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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE February 18, 2020

Top Story

Trump’s Path to Weaker Fuel Efficiency Rules May Lead to a Dead End

By Coral Davenport, New York Times  •    •  Posted February 17, 2020

Last April, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Andrew Wheeler, proclaimed at an auto show here that he would soon roll back President Barack Obama’s stringent fuel efficiency standards. Nearly a year later, the rollback is nowhere near complete and may not be ready until this summer — if ever. In January, administration staff members appointed by President Trump sent a draft of the scaled-back fuel economy standards to the White House, but six people familiar with the documents described them as “Swiss cheese,” sprinkled with glaring numerical and spelling errors (such as “Massachusettes”), with 111 sections marked “text forthcoming.”
[ read more … ]

Market

China to Grant Tariff Exemptions on 696 U.S. Goods to Support Purchases

By Stella Qiu, Hallie Gu, Dominique Patton, Tom Daly, Min Zhang, Yawen Chen and Lusha Zhang; Reuters  •    •  Posted February 18, 2020

China will grant exemptions on retaliatory duties imposed against 696 U.S. goods, the most substantial tariff relief to be offered so far, as Beijing seeks to fulfill commitments made in its interim trade deal with the United States. Tuesday’s announcement comes after the Phase 1 trade deal between the two countries took effect on Feb. 14 and is the third round of tariff exemptions China has offered on U.S. goods.Other products subject to exemption on additional tariffs imposed include denatured ethanol and wheat, corn and sorghum. Some medical devices and metals including copper ore and concentrates, copper scrap and aluminum scrap are also subject to exemption. [ read more … ]

SREs

EPA consulting White House over biofuel waiver program: source

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted February 17, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking White House guidance on the future of its controversial biofuel waiver program after a court ruling cast doubt over its legitimacy, and aims to announce a decision by early next month, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday. In late January the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit said the EPA must reconsider some waivers it gave oil refineries exempting them from the nation’s biofuel blending laws. The ruling here has prompted speculation that the EPA will need to reconsider dozens of other waivers it has granted under similar circumstances, and drastically reduce the numbers of waivers handed out in the future. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Major ethanol company undergoes huge transformation

By Jerry Perkins, Successful Farming  •    •  Posted February 17, 2020

Green Plains, Inc., one of the largest ethanol producers in the U.S., is rolling out a new, high-protein animal and fish feed product. Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer for Green Plains, told Successful Farming magazine on Wednesday that the move into the high-protein animal feed market is part of an effort to move the company toward a more predictable cash-flow pattern and away from the volatile ups and downs of the ethanol market [ read more … ]

Gasoline car bans: EV savior or ‘stupid’ idea?

By David Ferris, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted February 17, 2020

The Washington state Legislature this week considered a proposal that would make a motorhead choke on his energy drink: refusing to register any new car that runs on gasoline, within a decade from now. The bill failed to advance, but the idea behind it has more momentum than it might seem. Outright bans of gas-powered cars have been proposed not just in Washington and California, but in some form by most Democratic presidential hopefuls as integral to their strategies on climate change. Thirteen countries are in various stages of making it law, including Canada, France and the United Kingdom. [ read more … ]

US ethanol industry generated $43 billion in 2019, despite policy challenges

By Biofuels International  •    •  Posted February 17, 2020

A new study has found that policy challenges dampened the US ethanol industry’s economic contributions in 2019, with the biggest impacts from ongoing trade disputes and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) granting of small refinery exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard. However, in spite of these challenges, the ethanol industry supported almost 350,000 jobs and generated almost $43 billion (€39.6 billion) in gross domestic product last year, according to the analysis carried out by ABF Economics on behalf of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).
[ read more … ]

Commentary

Commentary: New York must adopt technology-neutral fuel standard

By Tristan R. Brown, Times Union  •    •  Posted February 17, 2020

The state’s transportation sector, which currently is responsible for 46 percent of its total energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, must undergo rapid and comprehensive decarbonization on an unprecedented scale. If New York is to successfully reach this target, then it is imperative that we adopt a technology-neutral Low Carbon Fuel Standard. California has implemented its own requirement that low carbon fuels be consumed in place of petroleum fuels. In 2009 California predicted that electric vehicles and cellulosic biofuels would be the primary sources of emission reductions. Unlike the federal law, though, California’s law is technology-neutral and enables the market to determine which qualifying fuels participate. California’s assumed electric vehicle and cellulosic biofuels volumes have fallen short of its earlier expectations, yet the state’s law has been successful due to the unexpected contributions of other low carbon fuels such as biodiesel, renewable diesel, and renewable natural gas.
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Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.