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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 4, 2019

Top Story

Survey suggests economy slowing in 9 Midwest, Plains states

By The Associated Press  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

A new monthly survey of business leaders suggests the economy is slowing down in nine Midwest and Plains states as the U.S. trade war with China continues, according to a report released Monday. The overall index for the region slipped into negative territory at 48.6 in November from October’s 52.6. The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth. A score below that suggests decline. “Slow global growth and trade skirmishes and wars are negatively affecting growth among manufacturers in the region,” said Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey. [ read more … ]


U.S., China Move Closer to Trade Deal Despite Heated Rhetoric

By Jenny Leonard, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 4, 2019

The U.S. and China are moving closer to agreeing on the amount of tariffs that would be rolled back in a phase-one trade deal despite tensions over Hong Kong and Xinjiang, people familiar with the talks said.
The people, who asked not to be identified, said that U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments Tuesday downplaying the urgency of a deal shouldn’t be understood to mean the talks were stalling, as he was speaking off the cuff. Recent U.S. legislation seeking to sanction Chinese officials over human-rights issues in Hong Kong and Xinjiang are unlikely to impact the talks, one person familiar with Beijing’s thinking said.

U.S. negotiators expect a phase-one deal with China to be completed before American tariffs are set to rise on Dec. 15, the people said. Outstanding issues in the talks include how to guarantee China’s purchases of U.S. agricultural goods and exactly which tariffs to roll back, they added. [ read more … ]

Trump’s tariff ambush risks pushing Brazil closer to China

By Jamie McGeever and Jake Spring in Brasilia, Gabriel Stargardter in Rio de Janeiro, Rodrigo Campos in New York, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 4, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to slap metals tariffs on Brazil is a blow to President Jair Bolsonaro’s aim of forging closer ties with Washington and could push Latin America’s No. 1 economy closer to Trump’s top trade foe – China. Earlier on Monday, Trump said he will impose tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina, catching the two South American countries off guard and prompting them to seek explanations. [ read more … ]

Trump stuns Wall Street, foreign capitals with new trade fights

By Tory Newmyer, Washington Post  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

President Trump is sending shock waves from Wall Street to Washington and foreign capitals by dialing up his trade war around the world — after spending the past two months retreating from its various fronts. Trump said he may wait until after the 2020 election to strike a trade agreement with China, saying there is “no deadline” on the talks. “In some ways I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal,” he said from London, where he is attending a NATO summit. The comments followed his announcement, via Twitter, that he is restoring tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina. And his administration separately said it is considering new levies on a range of French goods in retaliation for a new digital tax.  [ read more … ]

Proposed RVO Rule & Proposed Supplemental Rule

Grassley Hopeful Trump Changes RFS Rule

By Todd Neeley, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted December 4, 2019

With a proposed rule to account for small-refinery exemptions in the Renewable Fuel Standard now in the EPA’s hands, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told agriculture journalists on Tuesday he’s hopeful the agency will improve the proposal. A public comment period for the supplemental rule closed on Nov. 29, and the agency is on track to finalize the rule by the end of the year.
[ read more … ]

Refiners, biofuel makers await delayed 2020 renewable fuel mandate

By Meghan Gordon, Platts  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

“The longer this goes on, the greater uncertainty to our companies, who are complying with the [blending volumes] as well as to the marketplace in general,” said Frank Macchiarola, senior vice president of policy, economics, and regulatory affairs of the American Petroleum Institute. EPA was on track to release the final Renewable Fuel Standard volumes by Congress’ November 30 deadline, until it proposed changes at the 11th hour as part of the Trump administration’s attempt to quell farm-state anger about granting small refineries widespread waivers to the biofuel mandate. An EPA spokeswoman said the agency “hopes to finalize the rule this winter.” [ read more … ]

More than 11,700 comments filed on EPA’s SRE proposal

By Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

The public comment period of U.S. EPA’s supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that addresses the agency’s plan to reallocate future Renewable Fuel Standard volumes lost to small refinery exemptions (SREs) closed Nov. 29. More than 11,700 comments were filed on the proposal, according to data posted to the website. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Minnesota Governor Walz forms sub-Cabinet to help fight climate change

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has established a pair of panels to advise him on ways Minnesota can tackle the problem of climate change. Walz signed an executive order yesterday to form a climate change sub-Cabinet of state agency leaders. It will be led by Laura Bishop, commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. He’ll also appoint a Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change. The sub-Cabinet will be tasked with identifying policies and strategies for meeting or exceeding goals set by a 2007 state law for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The 15-member advisory council will provide perspectives to the sub-Cabinet. [ read more … ]

The U.S. just hit a major milestone as a petroleum exporter

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

After years of relying on other countries for petroleum, the United States just reached a new energy-producing milestone by notching its first month in at least 70 years exporting more crude oil and petroleum products than it imported per day. During the month of September, the country sent out 89,000 barrels a day more than it brought in, according to new official data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration released over the long Thanksgiving weekend.  [ read more … ]

The U.S. Ethanol Sector Is Experiencing A Partial Recovery

By Tristan R. Brown, Seeking Alpha  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

The last six weeks have seen the share prices of U.S. ethanol producers such as The Andersons (ANDE), Green Plains, Inc. (GPRE), and REX American Resources (REX) outperform the broader S&P 500 index; only the heavily-indebted Pacific Ethanol (PEIX) has missed out on the rally (see figure). While the share price of Green Plains, Inc. has only moved into positive territory on a YTD basis and remains below its May 2019 highs, that of REX American Resources is trading at its highest price of the year. This marks a major reversal in a quarter that is usually characterized by declining production margins following the end of the summer driving season and uncertainty over the ongoing corn harvest. [ read more … ]

Ethanol leader praises law ending Wisconsin’s “one hose” rule

By Larry Lee, Brownfield News  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

A Wisconsin ethanol producer says the new state law eliminating the need for separate hoses to dispense E15 was overdue. Erik Huschitt is the CEO and General Manager for Badger State Ethanol, and he is also the Board President for the Wisconsin BioFuels Association. He says, “It was really a limit to access to the market that was a burden that should not have existed.” Huschitt tells Brownfield the new law eliminates unnecessary regulation that made it difficult and expensive for retailers to offer more ethanol blends. “What it did limit is, it limited really a lot of people’s desire on the retail side to offer E15 due to the fact that they would need infrastructure that had its own hose and usually its own pump and its own bay.” [ read more … ]

See How the World’s Most Polluted Air Compares With Your City’s

By By Nadja Popovich, Blacki Migliozzi, Karthik Patanjali, Anjali Singhvi and Jon Huang, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

We visualized the damaging, tiny particles that wreak havoc on human health. From the Bay Area to New Delhi, see how the world’s worst pollution compares with your local air. The floating particles on this page depict microscopic particulate pollution called PM2.5. The number of particles you see here represents the upper limit for “good” air quality, as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency: 12 micrograms per cubic meter over 24 hours. [ read more … ]

Trump: ‘Climate change is very important to me’

By Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 3, 2019

President Trump today said climate change “is very important” to him, despite his long-standing denial of science that shows greenhouse gases are warming the planet and his administration’s rollbacks of emissions regulations. “Honestly, climate change is very important to me. I’ve done many environmental impact statements in my life, and I believe very strongly in very, very crystal clear clean water and clean air,” Trump said this morning during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “That’s a big part of climate change.”
[ read more … ]

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