industry supports more than 65,000 jobs across the United States and $17 billion [€15.4 billion] in economic activity. But at the moment, the RFS – and the value of RINs [Renewable Identification Numbers] – is being undermined by waivers and flatlined volumes. On top of that, the nearly two-year lapse of the tax credit is compounding economic uncertainty for US producers, endangering jobs and economic opportunities in many states. [ read more … ]

Gevo discusses plans for low-carbon ethanol, RNG

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted November 14, 2019

Patrick Gruber, CEO of Gevo, opened the company’s third quarter earnings call by discussing progress made by the company and announcing Gevo believes it can “become profitable, or close to it” by the end of 2021 if the company is successful in improving the carbon footprint of its Luverne plant and selling low-carbon ethanol into California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard market. The company plans to use wind energy and RNG to offset electricity and natural gas use at the Luverne plant, thereby lowering the carbon intensity (CI) score of the ethanol produced. [ read more … ]

EIA maintains 2019, 2020 ethanol production forecasts

By EIA  •    •  Posted November 14, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has maintained its 2019 and 2020 ethanol production forecasts its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, published Nov. 13. The agency currently predicts ethanol production will average 1.03 million barrels per day in both 2019 and 2020. Ethanol production averaged 1.05 million barrels per day in 2018. [ read more … ]

2020

Democrats seek major shift in mobility for every American

By Mark K. Matthews, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted November 14, 2019

The United States hit a milestone in the fight against climate change in October 2018 when sales of electric vehicles passed the 1 million mark. But the achievement — though notable — is hardly cause for celebration. It’s taken years and plenty of government-backed incentives to convince enough U.S. consumers to buy 1 million electric vehicles. And while sales have increased recently, they still represent just a fraction of U.S. demand. Last year, sales of EVs accounted for about 2% of the American market. [ read more … ]

Opinion

EPA’s New Proposal to Rein in Refinery Waivers Falls Short

By Geoff Cooper, Morning Consult  •    •  Posted November 14, 2019

When administered correctly, the RFS decreases reliance on imported petroleum, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers gas prices and boosts rural economies. The program achieves these goals by ensuring that biofuels are afforded access to a fuel market that is otherwise closed to competition. Unfortunately, the current administration’s approach to implementation has destabilized the RFS and created significant uncertainty in the marketplace. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency’s liberal granting of compliance waivers to small oil refineries has resulted in lower production and use of ethanol, increased emissions, higher consumer gas prices and lost jobs. [ read more … ]

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