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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE March 23, 2020

Top Stories

Coronavirus Hits Already Frail U.S. Farm Economy

By Jacob Bunge, Kirk Maltais and Jesse Newma, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted March 22, 2020

Coronavirus’ spread, combined with last week’s oil-market collapse, is ratcheting up pressure on U.S. ethanol producers, an industry that represents almost half of all U.S. corn consumption. At current prices, market participants fear that ethanol producers may be losing 25 to 45 cents a gallon of ethanol produced, raising the risk that plants slow production or close altogether. “I don’t know that there’s a plant in the industry that’s not in the red today,” said Todd Becker, president and chief executive of ethanol producer Green Plains Inc. [ read more … ]


Fewer Refineries Able to Get Biofuel Waivers Under Trump Plan

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted March 22, 2020

The Trump administration doesn’t plan to challenge a federal court ruling that dramatically curbs its ability to exempt oil refineries from biofuel-blending requirements, according to three people familiar with the matter. Under a decision reached late Friday by top administration officials, the Environmental Protection Agency will now apply that 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling nationwide, so that just a handful of U.S. refineries remain eligible for the valuable exemptions. Also, refiners have asked he Trump administration for emergency relief, including reducing biofuel-blending requirements nationwide. The EPA has authority under the Clean Air Act to pare annual blending requirements if it determines they “would severely harm the economy or environment of a state, a region or the United States.” [ read more … ]

Senators Ask Trump to Halt RFS Waivers Program if Appeal Forthcoming

By Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted March 23, 2020

A bipartisan group of United States senators asked President Donald Trump on Thursday, to not appeal a recent court decision on the small-refinery exemptions program. The lawmakers also asked Trump to require the EPA to not issue 2019 waivers if an appeal is filed, until a rehearing is completed. On March 5, several news outlets reported the Trump administration planned to appeal a federal appeals court decision that delivered a major victory to biofuels producers and farmers who have for years fought the EPA’s expansion of the program. [ read more … ]


Cheap Oil and Empty Roads Are Halting American Biofuel Plants

By Michael Hirtzer, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted March 22, 2020

U.S. ethanol makers are either halting or significantly cutting their production after the rout in oil prices made biofuels uncompetitive against gasoline, and as coronavirus keeps many drivers off the road. With oil prices down, ethanol makers lose about 25 cents per gallon of biofuel, said Scott Richman, chief economist at the Renewable Fuels Association trade group. Ethanol this week fell to a record low of less than $1 per gallon. [ read more … ]

Oil Crash Could Destroy Global Biofuels Market

By Haley Zaremba,  •    •  Posted March 22, 2020

This month’s unprecedented oil crash has sent shockwaves through the entire energy industry and beyond. It’s even gotten to industries that, in theory should be dancing on oil’s grave, but, in reality could be going down with it. Biofuels markets across the world are reeling from the oil crash this week, from Brazil to Malaysia.
[ read more … ]

Tens of Thousands Are Getting Laid Off in U.S. Shale Patch

By David Wethe, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted March 22, 2020

Tens of thousands of Texans are being laid off across the state in places like the Permian Basin shale fields in West Texas as companies shut down drilling rigs, according to Ryan Sitton, a state oil regulator. Announcements are trickling in. Drilling-service company Canary LLC cut 43 workers last week. And oilfield pipemaker Tenaris SA is firing 223 from its Houston-area facility. But the biggest blow so far came from Halliburton Co., the world’s dominant fracking-services provider, which is furloughing 3,500 workers at its Houston headquarters. [ read more … ]

U.S. Considers Intervention in Saudi-Russia Oil Standoff

By Timothy Puko and Rebecca Elliott, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted March 22, 2020

The Trump administration is considering intervening in the Saudi-Russian oil-price war, and Texas regulators are weighing whether to curtail crude production for the first time in decades, as U.S. producers suffer from a historic crash in prices. Administration officials are exploring a diplomatic push to get the Saudis to cut oil production and threats of sanctions on Russia aimed at stabilizing prices, after U.S. oil companies pressed them to intercede, people familiar with the matter said. [ read more … ]


Iowa’s ethanol producers, prisoners, will partner to make hand sanitizer, Reynolds says

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines  •    •  Posted March 22, 2020

Iowa’s ethanol industry will provide prison inmates with alcohol to make hand sanitizer for use in hospitals, prisons and other high-priority facilities threatened by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Friday. Gov. Kim Reynolds pointed to the effort Friday as an example of how Iowa businesses are stepping up to help during the crisis. [ read more … ]

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