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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE July 30, 2020

Top Story

Coronavirus relief talks hit impasse on Capitol Hill

By Erica Werner,Jeff Stein, Seung Min Kim and Rachael Bade, Washington Post  •    •  Posted July 30, 2020

McConnell held out hope in an evening interview with PBS NewsHour, saying: “This is only Wednesday. So hope springs eternal that we’ll reach some kind of agreement, either on a broad basis or a more narrow basis to avoid having an adverse impact on unemployment.” Earlier Wednesday Trump had called for a quick fix to address the unemployment benefits and eviction moratorium, saying other issues could wait. “The rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care, we really don’t care,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to divisions between the two parties. [ read more … ]

Relief Legislation

Ethanol Producers Wait for Lifeline

By  Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted July 30, 2020

With ethanol producers continuing to struggle and fuel demand sliding during the COVID-19 pandemic, biofuels producers and Midwest lawmakers have been waiting for a lifeline. The EPA has surpassed the deadline by one month to release proposed 2021 renewable volume obligations in the Renewable Fuel Standard, an important market driver for biofuels. And while congressional leaders continue to hammer out details on a new round of COVID-19 stimulus that may include relief for ethanol producers this time, President Donald Trump was in west Texas on Wednesday touting the oil industry on a fundraising stop. [ read more … ]

What’s in the HEALS Act for Agriculture?

By John Newton, Fram Bureau  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

On July 27, Senate Republicans announced the details of their $1 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act, follow-up legislation to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act passed in March (What’s in the CARES Act for Food and Agriculture). In line with the CARES Act, which provided $23.5 billion in funding for agricultural relief efforts, the HEALS Act appropriates $20.457 billion, slightly more than 2% of total spending in the bill, for additional COVID-19 relief for agriculture. Notable additions in terms of commodity support are independent and contract poultry growers and processors of agricultural products – which could be interpreted to include biofuel (ethanol) producers and textile mills, such as domestic users of cotton. [ read more … ]

Climate Change

Exxon bumps Minn. climate lawsuit to federal bench

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

Exxon Mobil Corp. pushed another major climate case to federal court this week, launching a battle over venue with Minnesota’s top lawyer. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) filed a consumer protection lawsuit last month against Exxon, Koch Industries and the American Petroleum Institute alleging that industry interests misled Minnesota residents about the effect of fossil fuel use on global warming [ read more … ]

E15

Ernst slams EPA for inaction on ethanol

By Josh Siegel Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

Iowa Republican Joni Ernst is demanding the EPA quickly initiate a rulemaking to eliminate warning labels for higher blend ethanol, known as E15, which she says Wheeler promised to do a year ago. The warning labels are hindering the sale of E15, she says, which the EPA allowed year-round sale of in May 2019, fulfilling a promise Trump made on the campaign trail to support Iowa farmers. [ read more … ]

Iowa’s Joni Ernst slams EPA for failing to remove warning labels for higher-blend ethanol sales

  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

Sen. Joni Ernst is demanding the Environmental Protection Agency remove barriers to selling higher-blend ethanol, which she says the agency has delayed despite President Trump’s promises to corn farmers in her state. That includes eliminating warning labels on the higher ethanol blend, known as E15, as EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler previously promised to do, Ernst, an Iowa Republican, said in a letter sent Tuesday to Wheeler and first obtained by the Washington Examiner. The EPA in May 2019 allowed year-round sales of E15, fulfilling a promise Trump made on the campaign trail to support Iowa farmers. [ read more … ]

Biogenics

EPA Biomass Carbon Rule Delayed Over Potential Ties To RFS, ACE

By Inside EPA  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

EPA’s long-pending proposal to declare woody biomass carbon neutral for stationary source permits under the Clean Air Act is facing delays, with sources suggesting Trump administration officials are concerned that the plan could create a precedent that might affect the agency’s power plant greenhouse gas rules or its biofuels policies. The extended biomass plan delay comes after EPA scrambled to release a series of major final rules — most prominently a rollback to vehicle GHG limits and a narrow definition of the scope of the Clean Water Act — earlier this year in part to avoid potential Congressional Review Act attacks from Democrats. [ read more … ]

Markets

USDA: Corn use for fuel ethanol at 300 million bushels in May

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

The USDA recently released its Grain Crushings and Co-Products Production report for July, reporting that corn use for ethanol production was at 300 million bushels in May, up from the previous month, but down from May 2019. Total corn consumed for alcohol and other uses was 354 million bushels in May, up 18 percent from April, but down 31 percent from May 2019. May usage included 89.4 percent for alcohol and 10.6 percent for other purposes. [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

Oil and Gas Groups See ‘Some Common Ground’ in Biden Energy Plan

By Clifford Krauss and Ivan Penn, New York Times  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

Joseph R. Biden Jr. won over environmentalists and liberals when he announced a $2 trillion plan to promote electric vehicles, energy efficiency and other policies intended to address climate change. But the plan released on July 14 has also earned a measure of support from an unexpected source: the oil and gas industry that is closely aligned with the Trump administration and is a big source of campaign contributions to the president. [ read more … ]

Big Green: How environmental groups got rich

By Adam Aton, Timothy Cama and Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

With less than 100 days until the elections, green groups are flexing their newfound muscle through super PAC expenditures that far exceed their past spending. A super PAC can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money as long as it doesn’t coordinate with a candidate’s campaign. Major green super PACs have collectively doubled their fundraising and more than doubled their spending in races since Donald Trump won the White House, according to an E&E News analysis of financial records filed with the Federal Election Commission. [ read more … ]

Off Topic

The curse of ‘both-sidesism’: How climate denial skewed media coverage for 30 years

By Joseph Winterson, The Grist  •    •  Posted July 29, 2020

Ever wonder why Americans have been so slow to support climate action? A new study lays some of the blame on media bias —for 30 years, three of the country’s most influential sources of news gave too much credence to arguments that the world shouldn’t take decisive action to mitigate climate change. “Opponents of climate action have been given an outsize opportunity to sway this debate,” said Rachel Wetts, the author of the study. Her results were published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Edward Mailbach, director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communications, called these conclusions unsettling. “Rather than marginalize self-interested voices and give prominence to expert voices, these papers did just the opposite,” he said. [ read more … ]

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