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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 11, 2019

Top Story

Drowning in uncertainty: Trade questions slow investment, squeeze profits across U.S.

By Andrea Shalal, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 11, 2019

This month alone, Trump announced higher tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum from Argentina and Brazil here; threatened 100% tariffs on $2.4 billion of French cheese, Champagne and other goods and vowed to further hike tariffs on other European Union products over aircraft subsidies. Meanwhile, progress on talks to resolve the 17-month trade dispute with China remains illusive and a trade deal signed with Mexico and Canada is still awaiting ratification by the U.S. Congress. “We are drowning in uncertainty. This guessing game is chilling investment, putting hiring plans on hold, and sowing sourcing chaos throughout our industry,” said Steve Lamar, executive vice president of the American Apparel & Footwear Association, whose members have been hit especially hard by tariffs on Chinese imports. [ read more … ]


China Sees U.S. Delaying Dec. 15 Tariff Hike as Talks Drag

By Jenny Leonard, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 11, 2019

Chinese officials expect President Donald Trump to delay a threatened tariff increase set for Sunday, giving more time to negotiate an interim trade deal that both sides continue to insist is close to fruition despite a series of missed deadlines, according to people familiar with the discussions. The two sides, staying in almost daily contact, have also come closer to an agreement on scaling back the tariffs already in place. But rather than removing or rolling back existing levies, the focus has been on reducing the rate of the tariffs already in effect, according to officials and other people familiar with the talks. [ read more … ]

U.S. Cattle Ranchers Blast New Nafta as Other Farmers Cheer

By Michael Hirtzer, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 11, 2019

Crop handler and processor Archer-Daniels-Midland Co. said USMCA will provide “meaningful benefits for agriculture and food industries in all three countries.” Meanwhile, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, which represents cattle farmers and feeders, said: “There is no higher policy priority for America’s beef producers than maintaining our duty-free access to Canada and Mexico.” [ read more … ]

Proposed RVO and Supplemental Rules

Senator Grassley Says White House Assured Him on 2020 Biofuels Plan

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 10, 2019

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said on Tuesday he has been assured by the White House that 2020 biofuel blending mandates will be finalized in accordance with a September agreement between the administration and biofuel and corn producers. The Iowa Republican’s comment reflects the intense pressure on President Donald Trump to appease anger over his biofuel policy in the U.S. Farm Belt, a crucial political constituency in next year’s election that has often clashed with his allies in the oil industry. Grassley said in a call with reporters on Tuesday morning that he had been assured about the biofuel mandates in a recent conversation with Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russell Vought, and had also held recent conversations on the issue with Trump’s economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. [ read more … ]

EPA reneges on president’s biofuel promise, reflected in RFS proposal

By Michelle Rook, Agweek  •    •  Posted December 10, 2019

As part of President Donald Trump’s Sept. 12 deal, EPA was to reallocate biofuels volumes from the 85 Small Refinery Exemptions granted in the past three years that have cost the industry 1 billion bushels plus of lost corn demand. However, the agency’s 2020 RFS proposal fell well short of that agreement. Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association CEO says there is a real disconnect between the Oval Office and the EPA. “This is not the first time that we’ve heard one thing from the President and seen something completely different from EPA. We had some kind of touch and go moments on the E15 rulemaking,” Cooper says.
[ read more … ]


New York Loses Climate Change Fraud Case Against Exxon Mobil

By John Schwartz, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 11, 2019

A New York state judge on Tuesday handed Exxon Mobil a victory in the civil case brought by the state’s attorney general that argued the company had engaged in fraud through its statements about how it accounted for the costs of climate change regulation. After some four years of investigation and millions of pages of documents produced by the company, the judge said, attorney general Letitia James and her staff “failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence” that Exxon violated the Martin Act, New York’s powerful legal tool against shareholder fraud, in the closely watched case. [ read more … ]

Oil giant wins N.Y. climate challenge

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 10, 2019

A New York court sided with Exxon Mobil Corp. in a long legal battle launched by the state’s top attorney accusing the oil supermajor of misleading investors on the financial risks of climate change. Justice Barry Ostrager of the New York Supreme Court ruled today that Democratic Attorney General Letitia James failed to establish that the oil giant’s public disclosures of climate risks violated state law. “The Court finds that there was no proof offered at trial that established material misrepresentations or omissions contained in any of ExxonMobil’s public disclosures that satisfy the applicable legal standard,” Ostrager wrote in his decision on People of the State of New York v. Exxon Mobil Corp. [ read more … ]

Senate Dems seek input for environmental justice legislation

By Manuel Quiñones, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 10, 2019

More than a dozen Senate Democrats are asking environmental justice advocates for input on legislation to address climate change impacts. The lawmakers, led by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), want advocates to weigh in on both legislative and regulatory solutions by early next year. “It is well past time for Congress to partner with you and your communities in taking action to address the risks and impacts associated with climate change,” the Democrats wrote in a letter released yesterday. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

5 things Trump got wrong about the rollback

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 10, 2019

President Trump made some unusual claims about clean car standards last week. Many of them were false, experts say. At issue are Trump’s remarks at a Friday event described by the White House as a “roundtable on small business and red-tape reduction accomplishments.” His most viral comments concerned toilets. The president complained that “people are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once” and directed EPA to study the matter, prompting mockery on Twitter. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

USDA: 92% of U.S. corn harvested

By John Perkins , Brownfield News  •    •  Posted December 10, 2019

The 2019 U.S. soybean harvest is officially over as corn continues to limp towards the finish. It’s been a trying year for many producers, with an historically slow planting pace, widely variable weather during development, and periodic bouts of early winter weather slowing down harvest activity. Parts of the northern Midwest and Plains are receiving more snow this week and some of the corn crop might not be harvested until spring. The USDA says 92% of corn is harvested as of Sunday, compared to 89% a week ago and the five-year average of 100%. [ read more … ]


Don’t Let China Win the Green Race

By John Kerry and Ro Khanna, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 10, 2019

Washington is consumed with discussion about the consequences of a rising China, from trade disputes, to their authoritarian surveillance and oppression of Uighurs, to their aggression in the South China Sea. There’s comparably little debate about how the United States can shape the environment into which China is rising, let alone the actions we can take at home to ensure our values prevail. We see more focus on tariffs than building wind turbines and solar farms. We should not be spectators in shaping our own future, or the world’s. We should pledge that by the end of the next decade, America will surpass China and win the clean energy race. [ read more … ]

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