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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 20, 2019

Today’s Biofuels News will not publish during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.  It resumes on Monday, January 6, 2020.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Top Story

Sen. Joni Ernst calls for EPA chief to be replaced, says ethanol rules fall short of biofuels target

By Joseph Morton, Omaha World-Herald Bureau  •    •  Posted December 20, 2019

Sen. Joni Ernst said Thursday that President Donald Trump should replace Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler if he fails to deliver on promised levels of federally mandated ethanol blending. The Iowa Republican made her comments after the EPA released the final version of new ethanol rules, which falls short of the regulatory certainty the biofuels industry and its allies have sought. Ernst said the administration has promised that 15 billion gallons of ethanol will be blended into the nation’s fuel supply annually going forward. [ read more … ]


China Expert Says Buying $40 Billion in U.S. Farm Goods Viable

By Reuters  •    •  Posted December 20, 2019

China won’t have a problem buying $40 billion in U.S. farm goods a year despite growing concerns over the feasibility of the deal, an influential Chinese industry expert said. Shanghai JC Intelligence Co., China’s most clued-in agricultural consultant and researcher, says that the Asian country could spend $18.7 billion a year on U.S. soybeans. It could also buy about $7 billion worth of other grains and related products, more than $2 billion in poultry and chicken feet, and $2.5 billion worth of nuts, JCI said. Cotton, fish and ethanol are also on the table, it said. [ read more … ]

Proposed RVO and Supplemental Rule

Biofuel Advocates Maintain EPA Doesn’t Meet President Trump’s Promise on Biofuels

By Chris Clayton, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted December 20, 2019

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, had a different take. Grassley pointed to a Sept. 12 meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump and several Midwest senators. Grassley said EPA’s new rule “does not reflect what we agreed to in that meeting.” Grassley said Wheeler has put Trump in a bad situation by not following the law as Congress intended. “Once again, EPA is playing games and not helping President Trump with farmers,” Grassley said.
[ read more … ]

Reports EPA Will Stick with Initial RFS Proposal, Angering Farmers

By Meghan Vick, Pro Farmer  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

EPA’s final rule on biofuel blending quotas for 2020 (2021 for biodiesel) will stick to the original proposal for addressing small refinery waivers, according to sources familiar with the matter cited by both Bloomberg and Reuters. The White House reportedly told the Iowa Corn Growers Association it would use a three-year average of non-binding Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations on hardship waivers for small refineries rather than actual volumes waived in reallocating waived gallons.
[ read more … ]

Trump Rebuffs Corn Farmers With Status Quo on Biofuels

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

The Trump administration on Thursday set relatively flat quotas for plant-based fuels in 2020, rebuffing ethanol and biodiesel allies who said the targets don’t do enough to support the industry. The Environmental Protection Agency will require refiners to use 20.09 billion gallons of renewable fuel in 2020, a 0.85% increase over the 2019 requirement for 19.92 billion gallons, largely tracking a proposal released in July. The agency is also sticking with its plan for adjusting blending requirements to offset waivers exempting some refineries from the mandates, despite criticism from biofuel allies in politically important farm states that the approach is inadequate. [ read more … ]

EPA releases final rule that angers ethanol, farm boosters

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

The Trump administration is sticking with a biofuel policy for next year that has sparked criticism from the ethanol industry and farm groups. In a final rule, EPA said it will continue to grant waivers of biofuel-blending requirements to small refineries in certain situations and will reallocate at least some of the waived gallons to other refiners. But in a move that has drawn opposition from the industry, officials said they’ll base the reallocations on projected volumes rather than the actual waivers granted.
[ read more … ]

EPA Shows Support to Big Oil Not Farmers Through Renewable Volume Obligations

By South Dakota Farmers Union  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed it’s allegiance to Big Oil today when it released its final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020. “Today’s announcement is a disappointment, but not a surprise. Instead of the 2020 Renewable Fuels Standard being a win for Farm Country, and truly all Americans because of the clean air it could have provided, the 2020 RFS just proves clean air and farmers are not a priority,” says Doug Sombke, President of South Dakota Farmers Union, a grassroots farm organization, representing 18,000 family farmers and ranchers. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Lawmakers aim to revive broad extenders deal

By Geof Koss, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

Key senators indicated yesterday they intend to revive the push for clean energy tax breaks in 2020, after the Trump administration torpedoed a broader tax deal allegedly struck by congressional negotiators that would have included more incentives sought by Democrats in the talks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said yesterday he was “particularly and strongly disappointed” the tax deal that emerged Tuesday morning did not include incentives for electric vehicles, battery storage, offshore wind and solar energy. [ read more … ]


Depression and suicide linked to air pollution in new global study

By Damian Carrington, The Guardian  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

People living with air pollution have higher rates of depression and suicide, a systematic review of global data has found. Cutting air pollution around the world to the EU’s legal limit could prevent millions of people becoming depressed, the research suggests. This assumes that exposure to toxic air is causing these cases of depression. Scientists believe this is likely but is difficult to prove beyond doubt.

The particle pollution analysed in the study is produced by burning fossil fuels in vehicles, homes and industry. The researchers said the new evidence further strengthened calls to tackle what the World Health Organization calls the “silent public health emergency” of dirty air. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

Andrew Wheeler says EPA doesn’t have a ‘war with California’

By Dino Grandoni, Washignton Post  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

he Trump administration has stripped away its regulatory authority, threatened to cut its highway funding and called its dirty waterways a “significant public health concern.” But it isn’t picking a fight with California. That’s what Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, claimed about actions his office has taken recently when it comes to air and water pollution in the big blue state. [ read more … ]

Feds cite ‘uncertainty’ in bid to fast-track Calif. lawsuit

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

The federal government last night asked an appeals court to expedite one of the legal battles over California’s tailpipe emissions standards. Government attorneys told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that it should hear arguments as early as next spring, given the immediacy of the issues at the heart of the dispute. “These are extraordinary cases,” lawyers for EPA and the Department of Transportation wrote in their brief. “The standards in question are immediately impacting industry investment and production decisions in the multibillion-dollar automotive sector of the U.S. economy. [ read more … ]


Warren sets 100-day climate agenda

By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 19, 2019

Elizabeth Warren is specifying a handful of actions she’d take on climate change in her first 100 days as president. In an opinion piece in BuzzFeed News yesterday, the Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential hopeful said she would carry out many of her campaign promises on climate quickly after taking office Jan. 20, 2021, if she wins the Democratic nomination and beats President Trump. “On day one, I’ll issue a sweeping executive order rolling back all of Donald Trump’s disastrous pro-fossil fuels policies, banning new fossil fuel leases offshore and on public lands, and committing the United States to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords,” she wrote. [ read more … ]


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