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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE June 5, 2020

Top Story

Trump, Citing Pandemic, Moves to Weaken Two Key Environmental Protections

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman. New York Times  •    •  Posted June 5, 2020

The Trump administration, in twin actions to curb environmental regulations, moved on Thursday to temporarily speed the construction of energy projects and to permanently weaken federal authority to issue stringent clean air and climate change rules. President Trump signed an executive order that calls on agencies to waive required environmental reviews of infrastructure projects to be built during the pandemic-driven economic crisis. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a new rule that changes the way the agency uses cost-benefit analyses to enact Clean Air Act regulations, effectively limiting the strength of future air pollution controls. [ read more … ]

Production

US ethanol production up 6%, weekly ending stocks fall by 3%

By Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

The week ending May 29 marks the fifth consecutive week of growth following sharp declines that began in late March and persisted throughout April due to market impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Production was down 279,000 barrels per day when compared to the same week of 2019, and down 314,000 barrels per day when compared to the final week of February 2020, before COVID-19 began to impact U.S. fuel markets. [ read more … ]

Ethanol production continues to climb

By John Perkins, Brownfields  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

Ethanol production moved higher last week, the fifth week in a row with an increase. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says production averaged 765,000 barrels a day, up 41,000 on the week for the highest average since March because of blending demand rising slowly as COVID-19 related restrictions relax, but that is still 279,000 barrels below a year ago.
[ read more … ]

Sanitizer

FDA releases hand sanitizer guidance for ethanol plants; RFA dissatisfied

By Hagstrom Report  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

The Food and Drug Administration today updated its guidance on the production of alcohol for hand sanitizers by ethanol plants, but the Renewable Fuels Association said the limits for impurities are “overly restrictive” and will not reduce the shortage of hand sanitizer. “Based on careful review and consideration of available data, we are specifying interim levels of certain impurities that we have determined can be tolerated for a relatively short period of time, given the emphasis on hand hygiene during the COVID-19 public health emergency and to avoid exacerbating access issues for alcohol-based hand sanitizer,” FDA said. [ read more … ]

RFA CEO Calls FDA’s Clarity On Sanitizer Guidance “Overly Restrictive”

By Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

The leader of the Renewable Fuels Association doesn’t believe the FDA’s new guidance on the production of ethanol for hand sanitizer in the U.S. will help alleviate the sanitizer shortage in a meaningful way. RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper released a printed statement Tuesday in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Monday night announcement on revised hand sanitizer production guidance. Cooper says, “We welcome the specificity in the new guidance, but the new interim limits for certain impurities are overly restrictive and create a roadblock for producers who could otherwise supply huge volumes of safe, clean, high-quality ethyl alcohol to hand sanitizer manufacturers. [ read more … ]

EPA’S ‘anti-backsliding’ study

UAI: EPA keeping ethanol from its true lower carbon value

By Steve Vander Griend, Urban Air Initiative  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

How, can EPA penalize ethanol blends in light of this data? The answer lies in the archaic testing protocols it uses that are based on certification fuels that do not contain 10% ethanol. Through a complex calculation of the fuel’s carbon content, volumetric efficiency, and actual mileage, somehow they are able to claims there needs to be an increase in carbon emissions. If this were to be the benchmark for ethanol, automakers will be penalized in their carbon emission ratings when using the standard E10 certification fuel. And, it would be a major disincentive for them to ever go to higher blends. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Two GOP senators join with Democrats to back bill to help cut emissions from farms

By Dino Grandoni with Paulina Firozi, Washington Post  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

A bipartisan group of senators is trying to make it easier for farmers and forest managers to make money from reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their land. A new legislative proposal tackling the impact U.S. agriculture is having on rising global temperature is the latest effort from some GOP lawmakers to turn over a new, green leaf on global warming.
[ read more … ]

ND Industrial Commission awards grant for carbon capture research at ethanol plants

By Bismark Triubune  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has issued a $500,000 grant to the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of North Dakota to continue research into carbon capture and storage at ethanol plants. The research will use Red Trail Energy as a case study. The ethanol plant near Richardton has spent several years developing a system to capture its carbon emissions and inject them underground for permanent storage with the help of EERC and others. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and a contributor to climate change. [ read more … ]

Dead zone prediction: Larger than average; not near record

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted June 4, 2020

High rivers and high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus from farm and urban runoff mean a larger than average oxygen-starved “dead zone” is likely this year in the Gulf of Mexico, researchers said Wednesday. But the predicted area for an area with too little oxygen for marine life is nowhere near a record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a news release. [ read more … ]

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