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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 13, 2019

Top Story

Minnesota Governor Walz takes charge on climate change

By Editorial Board, Minneapolis Star Tribune  •    •  Posted December 13, 2019

While making some progress, Minnesota has been falling behind on goals established by Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in 2007. What Walz is doing is important not only as a way to forge ahead despite partisan resistance, but also to demonstrate that commitments to long-range goals often require persistence that spans years, changes in administrations and majorities. It was the kind of commitment that was required to create and sustain MinnesotaCare, which was then a nation-leading initiative to expand health care coverage. Walz, who is chairman of the National Governors’ Biofuels Coalition, has said he considers climate change “an existential challenge.” He is far from alone in that assessment. The zero carbon emissions by 2050 goal he supported earlier this year is becoming an increasingly common benchmark, shared by 70 countries and more than 100 cities around the world. [ read more … ]

Trade

Trump Approves U.S.-China Trade Deal to Halt Dec. 15 Tariffs

By Jenny Leonard , Jennifer Jacobs , Shawn Donnan , and Saleha Mohsin, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 13, 2019

The deal presented to Trump by trade advisers Thursday included a promise by the Chinese to buy more U.S. agricultural goods, according to the people. Officials also discussed possible reductions of existing duties on Chinese products, they said. The terms have been agreed but the legal text has not yet been finalized, the people said. A White House spokesperson declined to comment. An announcement is expected Friday Washington time, according to people familiar with the plans. [ read more … ]

U.S. sets China trade deal terms, sources say, but Beijing mum

By Jeff Mason, Andrea Shalal, David Lawder in Washington; Cate Cadell, Dominique Patton and Tony Munroe in Beijing; Winni Zhou and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 13, 2019

Washington has set its terms for a trade deal with China, offering to suspend some tariffs on Chinese goods and cut others in exchange for Beijing’s buying more American farm goods, U.S. sources said on Thursday. Beijing’s silence, however, raised questions over whether the two sides can agree a truce in their trade war before a new round of tit-for-tat tariffs takes effect on Sunday. A source briefed on the status of bilateral negotiations said the United States would suspend tariffs on $160 billion in Chinese goods expected to go into effect on Sunday and roll back existing tariffs. In return, Beijing would agree to buy $50 billion in U.S. agricultural goods in 2020, double what it bought in 2017, before the trade conflict began, two U.S.-based sources briefed on the talks said. [ read more … ]

U.S. Settles on Outline of Elusive China Trade Deal

By Ana Swanson, Alan Rappeport and Keith Bradsher, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 13, 2019

The United States has settled on final terms of a partial trade deal with China, several people familiar with the negotiations said, a development that could ease tensions between the world’s largest economies just days before the long-running trade war is set to escalate. President Trump met with his top economic advisers Thursday afternoon at the White House, where the president agreed to significant reductions on tariffs he has placed on $360 billion of Chinese goods in return for China’s commitment to purchase American farm products and make other concessions, the people said. [ read more … ]

US, China Close on Trade Deal

By  Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor  •    •  Posted December 13, 2019

Perdue added that core issues in trade talks between the U.S. and China have not changed. “China knows exactly what we’ve asked for — to restructure their economy in a way that doesn’t have these state-owned enterprises doing these market distortions, to not have forced transfer of intellectual property, and to play by the international rules in a way that we can count on and do what you say. That’s really what we’re talking about and I hope China can get there.” Perdue added that core issues in trade talks between the U.S. and China have not changed. “China knows exactly what we’ve asked for — to restructure their economy in a way that doesn’t have these state-owned enterprises doing these market distortions, to not have forced transfer of intellectual property, and to play by the international rules in a way that we can count on and do what you say. That’s really what we’re talking about and I hope China can get there.” [ read more … ]

Proposed RVO & Supplemental Rules

Iowa Farmers Still Waiting On Answers From EPA

By Josh Cook, Iowa Starting Line  •    •  Posted December 12, 2019

Farmers in Iowa and around the country are still waiting on a final decision on the Trump Administration’s biofuel policy. The controversy over exemptions that undercut Midwest farmers’ ethanol production in favor of oil companies that got started over the summer is still simmering and unresolved. The Environmental Protection Agency’s public comment period over biofuels policy ended Nov. 29 with more than 11,700 comments submitted. The EPA opened a public comment period to gather insight on how to handle reallocating ethanol gallon lost to small refinery exemptions (SREs), back into their renewable fuel volume obligations (RVO).
[ read more … ]

