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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 17, 2019

Top Story

Overtime talks yield limited accord on energy extenders

By Geof Koss, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 17, 2019

The extenders package, which will hitch a ride on one of the two minibus spending bills to be voted on this week, would revive and extend expired incentives for efficiency, alternative vehicles and biofuels through 2020, with the credits made retroactive to cover 2018 and 2019. The biodiesel tax credit — a top priority of Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) — would be extended through 2022 under the deal, which was sealed following a late night meeting between Hill negotiators and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The renewable production tax credit, currently scheduled to phase out at the end of 2019, will be extended for one year under the agreement. [ read more … ]

Trade

China May Buy Ethanol, Divert Hong Kong Trade to Hit U.S. Pledge

By Bloomberg News  •    •  Posted December 17, 2019

Further details are emerging on how China would increase imports from the U.S. by as much as $200 billion over the next two years in order to meet its commitments under the phase one trade deal signed last week. That accord, yet to be officially signed, includes reaching purchases of $40 billion to $50 billion per year in agricultural commodities, a level some analysts have doubted is feasible. To help attain that figure, Beijing plans to restart purchases of ethanol by lifting or waiving trade war tariffs on the fuel, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing the plans. In addition, China is considering re-routing trade that currently passes through Hong Kong to mainland ports, the people said. That could enable around $10 billion a year in goods transshipped there from the U.S. to be directly booked in the mainland, boosting the tally. The U.S. does not count shipments that go through Hong Kong as part of its trade with China. [ read more … ]

Proposed RVO and Supplemental Rules

Biofuel, Ag Sectors Keep Up Pressure on EPA Over SRE Reallocation Plan

By Patrick Newkumet, OPIS  •    •  Posted December 16, 2019

U.S. agricultural and biofuel groups were buoyed by progress in Congress this week on a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, but continued to maintain pressure on EPA to issue a final 2020 Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) that will include the small refinery waiver reallocation plan they believed was agreed upon in an early October meeting with the White House. EPA has been under attack since it released a draft supplement RVO in mid-October that proposed a plan to redistribute among non-exempt obligated parties volumes lost through small refinery exemptions (SREs) that agriculture and biofuel officials critics said fall short of what’s needed to restore the renewable fuel industry’s health.
[ read more … ]

Climate

U.N. talks limp to a close with no deal on carbon trading

By Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 16, 2019

More than two weeks of U.N. climate talks ended yesterday with little headway on a key issue related to the Paris climate accord — an impasse that frustrated both activists and negotiators, and one that raised fresh worries about the future of the planet. The breakdown occurred even after negotiators worked more than 40 hours past the official close of the talks to try and reach a resolution. But the long hours and sleepless nights didn’t yield agreement on the last piece of the Paris Agreement’s rulebook: guidelines for how international carbon markets would serve the 2015 climate deal.
[ read more … ]

Exxon, Chevron face new round of shareholder climate resolutions

By Reuters  •    •  Posted December 16, 2019

An activist group is increasing the pressure on five big U.S. and European oil companies with shareholder resolutions urging them to meet the Paris climate goals and cut carbon emissions. Mobil, Chevron and their European rivals Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Equinor with climate resolutions ahead of next year’s annual general meetings (AGMs) scheduled for the first half of 2020. Follow This owns minor stakes in the companies which enables it to file shareholder resolutions. [ read more … ]

EVs

Mercedes delays electric debut after rival SUVs flop

By Gabrielle Coppola, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 16, 2019

Mercedes-Benz is putting off the U.S. debut of its first electric vehicle by a year in the latest sign of just how difficult a time automakers are having replicating Tesla Inc.’s success. Daimler AG’s luxury brand will start sales of the EQC crossover in 2021 rather than early next year. The German carmaker said in an emailed statement that it’s made the strategic decision to first support growing demand for the model in Europe, where deliveries began earlier this year.
[ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Clean energy groups for tax extenders shutout

By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted December 16, 2019

Clean energy groups fear their priorities for extending and expanding expiring tax credits for solar, wind and other clean energy technologies will be left out of year-end legislating negotiations. However, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are seeking at least some clean energy wins. One potential low-hanging fruit could be extending the investment tax credit to include energy storage, a bipartisan push being led by Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado, both vulnerable Republican senators in purple states. [ read more … ]

Former air deputy helped Wheeler threaten Calif.

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 16, 2019

Newly released emails shed more light on the key role played by a former EPA political appointee in Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s threat to revoke California’s highway funds. At issue is Wheeler’s September letter to the California Air Resources Board in which he threatened to revoke the state’s highway funds over its alleged failure to comply with the Clean Air Act. The emails show that Clint Woods, the former deputy EPA air chief, played a pivotal role in gathering data to back up Wheeler’s claims — data that was roundly criticized as inaccurate. [ read more … ]

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