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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE July 1, 2020

Top Story

Covid-19 Fears Spur More Cars on Roads, Threatening Air Quality

By Bloomberg Law  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

Officials across the nation are worried that as the coronavirus pandemic persists, commuters will avoid taking buses and trains, and opt for their cars, potentially leading to dangerous new levels of air pollution. More cars on the roads in congested urban centers like New York City—the virus epicenter in the spring—Washington, San Francisco, and Philadelphia means more emissions of smog-forming pollutants and poorer air quality. That could cause some cities to miss federal standards for ground-level ozone, which in turn could mean losing federal highway dollars at a time of already declining local revenues. [ read more … ]

Retroactive SRE Applications

Governors Ask EPA to Reject Retroactive Refinery Exemptions

By CINDY ZIMMERMAN, Agwired  •    •  Posted July 1, 2020

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz sent a letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler this week asking that he reject 52 applications for retroactive small refinery exemptions (SREs) from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years. Governor Noem and Governor Walz are the chair and vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, former Coalition chairs, also joined the letter. [ read more … ]

Governors’ Biofuels Coalition urges EPA to drop “gap year” RFS waivers

By Mark Dorenkamp, Brownfield News  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

The Governors’ Biofuels Coalition is urging the EPA to drop the 52 retroactive “gap-year” RFS waivers recently requested by oil refiners. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, who serves as chair of the Coalition, says the exemptions are an attempt to circumvent a Tenth Circuit Court ruling earlier this year that found EPA overstepped its authority in granting a handful of small refinery exemptions. [ read more … ]

House Climate Bill

House Democrats unveil ambitious climate package, steering toward a net-zero economy by 2050

By Steven Mufson and Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

The nation’s automakers would manufacture only electric cars. Utilities would have to stop producing pollution linked to climate change. And the federal government would double its investment in mass transit. All this and more is being proposed by House Democrats on Tuesday under a plan aimed at bringing the U.S. economy’s greenhouse gas emissions — including carbon dioxide and methane — to zero by 2050. [ read more … ]

Democrats Detail a Climate Agenda Tying Environment to Racial Justice

By Christopher Flavelle, New York Times  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

Democrats in Congress are expected to make public on Tuesday a broad list of proposals on climate change, laying out in detail what could become the starting point for their climate agenda if the party regains control of Congress and the White House next year. The 538-page report sets a range of targets including ensuring that every new car sold by 2035 emits no greenhouse gases, eliminating overall emissions from the power sector by 2040, and all but eliminating the country’s total emissions by 2050. [ read more … ]

RFA Welcomes Inclusion of Low Carbon Fuel Standard in Select Committee Recommendations

  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

Today, Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled a comprehensive action plan to promote a clean energy economy and combat climate change. The report, which lays out a series of policy recommendations for Congress aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the decades ahead, highlights renewable fuels like ethanol as one key piece of the strategy. Among the report’s many recommendations are development of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), broad deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and incentivizing increased agricultural carbon sequestration. [ read more … ]

RFS

Ethanol Producers Nervously Wait For Two Critical EPA Decisions On The Biofuels Mandate

By Tristan R. Brown, Seeking Alpha  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

Ethanol investors are waiting on two important decisions from the EPA on the volumes of biofuels that it will require to be blended with refined fuels in 2021. The EPA’s decisions had appeared clear-cut as recently as March after the Trump administration opted not to appeal a federal court ruling that it had unlawfully weakened the mandate. Refiners recently requested for past volumes to be retroactively reduced, however, potentially having a negative effect on the 2021 volumes in response. The ethanol sector’s outlook will be dependent on the EPA’s upcoming decisions on both the mandate’s 2021 biofuels volumes and the retroactive reduction request. [ read more … ]

Markets

Farmers Dial Back Crop Plantings as COVID Uncertainty Rocks Markets-USDA

By Mark Weinraub, Reuters  •    •  Posted July 1, 2020

U.S. farmers planted nearly 5 million fewer acres of corn this spring than estimated by the U.S. government in March, the biggest cut in 37 years, as the coronavirus pandemic roils demand for the crop.The drop in corn seedings, as well as an 11.1% cut in cotton plantings, accounted for the bulk of the U.S. Agriculture Department’s 7.2 million-acre reduction to its estimate of the amount of major crops seeded this spring. [ read more … ]

Coronavirus Sends Oil Prices on Wild, Six-Month Ride

By Amrith Ramkumar, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

The coronavirus transformed global oil markets in the first half of 2020, sending prices on a wild ride and spurring historic changes to energy supply chains and products used to invest in crude. Oil started the year trading above $60 a barrel. The pandemic and ensuing global economic shutdown slammed U.S. crude; it fell below $0 for the first time ever in late April. Within weeks, though, prices had recovered. They now trade around $40 on the final day of the quarter.
[ read more … ]

Shell Takes $22 Billion Write-Down, Expecting Lower Oil and Gas Prices

By Sarah McFarlane, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is writing down the value of its assets by up to $22 billion because of lower energy prices caused by the demand-sapping coronavirus pandemic. The write-down follows one by BP PLC on a similar scale earlier this month. Lower oil and gas prices brought on by the pandemic and uncertainty over the pace of the transition to lower carbon energy have caused major oil companies to question the value of their reserves. [ read more … ]

SAFE Rule

Ethanol Producers, Groups Want Biofuels to Play Role in Fuel Efficiency

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted July 1, 2020

A number of agriculture and biofuels groups have sued the Trump administration for virtually leaving higher ethanol-blended fuels out of the picture in the Safer Affordable Fuel Efficiency Vehicle Rule, or SAFER, finalized on April 30. On Monday, National Farmers Union, the Governors Biofuel Coalition, the Clean Fuels Development Coalition, the Environment and Energy Study Institute, several NFU state and regional divisions, ethanol producers Glacial Lakes Energy and Siouxland Ethanol, along with the Urban Air Initiative filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. [ read more … ]

Farming, Biofuels, and Public Health Groups Challenge EPA on SAFE Rule

By Hannah Packman, National Farmers Union  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

A broad coalition of ethanol, agriculture, and public interest groups today challenged the Trump administration’s recent fuel efficiency rulemaking, on that grounds that it downplays the harm from reduced emission standards, ignores the efficiency and health benefits of higher ethanol blends, and fails to realize the promise of increased octane in gasoline. [ read more … ]

2020 Campaign

Joni Ernst, Theresa Greenfield jockey for position as ethanol champions as election heats up

By Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted July 1, 2020

Iowa’s U.S. Senate candidates are jockeying for roles as champions of the state’s ethanol industry, which leads the nation but faces renewed threats from within the federal government.
Both Republican U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield have taken issue with waivers the Environmental Protection Agency granted to small oil refineries exempting them from using renewable fuels, arguing they undercut the demand for ethanol. [ read more … ]

EPA consideration of oil refinery waivers key topic in Ernst-Greenfield race

By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa  •    •  Posted June 30, 2020

Republican Senator Joni Ernst and Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield are both criticizing the EPA administrator’s handling of federal ethanol policy — and each questions the other’s commitment to promoting the corn-based fuel. Greenfield said Ernst never should have voted to confirm a lobbyist from the fossil fuels industry to lead the agency. “I am calling for the EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler to step down immediately,” Greenfield said, “and I am calling for Senator Ernst to ask him to do the same and to put Iowa first.” [ read more … ]

 

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