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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE April 16, 2020

Top Story

States ask EPA for nationwide biofuel waiver to help oil refiners weather coronavirus

By Laura Sanicola, Reuters  •    •  Posted April 16, 2020

The governors of five U.S. states have asked the Trump administration for a nationwide waiver exempting the oil-refining industry from the nation’s biofuel laws to help it survive a demand meltdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak, according to letters seen by Reuters. The request places Republican President Donald Trump, who is seeking re-election in November, in a tough spot between the oil and agriculture industries, two important constituencies. They are being particularly hard-hit by the global pandemic as it decimates energy consumption, breaks transport supply chains and makes labor harder to come by. [ read more … ]

Five States Ask EPA for Waiver From Renewable Fuel Standard, Citing COVID-19

By Todd Neeley, Reporter DTN  •    •  Posted April 16, 2020

The governors of five states have asked the EPA to waive Renewable Fuels Standard volume obligations citing the current COVID-19 national emergency, in a letter sent to the agency on Wednesday. Governors Greg Abbott of Texas; Gary Herbert, Utah; Oklahoma’s Kevin Stitt; Mark Gordon of Wyoming; and Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards, said refiners in their states face financial burden as a result of oil-market disruptions caused by economic shutdowns around the world. [ read more … ]

Emissions

Trump officials reject stricter air quality standards, despite link between air pollution, coronavirus risks

By Dino Grandoni, Brady Dennis and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post  •    •  Posted April 15, 2020

The Trump administration opted Tuesday not to set stricter national air quality standards, despite a growing body of scientific evidence linking air pollution to lethal outcomes from respiratory diseases such as covid-19. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced Tuesday that the agency would maintain the current standards for fine particulate matter, otherwise known as soot, the country’s most widespread deadly pollutant. [ read more … ]

Markets

GRAINS-Corn futures set 3-1/2 year low as ethanol output tumbles

By Tom Polansek, Reuters  •    •  Posted April 16, 2020

U.S. corn futures dropped to their lowest level in about 3-1/2 years on Wednesday as weekly ethanol output set a record low, reflecting weak demand for the crop during the coronavirus outbreak. Soybean and wheat futures also fell at the Chicago Board of Trade. [ read more … ]

Coronavirus hammers ethanol industry after ‘terrible year’ in 2019

By Rapid City Journal  •    •  Posted April 15, 2020

The ethanol industry 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. About 30 of the roughly 200 ethanol plants in the U.S. have shut down, and another 80 have reduced production by 50% or more.
[ read more … ]

More Wisconsin farmers filing for bankruptcy

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted April 15, 2020

The economic effects of the coronavirus appear to be pushing more Wisconsin farmers into bankruptcy. Court records show that 36 farmers have filed by Chapter 12 bankruptcy since the first of the year. In 2019, there were 57 similar filings for the entire year, the Journal Sentinel reported. [ read more … ]

Ethanol production plummets as people drive less during pandemic

By UPI  •    •  Posted April 15, 2020

Ethanol plants across the country are shutting down due to greatly reduced demand for gasoline as Americans stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus. At least 44 of the nation’s 187 plants stopped production last week as prices hit record lows, said Josh Roe, the vice president of market development and policy at the Kansas Corn Growers Association. Another 62 had scaled back production by at least 50 percent. [ read more … ]

Relief

Everyone’s Writing Letters to Sonny Perdue

By Chris Clayton, senior editor DTN  •    •  Posted April 15, 2020

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is incredibly popular at the moment. He’s getting letters from all over the country, probably a lot of phone calls as well. Perdue and USDA’s leadership in the Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) group, also are in an increasingly challenging position trying to split up a pot of money that adds up to about $15.5 billion at the moment, with another $14 billion waiting at the end of June. [ read more … ]

Iowa Senators want U.S.D.A. aid for ethanol producers

By Matt Kelley, Radio Iowa  •    •  Posted April 15, 2020

Iowa ethanol producers are struggling as fuel demand is dropping with so many Americans staying home during the pandemic. Both of Iowa’s U.S. senators are calling on the U.S.D.A. to provide aid for ethanol producers before more plants shut down. Senator Chuck Grassley says the $2.2 trillion CARES Act that passed Congress nearly three weeks ago was designed to keep all sorts of businesses afloat. [ read more … ]

Commentary

Harvard Study Bolsters Ethanol’s Role in Protecting Public Health, Saving Lives

By Ernie Shea, Solutions from the Land  •    •  Posted April 15, 2020

The novel coronavirus – COVID-19 – has brought with it many life-impacting questions. What are its origins? What is its pathology? When and where can one test for it? How long will this outbreak remain a threat? Is a vaccine going to be widely available soon? Another question that researchers at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health have taken on is: What are the ties between COVID-19 and areas that have demonstrated a high degree of air pollution? [ read more … ]

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