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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE August 5, 2020

Top Story

White House, Democrats agree to try for coronavirus relief deal on evictions, unemployment by week’s end

By Seung Min Kim, Erica Werner, Carol D. Leonnig and Jeff Stein, Washington Post  •    •  Posted August 5, 2020

The White House and Democratic leaders agreed to try to finalize a deal to address lapsed unemployment benefits and eviction restrictions by the end of this week and hold a vote in Congress next week, suddenly trying to rush stalled talks in the face of growing public and political unrest
“We really went down issue by issue by issue, slogging through,” Schumer said. “They made some concessions which we appreciated; we made some concessions which they appreciated. We’re still far away on a lot of the important issues, but we’re continuing.” It was unclear what concessions had been made on either side, and Meadows contended that the concessions made by the administration were “far more substantial” than those the Democrats offered. [ read more … ]

SREs

U.S. Energy Department recommends granting partial retroactive waivers to refiners: sources

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted August 5, 2020

The U.S. Department of Energy has recommended that some of the oil refiners that applied for retroactive exemptions from the nation’s biofuel blending law be granted partial relief, two sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The move could help bring those refining companies into compliance with a court ruling earlier this year that requires waivers granted since 2010 to take the form of an extension – the latest twist in a long-running battle between the refining and biofuel industries over the program. [ read more … ]

Sens. Grassley, Ernst Ask DOE Nominee for Transparency on Biofuels Waivers

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted August 5, 2020

Iowa Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst, both republicans, voted against the nomination of Mark Menezes as deputy secretary of energy, stating in a letter to Menezes on Tuesday that they need to see more transparency on the U.S. Department of Energy’s evaluation of small-refinery exemptions. During a news conference on Tuesday, Grassley said the DOE sent to EPA 58 so-called gap-year requests for exemptions. EPA has 90 days to decide whether to grant them. [ read more … ]

US EPA receives recommendations on retroactive biofuel waivers -senator

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted August 4, 2020

The U.S. Department of Energy has finished reviewing retroactive requests from refiners for exemptions from the nation’s biofuel blending laws and has sent recommendations on how to address those requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, Senator Chuck Grassley said on Tuesday. The EPA now has 90 days to review the recommendations, said Grassley, a senator from Iowa, the top ethanol-producing state. [ read more … ]

Pandemic

Economist: Ethanol industry ‘is in worse shape than we thought’

By PERRY BEEMAN, Iowa Capital Dispatch  •    •  Posted August 4, 2020

The ethanol industry’s losses have been more severe than economists originally predicted, an Iowa State University economist said. And it could be years before fuel demand recovers from losses related to the coronavirus pandemic and other factors that left the U.S. economy in recession, he added. “The ethanol industry is in worse shape than we thought prior to this pandemic,” said David Swenson, speaking to the Iowa Farmers Union. [ read more … ]

Economist predicts revenue for corn farmers will hit 14-year low

By George Bower, KICD, Spencer  •    •  Posted August 4, 2020

An analysis prepared for the National Corn Growers Association concludes American corn farmers will lose $89 an acre in revenue this year — due to the pandemic. “There are some economists predicting that are projecting….the 2021 crop year will be impacted,” said Chris Edgington, who farms near St. Ansgar and is the association’s new vice president.
A prediction from a University of Illinois economist suggests 2020 revenue from U.S. corn sales will dip to a 14-year low. [ read more … ]

Markets

POET to grow production of non-ethanol products at two refineries

By Patrick Anderson, Sioux Falls Argus Leader  •    •  Posted August 4, 2020

A Sioux Falls-based ethanol-maker is exploring other options at two of its refineries as demand for gasoline continues to decrease, according to a Monday announcement from the company.  POET, which in recent years was named the largest biofuel refiner in the world, announced in April that it was scaling back production of ethanol as global demand for fuel products dipped during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  [ read more … ]

Ethanol update: Renewable fuel industry awaits EPA decisions

By Tom Doran, Agrinews  •    •  Posted August 4, 2020

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit’s ruling early this year that struck down three Small Refinery Exemptions improperly issued by the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t deterred companies from filing more requests. Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into their fuel or buy credits from those that do. The EPA can waive those obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Reports that envoy asked Brazil for ethanol favor to help Trump in Iowa draw Democrats’ ire

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted August 4, 2020

U.S. House Democrats say they’re alarmed by reports that the American ambassador to Brazil asked officials there to lower tariffs on ethanol to help President Donald Trump in November’s election in Iowa. The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Friday released a letter that seeks “answers regarding a press report” that Ambassador Todd Chapman “used his position to benefit President Trump’s political campaign.” [ read more … ]

 

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