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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE March 17, 2020

Top Story

Demand Meltdown Crushes Fuel Prices, Drags Crude to 4-Year Low

By Alex Longley , Jack Wittels , and Jacqueline Davalos  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

Gasoline may soon cost less than the crude it’s made from as plunging fuel demand batters the oil market. The U.S. benchmark crude tumbled to a four-year low Monday while gasoline futures in New York plummeted as much as 25% to the weakest level since 2005. The meltdown extended to jet fuel and diesel as the coronavirus outbreak restricts people’s movement globally and shuts down swathes of the world’s economy. Oil-refiners’ margins had been cushioned by nosediving crude costs, but that will be almost impossible to sustain if end-user demand keeps collapsing. [ read more … ]

U.S. Could Start Buying Crude for Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Two Weeks

By Timothy Gardner; Reuters  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

The United States could begin purchasing U.S. produced crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as soon as two weeks from now, and fill it in several months, an Energy Department source said on Monday. President Donald Trump said late on Friday that he has ordered the Energy Department to fill the reserve “to the top.” The move was aimed at helping domestic energy producers suffering from the plunge in oil prices brought about by the spread of coronavirus and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
[ read more … ]

Trump orders Energy Department to ‘fill up’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve with cheap oil

By Abby Smith, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

“We’re going to fill it right up to the top, saving the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry and making us even further toward that wonderful goal, which we achieved, which nobody thought was possible, of energy independence,” Trump said during remarks Friday in the Rose Garden outlining the White House’s response to the coronavirus. Trump also declared the coronavirus a national emergency. [ read more … ]

‘We’re going to have layoffs.’ Oil industry braces for pain

By Mike Lee, Carlos Anchondo and Lesley Clark, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

The White House promised to bolster oil prices by filling up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates yesterday to nearly zero, but the oil industry is still bracing for a long downturn as the coronavirus pandemic raises the risk of a recession. President Trump made the SPR announcement at a White House news conference Friday as part of a broader plan that included a national state of emergency and as much as $50 billion in relief funds. [ read more … ]

SREs

Just when he thought he was out

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

 The president is once again caught in the middle of a spat between oil refiners and ethanol producers centered around small refinery exemptions under the RFS. The White House is trying to set up a meeting with Trump, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, and potentially other senior officials this week to decide whether EPA should appeal a 10th Circuit Court of Appeals decisionfrom January that curtailed its issuance of SREs to gasoline makers, according to three people in the oil refining and biofuel industries.  [ read more … ]

Coronavirus

3rd stimulus may put energy industry aid in play

By Geof Koss, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

A stimulus could also open the door for more talks on infrastructure, including the Senate’s five-year, $287 billion transportation bill. Senate Republicans are struggling to pay for about $100 billion of the measure, after deciding to jettison a proposal that would have had large trucks pay a fee per mile traveled. [ read more … ]

Italy’s coronavirus lockdown is lowering air pollution

By Laura Millan Lombrana, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

The impact of Italy’s nationwide quarantine that began last week can already be measured in lower air pollution levels and falling nitrogen dioxide emissions, with the decline particularly evident in the northern region that entered lockdown ahead of the rest of the country. The drop in pollution has been detected by the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, and researchers concluded that it was primarily the result of efforts to contain the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus. “We are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities,” said Claus Zehner, the satellite’s mission manager at the European Space Agency, in a statement. [ read more … ]

Supreme and D.C. Circuit Court Arguments delayed, buildings closed to public amid pandemic

By Pamela King, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

The Supreme Court today announced plans to delay oral arguments through April 1 out of concern about the novel coronavirus. Today’s move follows an announcement last week that the court would close its doors to the public indefinitely. It comes amid a flurry of closures, delays and other restrictions at lower courts across the country, with numerous impacts to energy and environment-related cases. [ read more … ]

2020

Republicans weaponize Biden comments on fracking

By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted March 16, 2020

Under pressure from opponent Bernie Sanders during a debate, Biden said yesterday that under his presidency, there would be “no new fracking” and “no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period”. Biden’s campaign staff later walked back the remarks, saying the former vice president was referring only to his previously stated position that he would ban all new fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and offshore. Sanders, by contrast, has promised to ban fracking everywhere. Immediately after Biden’s statements, Republicans and the oil industry began to highlight them, saying the former vice president’s positions threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs and would put the economy at risk, among other impacts. [ read more … ]

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