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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE August 7, 2020

Top Story

White House, Democrats fail to reach agreement on virus relief bill, and next steps are uncertain

By Erica Werner, Jeff Stein and Paul Kane, Washington Post  •    •  Posted August 7, 2020

White House officials and Democratic leaders ended a three-hour negotiation Thursday evening without a coronavirus relief deal or even a clear path forward, with both sides remaining far apart on critical issues. “We’re still a considerable amount apart,” said White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows after emerging from the meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. President Trump called into the meeting several times, but they were unable to resolve key issues. [ read more … ]

Relief Legislation

Ethanol Awaits Fate on Waivers, Aid

By  Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted August 7, 2020

The ethanol industry continues to wait for a decision from EPA on 86 pending small-refinery exemptions after the U.S. Department of Energy finished a review and sent those requests back to EPA. In addition, like other segments of the agriculture industry, ethanol producers continue to wait for financial help from Congress.
Republicans and Democrats continue to hammer out the final details of a COVID-19 relief package to include agriculture, with a Friday deadline in place to reach an agreement. [ read more … ]

Johnson, industry leaders: Ethanol’s collapse an anchor dragging down corn growers

By Jonathan Ellis, Sioux Falls Argus Leader  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

Congress has wrestled with passing another coronavirus relief bill due to different priorities in the versions from the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate, Johnson said. But both versions contain relief for the ethanol industry. The House version attempts to backfill lost revenue with direct per-gallon payments while the Senate version includes $20 billion to the United States Department of Agriculture to support the agriculture industry, including ethanol producers. Of the two versions, Johnson said he prefers how the House deals with the ethanol industry. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Cash-short U.S. biofuel industry cuts lobbying even as Iowa looms large in election

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted August 7, 2020

A top U.S. biofuel industry trade group said it has cut lobbying spending as the coronavirus pandemic has slammed members eager to press demands with President Donald Trump, who hopes to win the corn-producing state Iowa in November. Reduced clout could complicate the industry’s efforts to secure changes to U.S. biofuel policy that producers say would shore up demand for corn-based ethanol, but which face strong opposition from oil refiners. “This is a critical time,” said one biofuels source, who wished to remain anonymous to speak candidly. “The list of things before us is long and people are hemorrhaging money, so you’ve got to do a lot more with less.” [ read more … ]

Trump’s envoy close to Brazil’s leader — some say too close

By DAVID BILLER and JOSHUA GOODMAN. Associated Press  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

At a time of warming U.S.-Brazil relations, a diplomatic dilemma of sorts has emerged for the American ambassador: how much to embrace a polarizing president. Brazil has long prided itself on keeping a distance from the U.S., with which it competes for influence in South America. Meanwhile, U.S. ambassadors have traditionally kept a low profile. [ read more … ]

RFS

Anniversary Report Details Success of the Renewable Fuel Standard

By Ken Colombini, RFA  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

Commemorating the 15th anniversary of President George W. Bush’s signing of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which created the Renewable Fuel Standard, the Renewable Fuels Association today released a report detailing how the industry has benefited the nation over the past decade and a half. The report also includes historical perspective from RFA Senior Strategic Advisor Bob Dinneen, who led RFA through this important policy change. “We’ve probably all seen the Schoolhouse Rock version of ‘How a Bill Becomes a Law’,” Dinneen writes. [ read more … ]

Climate, Pandemic

Extreme heat fuels storms, fires and floods as virus rages

By Chelsea Harvey, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

As the pandemic rages, the dog days of summer have added an onslaught of extreme weather- and climate-related events to the mix. Wildfires, hurricanes and heat waves across the country are threatening public health, homes and infrastructure at a time when mass evacuations carry the added risk of infection. It’s a reminder that disaster season can compound the effects of other national emergencies — and that climate change is progressively sharpening the threats. [ read more … ]

USDA Report Offers Framework for Understanding Climate Risks to U.S. Agriculture

Ernie Shea, Solutions from the Land  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

The USDA last week issued a new report that focuses on how agricultural systems are impacted by climate change. The report goes on to offer a list of 20 indicators of climate stressors on U.S. agriculture, outlining data that farmers and land managers can use to understand how climate change is affecting their operations. The team of experts authoring the report note that agricultural production is highly sensitive to weather and climate, which affect when farmers and land managers plant seeds or harvest crops. These conditions also factor into decision-making, when people decide to make capital investments or plant trees in an agroforestry system. [ read more … ]

More Farmers Declare Bankruptcy Despite Record Levels of Federal Aid

By Jesse Newman, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

More U.S. farmers are filing for bankruptcy, as federal payments projected to reach record levels this year fall short of compensating for the coronavirus pandemic and a yearslong slump in the agricultural economy. About 580 farmers filed for chapter 12 bankruptcy protection in the 12-month period ended June 30, according to federal data. That was 8% more than a year earlier, though bankruptcies slowed slightly in the first half of 2020 partly because of an infusion of federal aid and hurdles to filing during the pandemic, according to agricultural economists and attorneys. [ read more … ]

Markets

Exxon Says 20% of Oil, Gas Reserves Threatened by Low Prices

By Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

Exxon Mobil Corp. warned that low energy prices may wipe as much as one-fifth of its oil and natural gas reserves off the books. If depressed prices persist for the rest of the year, “certain quantities of crude oil, bitumen and natural gas will not qualify as proved reserves at year-end 2020,” the company said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday. A 20% hit would impact the equivalent of almost 4.5 billion barrels of crude, or enough to supply every refinery on the U.S. Gulf Coast for 18 months. [ read more … ]

Renewable Energy Group Posts Surprise Q2 Profit

By Maxx Chatsko, Motley Fool  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

In late June, Renewable Energy Group approached investors, hat in hand, to walk back previously announced guidance for the second quarter of 2020. Market conditions had deteriorated and, embarrassingly, the company discovered errors in its financial calculations. The business reduced expectations for adjusted EBITDA by $34.5 million at the midpoints. [ read more … ]

EIA: US ethanol production falls 3%, ending stocks up slightly

By Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

U.S. ethanol production fell by nearly 3 percent the week ending July 31, while weekly ending stocks of fuel ethanol increased slightly, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Aug. 5. [ read more … ]

Commentary

Ethanol Leaders Urge Noem, Trump to Open Door to “E30 by 2030”

By Karla Hofhenke, SDFU  •    •  Posted August 6, 2020

In a Rapid City Journal ad, a Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial, and a letter to Governor Kristi Noem, South Dakota ethanol leaders said that a transition to “E30 by 2030 Nationwide” would more than double the corn ethanol’s contribution to the state’s economic activity—to $8 billion per year—while saving urban Americans billions each year in health costs and premature mortalities. [ read more … ]

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