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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE April 8, 2020

Top Story

New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates. In an analysis of 3,080 counties in the United States, researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that higher levels of the tiny, dangerous particles in air known as PM 2.5 were associated with higher death rates from the disease.
[ read more … ]


POET Idles Three Plants, Delays Startup

By  Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted April 8, 2020

POET Inc. is idling ethanol plants in South Dakota and Iowa and delaying startup of a new plant in Indiana. The company is one of many trying to navigate the fallout of an oversupplied ethanol market from the COVID-19 pandemic. The company announced on Tuesday it will idle plants in Ashton and Coon Rapids, Iowa, and in Chancellor, South Dakota. In addition, POET said in a news release it will delay startup at a plant in Shelbyville, Indiana. [ read more … ]

S.D. ethanol industry and corn producers facing economic ‘bloodbath’ due to COVID-19

By Todd Epp, KELO  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic lowers the global demand for ethanol-infused gasoline, South Dakota ethanol producers and the farmers who provide them with corn are facing a financial crisis. The market upheaval has jeopardized the jobs of hundreds of well-paid ethanol plant workers in South Dakota and beyond but has also hurt the financial fortunes of tens of thousands of farmers who provide the corn that is the basis for the biofuel. [ read more … ]

COVID causing ‘bloodbath’ for ethanol and corn

By Capitol Journal  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

The ethanol industry in South Dakota and across the Midwest is in an economic free-fall due to decreased global demand for ethanol-infused gasoline during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fear of spreading the deadly virus has led governments around the world to cancel gatherings and urge or require people to stay home, and many individuals are self-isolating to stay safe, significantly reducing the global demand for gasoline.
[ read more … ]

The Swiss Had a Pandemic Stockpile of Alcohol. They Got Rid of It in 2018

By Andy Hoffman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, Switzerland’s penchant for preparing for emergencies has won it praise. During the Cold War, the Swiss government required family homes to have a bunker and instructed citizens to stockpile food. Even today, residents are counseled on what supplies they should have on hand to ride out a crisis at home.
[ read more … ]


Side effects: Fuel demand crash shuts U.S. ethanol plants, meatpackers lack refrigerant

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

A slew of U.S. ethanol plants have shut down as fuel demand has collapsed during the coronavirus outbreak, and meatpackers have been hit by a worrying side-effect: less carbon dioxide is now available to chill beef, poultry and pork. “We’re headed for a train wreck in terms of the CO2 market,” said Geoff Cooper, president of the Renewable Fuels Association industry group. The RFA said 29 of the 45 U.S. ethanol plants that sell carbon dioxide, or CO2, have idled or cut rates. The U.S. ethanol sector is the top supplier of commercial carbon dioxide to the food industry, accounting for around 40% of the market, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. [ read more … ]

Texas Gets Double Punch From Coronavirus and Oil Shock. ‘There’s No Avoiding This One.’

By Collin Eaton and Jon Hilsenrath, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

Texas had one of the best economic records of any U.S. state after the 2008 financial crisis. In this crisis, it faces the prospect of a deep and prolonged downturn. The Lone Star State is exposed to many of the pandemic and shutdown’s economic ill consequences, with three cities—Austin, Houston and Dallas—home to an abundance of service-sector jobs, especially at risk. A downturn in the oil industry and other businesses big in Texas, including airlines and ports, will likely amplify its pain. Industry analysts expect the oil downturn to outlast the current viral outbreak. [ read more … ]

Nebraska Innovation Campus New Home for Sanitizer Production

By Jessica Sodeke, Nebraska Ethanol Board  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

In the parking lot of Nebraska Innovation Campus’ (NIC) Food Processing Center (FPC), a white tent houses a temporary hand sanitizer production facility. More than 20 organizations have come together to help meet the escalating needs of our healthcare community. This means hospitals like Nebraska Medicine will get the supplies they need at no cost [ read more … ]


U.S. court rejects refiners’ challenge in EPA biofuel waivers case

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted April 8, 2020

A U.S. federal court on Tuesday rejected a challenge from two oil refining companies to its January ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency had been handing out biofuel waivers inappropriately. In a major blow to the refining industry, the ruling effectively forces the EPA to reduce the number of waivers it can grant to refiners exempting them from their obligations under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard. [ read more … ]

Court Rejects SRE Program Rehearing

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted April 8, 2020

Small refiners will not receive a rehearing before the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver on a case alleging EPA improperly granted small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard in 2017 and 2018, the court announced in an order on Tuesday. The ball is now in the EPA’s court to decide how it will apply the original ruling by the 10th Circuit. In the Jan. 24 ruling, a three-judge panel ruled EPA didn’t have the authority to issue exemption extensions to three companies that were not originally granted waivers. It also found EPA “abused its discretion” by not explaining its conclusion that a small refinery could suffer disproportionate economic hardship while also maintaining refiners passed RFS compliance costs on to consumers at the pump. [ read more … ]

Refusal To Shift Biofuel Policy Is Sound, EPA Tells Justices

By Law360  •    •  Posted April 7, 2020

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency told the U. S. Supreme Court on Friday that it was well within its authority to refuse to make fuel blenders comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard’s requirement to put more renewable fuels in the nation’s transportation fuel supply instead of refiners. [ read more … ]

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