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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE May 18, 2020

Top Story

‘The worst may be behind us’: U.S. ethanol industry says inching back from collapse

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

The U.S. ethanol industry is showing some signs of recovery as government officials ease stay-at-home orders that depressed fuel demand, while a vote Friday in Congress could bring the industry one step closer to federal aid, industry officials said. Fuel demand collapsed by about a third with the spread of the novel coronavirus this spring, and U.S. ethanol production capacity halved as around 150 facilities either idled or reduced rates. Now as restrictions ease and gasoline demand inches higher, about 140 facilities are idled or running at reduced rates. [ read more … ]

Pandemic/Emissions

In the Shadows of America’s Smokestacks, Virus Is One More Deadly Risk

By Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

Nationwide, low-income communities of color are exposed to significantly higher levels of pollution, studies have found, and also see higher levels of lung disease and other ailments. Now, scientists are racing to understand if long-term exposure to air pollution plays a role in the coronavirus crisis, particularly since minorities are disproportionately dying. [ read more … ]

How our brains make it hard to solve climate change

By Chris Mooney, Washington Post  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our databanks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” [ read more … ]

Relief

House Passes Biofuels Relief Measures, AGs Want RFS Waiver

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

Biofuels producers would receive direct relief payments as part of legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives late on Friday. If the Senate takes up the measure and a final law is signed by President Donald Trump, biofuels producers could receive 45 cents per gallon for fuels produced between Jan. 1 and May 1, 2020, as outlined in the COVID-19 relief bill passed on Friday. [ read more … ]

Biofuels producers say Trump could do more to help

By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

Biofuels producers say they expect a bipartisan push in the Senate to provide similar relief in whatever legislation senators draw up. That’s despite Senate Republicans largely dismissing House Democrats’ bill as a “liberal wish list” and dead on arrival. Even the relief offered in House Democrats’ bill isn’t enough to bring ethanol production roaring back, though, the industry says. [ read more … ]

‘Stealth Bailout’ Shovels Millions of Dollars to Oil Companies

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

As it headed toward bankruptcy, Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. took advantage of a little-noticed provision in the stimulus bill Congress passed in March to get a $9.7 million tax refund. Then, it asked a bankruptcy judge to authorize the same amount as bonuses to nine executives. The rig operator is one of dozens of oil companies and contractors now claiming hundreds of millions of dollars in tax rebates. They are employing a provision of the $2.2 trillion stimulus law, called the CARES act, that gives them more latitude to deduct recent losses. [ read more … ]

Regulatory Barriers

Brief Filed in Case Over EPA Limits on Higher Blends

By Cindy Zimmerman, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

An alliance of ethanol, agriculture and clean fuel organizations led by the Urban Air Initiative is challenging the EPA over regulatory barriers to higher blends of ethanol they say are illegal. An opening brief in the case was filed this week in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and oral arguments are expected this fall. Specifically, the brief argues that EPA’s interpretation of the “substantially similar” provision of the Clean Air Act is obsolete and that EPA’s ruling last year permitting year-round sales of E15 should include the sale of fuel blends containing more than 15% ethanol, consistent with prior guidance allowing retailers to sell E20 and E30 under the Clean Air Act. [ read more … ]

Sanitzer

Sanitizer Confusion Gives Ethanol Makers New Governmental Target

By Michael Hirtzer, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

U.S. ethanol makers have in the past targeted much of the ire at the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, another U.S agency is in the beleaguered sector’s cross hairs. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is giving conflicting guidance on how to produce and package hand sanitizer, according to Geoff Cooper, president and chief executive officer of trade group Renewable Fuels Association. That’s key at a time when ethanol makers have shifted from producing alcohol for fuel to making it for hand sanitizer. [ read more … ]

RFA Seeks Sanitizer Clean Slate

By  Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor  •    •  Posted May 17, 2020

When it comes to attempting to help with a federal emergency, the old adage of “No good deed shall go unpunished” sometimes comes to mind. Take the plight of ethanol producers. An industry that produces billions of gallons of alcohol saw its fuel market crash with the country shutdown from the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, at least some ethanol producers stepped in to start selling alcohol for hand sanitizer or started making sanitizer themselves. Then, the Food and Drug Administration concluded possible questions about purity levels outweighed the national health-care crisis and need for greater sanitary conditions. [ read more … ]

 

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