E30

Ethanol Industry Leaders to Governor Noem: E30 Ready for Prime Time

By South Dakota Farmers Union  •    •  Posted December 13, 2019

Following her remarks at the Glacial Lakes Energy annual shareholders meeting last week, a broad group of ethanol, agriculture, and clean air supporters commended South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for her leadership in advancing 30% ethanol blends. Long considered the “sweet spot” for optimum ethanol blend volumes, the Governor has taken a leadership role in calling for E30 to be used in legacy vehicles, including the state fleet.  In a letter to the Governor, ethanol producers Jim Seurer of Glacial Lakes Energy, Pam Miller of Siouxland Energy, and Ron Alverson of Dakota Ethanol  joined with Doug Sombke of the South Dakota Farmers Union and Dave VanderGriend of the Urban Air Initiative urging Governor Noem to continue to underscore the importance of the Watertown E30 Challenge. [ read more … ]

Climate

Europe sets pace for worldwide climate fight

By Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 12, 2019

The European Union this week bolstered its claim to the mantle of global climate guardian. In the Spanish capital, where delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered for a second week of U.N. climate talks, representatives of the 28-nation compact offered to partner with any nation that would fight climate change or is in line to suffer from it. In Brussels, the European Commission — the E.U.’s executive branch — yesterday announced plans for a green overhaul of the bloc’s economy, from manufacturing to agriculture to fisheries to power generation. [ read more … ]

Lawyer: Case against Big Oil is about ‘lying’ not CO2

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 12, 2019

Attorneys for BP PLC and other companies yesterday told a panel of judges that Baltimore officials should not be able to pursue state-level litigation to “punish” oil producers. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday considered whether state or federal court is the proper venue for the Charm City’s quest to secure industry reimbursement for local climate damages linked to greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel production and other sources. Baltimore and the oil companies made their case to Chief Judge Roger Gregory and Judges Stephanie Thacker and Henry Franklin Floyd. [ read more … ]

Extenders

Scope of extenders package shrinks as clock ticks

By Geof Koss, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 12, 2019

A slimmer tax package may be easier to negotiate — a point Cantwell reiterated yesterday. “I said like a month ago that would be the problem,” she said of the push for a big package. “People always want to try to add like a 1,000 things.” Yet if negotiators just stick to more than two dozen expired tax breaks — which include incentives for efficiency, alternative vehicles and biofuels — that also complicates efforts by Democrats on both sides of the Capitol who want to include expansions of existing tax breaks.
[ read more … ]

2020

White House hopefuls launch climate ad blitz during U.N. talks in Madrid

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted December 12, 2019

Several White House hopefuls unveiled ads this week trashing President Trump for refusing to crack down on polluters and work with other world leaders to slow global warming. The advertising blitz comes as negotiators from other countries meet at a United Nations climate summit in Madrid try to hammer out the details of implementing the Paris climate accord, an agreement from which Trump has promised to withdraw.  The latest candidate out with a climate ad is former vice president Joe Biden, who is leading most national polls.  [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Amid climate change concern, GM rolls out big new Chevy SUVs

By Tom Krisher, Associated Press  •    •  Posted December 12, 2019

Global concerns about climate change are not stopping General Motors Co. from making large SUVs for U.S. drivers. GM on Tuesday rolled out the next generation of its big truck-based SUVs with more space and features. They’re also heavier with only a small improvement in gas mileage. The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban will come out in the middle of next year. They’ll be longer and weigh more, because customer research showed a need for more interior space. [ read more … ]

Natural Gas Boom Fizzles as a U.S. Glut Sinks Profits

By Clifford Krauss, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 12, 2019

A decade ago, natural gas was heralded as the fuel of the future. In shale fields across the country, hydraulic fracturing uncorked a lucrative new source of supply. Energy giants like Exxon Mobil and Chevron snapped up smaller companies to get in on the action, and investors poured billions of dollars into export terminals to ship gas to China and Europe. The boom has given way to a bust. A glut of cheap natural gas is wreaking havoc on the energy industry, and companies are shutting down drilling rigs, filing for bankruptcy protection and slashing the value of shale fields they had acquired in recent years. [ read more … ]

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