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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE January 6, 2020

Top Story

U.S. Farmers See Another Bleak Year Despite Phase 1 Trade Deal

By Karl Plume in Chicago and P.J. Huffstutter in Dimmit, Texas, Reuters  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

cross snow-covered North Dakota, U.S. farmers are stuck with fields full of weather-damaged corn – a crop they planted after the U.S.-China trade war killed their soybean market. Many don’t know yet what crops they’ll plant next season among a host of dicey options. In Texas, Kansas and Colorado, farmers are weighing whether they should plant fewer acres of corn and more sorghum, even though China has all but stopped buying it. That’s because sorghum costs about half as much as corn to plant, which appeals to farmers wary of investing too much for an uncertain return. [ read more … ]

RFS

SCOTUS Asked to Consider RFS

By Todd Neeley, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

Should the EPA consider petitions to change the point of obligation in the Renewable Fuel Standard? It’s a question brought before the agency numerous times via petitions but never fully addressed in rulemaking. Valero Energy Corp. and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers petitioned the United States Supreme Court to consider whether EPA is following the law. Currently, refiners and fuel importers are obligated parties in the RFS. The agency has been petitioned several times to consider instead requiring fuel blenders to follow the RFS.
[ read more … ]

Refiners appeal RFS ruling

By Pamela King, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

While a panel of D.C. Circuit judges rejected the refiners’ claims, Senior Judge Stephen Williams wrote a concurring opinion expressing frustration that EPA held “essentially unfettered discretion” to decide whether it will reexamine its compliance requirements. Valero and AFPM called on the Supreme Court to rein in that discretion. “The need for this Court’s review transcends correcting EPA’s and the D.C. Circuit’s serious statutory-interpretation errors,” the petitioners wrote. “The more basic purpose of preventing agencies from inflating their power at the expense of congressional commands — and of ensuring that courts are not complicit when agencies overreach — is central here.” [ read more … ]

EPA’s 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard Adopts New Methodologies That Diverge from Prior Interpretations

By King & Spaulding  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

On December 19, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issued its final rule for renewable fuel volume requirements for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (“RFS”) program.[i] The rule establishes the amount of biofuel that must be blended into gasoline and diesel transportation fuel produced or imported in 2020. The final volumes included a 50 million gallon increase in cellulosic biofuel to 590 million gallons from the amount proposed in July.[ii] The final volume of conventional biofuel remained the same as the proposed amount, 15 billion gallons. [ read more … ]

SREs

EPA Receives 16 Requests for 2019 Small-Refinery Exemptions

By Todd Neeley, DTN  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

Just as the biofuels industry in the United States continues to lament the EPA’s latest Renewable Fuel Standard action that by most accounts falls short of industry expectations when accounting for small-refinery exemptions, the agency has received additional waiver requests for 2019. According to the latest numbers on EPA’s RFS dashboard, https://www.epa.gov/…, the agency has received 16 SRE requests for 2019. Those requests come at a time when the price of renewable identification numbers, or RINs, continue to be low. One of the major reasons cited by refiners for making exemption requests, is the exorbitant costs of compliance with the RFS. [ read more … ]

EPA: 6 new SREs filed for compliance year 2016

By Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

The U.S. EPA released updated small refinery exemption (SRE) data on Dec. 19, reporting that six new SRE petitions have been filed under the Renewable Fuel Standard for compliance year 2019, up from 10 petitions that had been filed as of Nov. 21, 2019. A total of 16 SRE petitions for compliance year 2019 have now been filed. All 16 are still blending. No SRE petitions are currently pending for any other RFS compliance year.
[ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

IRFA seeks 66% boost in grants for E15 pump installation

By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

Just ten percent of gas stations in Iowa have pumps that will dispense the higher blend of ethanol that’s now cleared nationally for sale year-round. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is asking state officials for a 66 percent increase in the total amount of state “cost-share” grant money that’s available to stations that install E-15 pumps. Nathan Hohnstein, a lobbyist for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says those state grants over the past few years have had a dramatic impact. [ read more … ]

France to raise pollution tax on SUVs and trucks to $22,240

By Ania Nussbaum, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

France is taking aim at SUVs by raising a tax on heavier and more polluting vehicles, a measure that comes on top of tough new European rules being phased in next year to lower car emissions. Under a law adopted by parliament this week, cars emitting carbon dioxide above a certain threshold will be subject to a €20,000 ($22,240) penalty in 2020, higher than the existing €12,500. At the same time, the government is considering reducing cash incentives for the purchase of electric cars. [ read more … ]

Science Panel Staffed With Trump Appointees Says E.P.A. Rollbacks Lack Scientific Rigor

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

A top panel of government-appointed scientists, many of them hand-selected by the Trump administration, said on Tuesday that three of President Trump’s most far-reaching and scrutinized proposals to weaken major environmental regulations are at odds with established science. Draft letters posted online Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board, which is responsible for evaluating the scientific integrity of the agency’s regulations, took aim at the Trump administration’s rewrite of an Obama-era regulation of waterways, an Obama-era effort to curb planet-warming vehicle tailpipe emissions and a plan to limit scientific data that can be used to draft health regulations. [ read more … ]

Opinion

U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin: President Trump and biofuels: believe it when you see it

By Richard J. Durbin, The Hill  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

Fourteen years ago, I joined my Republican and Democratic colleagues in Congress to draft and pass the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) law, which requires home-grown biofuels to be blended into gasoline and diesel. The RFS has been a resounding success: today, nearly all domestic gasoline has 10 percent ethanol, we lead the world in ethanol and biodiesel production, and we export record volumes to Canada, India, and South Korea. Biofuels now are produced at more than 270 plants nationwide, creating hundreds of thousands of job, including union jobs, and adding $44.4 billion to our economy. [ read more … ]

Who is driving our ethanol policy? And why does it matter?

By Jeffrey T. Manuel and Thomas D. Rogers, The Hill  •    •  Posted January 6, 2020

Over the past three years, ethanol policy has shifted quickly in the world’s two largest ethanol producing countries, the United States and Brazil. The political stakes are high — it’s a $168 billion industry — but the key players can be hard to identify, with farmers, producers, oil refiners, and two unpredictable presidents, Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, all playing roles. But the real drivers of biofuel policy in both countries are powerful multiparty blocs of legislators representing rural areas and agricultural interests. Understanding the political dynamics behind biofuel policy is necessary to legislate effectively and will be essential for the coming transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. [ read more … ]

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