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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE March 18, 2020

Top Story

RFA Asks for Aid as Grassley Says Biofuels Industry Very Nervous

By Jerry Hagstrom, Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

The Renewable Fuels Association said Monday that the government should help the “liquid fuel industries” — including ethanol producers — while Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he found biofuels leaders “very nervous” when he met with them last week. On a call to rural reporters, Grassley said he did not think there was much sentiment in Congress to help “Big Oil,” but that if there were any assistance, it should include ethanol. [ read more … ]

Coronavirus

Locked down in Beijing, I watched China beat back the coronavirus

By Gerry Shih, Washington Post  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

The grocery stores were brimming with shoppers and produce. Around the corner, a line was forming outside a stall selling pillowy white steamed buns. The gray, brick-lined alleys of this old imperial capital, deserted several weeks ago, were congested again by newly licensed drivers struggling to park their outsize Audis. I knew then: Beijing was slowly, unmistakably, returning to normal. [ read more … ]

Cattle and biofuels clamor for aid, as Schumer proposes broader plan

By Chuck Abbott, The Fern  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue should tap “USDA’s bank,” a Depression-era agency with easy access to billions of dollars, to bail out cattle ranchers hit by sharp declines in beef prices as Covid-19 mounts, said ranch activists on Monday. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer also suggested a $750 billion federal infusion to follow the “families first” relief bill passed by the House, which would suspend SNAP work and job training requirements for the duration of the public health emergency. [ read more … ]

COVID-19 lowers corn demand, ethanol price

By Lisa Gibson , Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

A report from University of Illinois Extension shows weak demand for corn for ethanol use, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Production will fall dramatically, it predicts. “Estimates of a 15 to 20 percent reduction in gasoline use seem to be the expectation for many industry analysts over the next couple of months,” the University of Illinois report says. “While weekly estimates of ethanol production continue to show more than a million barrels a day through March 6, the prospect of reduced ethanol production looks certain. [ read more … ]

Market

Oil’s Plunge Is an Existential Threat to a Far Cleaner Biofuel

By Fabiana Batista and Tatiana Freitas, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

It withstood a downward currency spiral, economic malaise, a jump in raw-material costs and political upheaval. Now one of Brazil’s booming industries has finally met the foe that could take it down: the oil crash. The spectacular plunge in the crude market is sparking unprecedented reverberations across commodities and economies, with Brazil’s corn-ethanol producers standing out as a concentration of the pain. [ read more … ]

Distilleries Are the Newest Players in the Hand Sanitizer Game

By Kate Krader, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

Some unexpected sources already have stepped up to fill the shortage of hand sanitizer. In France the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH is now using its perfume factories to make the product for hospitals. In the U.S. the Food and Drug Administration is now encouraging pharmacists to make their own. Earlier in March, Tito’s warned the public not to use its vodka for homemade versions because it didn’t meet the 60% alcohol requirement. But that hasn’t stopped small-batch distilleries in the U.S. and the U.K. from doing their part to pitch in on the effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. They are uniquely equipped to make hand sanitizer because the most effective germ-fighting ones are generally made with a base of 60%-plus alcohol, a product that distilleries have in abundance. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Trump’s Energy Dominance Dream Submits to Reality

By Liam Denning, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

One of the more notable ideas to float up last week — or, as I like to call it, my year indoors — was a federal bailout of some sort for U.S. oil and gas producers. Harold Hamm, founder of Continental Resources Inc. and sometime energy adviser to the president, called on the Trump Administration to help domestic frackers fight off low-priced barrels flooding in from Russia and Saudi Arabia even as coronavirus slams demand. [ read more … ]

Commentary

The United States is still too reliant on oil

By Varsha Koduvayur for CNN Business Perspectives  •    •  Posted March 17, 2020

Oil prices have been cratering in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s decision to ramp up production and offer customers a discount for its crude. A decade ago, that would have been welcome news for the United States. But now, as the US oil industry grows — transforming the United States into one of the top exporters — the crash in prices threatens to cause as much pain as relief. This underscores an important dynamic: The United States continues to remain too reliant on oil. [ read more … ]

 

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