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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE August 13, 2020

Top Story

Relief talks stumble again as Trump asserts a deal is ‘not going to happen’

By Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, Washington Post  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

A new attempt to restart economic relief negotiations between the White House and Democrats ended just minutes after it began on Wednesday, with President Trump appearing to cast doubt on the whole process by announcing a deal is “not going to happen.” In declaring the whole process over, Trump used a news conference to criticize Democrats’ proposals for funding election preparations and the Postal Service as part of a broader spending measure. Those were among multiple issues that divided the parties during two weeks of negotiations that initially collapsed Friday before a failed attempt to revive them Wednesday. [ read more … ]

SREs

EPA’s Wheeler says he has questions about SRE gap waiver applications

By Larry Lee, Brownfield  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

Wheeler says the applications can be submitted “at any time” and the law requires the applications to go through both agencies. The Administrator says it is unclear when or if those waivers will be approved because it is very complicated, and he has questions. “There are some questions that I personally have, as, how can you prove an economic harm in 2012 if you’re still in existence today? Then we also have to look at what the remedy is because the appropriate remedy would not be to give people current year RINS for something from 2012 or 2013.” [ read more … ]

RFS

Groups fear ‘no consequences’ for delaying biofuel volumes

By Ben Nuelle, AgriPulse  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

Biofuel groups are frustrated election-year politics could be getting in the way of time-sensitive Environmental Protection Agency action on renewable fuel policy that needs to be finalized by the end of the year, and fear voter accountability in farm country will be lost if the agency delays acting before the November election. Over the last three years, EPA has typically released the proposed Renewable Volume Obligations for the Renewable Fuel Standard by early July to give stakeholders time to submit comments before the Nov. 30 deadline, so the agency can finalize those volumes set in the statute that created the RFS. But the 2020 proposal has yet to be published. [ read more … ]

Trade

Brazilian Talk of Higher Tariffs on US Ethanol Sparks Idea of Retaliation

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

With time running out on Brazil’s current ethanol tariff on some U.S. ethanol imports and a pending threat to set a new tariff on all of those imports, the Renewable Fuels Association is asking the U.S. trade representative to impose tariffs on all Brazilian imports. President Donald Trump said during a news conference on Monday his administration is considering a reciprocal tariff against Brazil. [ read more … ]

RFA Supports White House Consideration of Reciprocal Tariffs on Imports of Brazilian Ethanol

By Ken Colombini, RFA  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

The Renewable Fuels Association expressed its support for President Trump’s announcement Monday that his administration is considering reciprocal tariffs on fuel ethanol imports from Brazil. The country’s existing tariff rate quota (TRQ) is set to expire at the end of August, and some Brazilian industry and government officials have suggested that all U.S. ethanol should be subject to a tariff of at least 20 percent beginning in September. In response to a reporter question about Brazil’s tariff on ethanol, President Trump on Monday said, “…as far as Brazil is concerned, if they do tariffs, we have to have an equalization of tariffs. … you may be seeing something on that very soon.” [ read more … ]

Markets

Biggest Corn Sales Since 1996 Can’t Counter Record Yields

By Isis Almeida, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

The biggest corn-export sales in two decades probably won’t be enough to counter record yields expected when the U.S. publishes its closely-watched monthly crop report this week.
That’s because traders will want to see shipments take place before turning bullish on demand, said Terry Reilly, a senior commodity analyst at Futures International. Export sales are running at their highest levels since 1996, but some deals can still be canceled. [ read more … ]

Demand Crash Hit U.S. Refiners With Surging Biofuel Blending Costs

By Charles Kennedy, OPIS  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

U.S. refiners are feeling the pinch not only from the lower fuel demand, but also from the surging costs for complying with the biofuel requirements as refining and blending activity is lower than usual.  Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), oil refiners are required to blend growing amounts of renewable fuels into gasoline and diesel. Refiners that don’t have the infrastructure to blend biofuels must purchase tradeable blending credits known as Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs. [ read more … ]

Gevo looks to acquire two additional plant sites

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

Gevo CEO Patrick Gruber indicated on Aug. 10 that duress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may offer an opportunity for the company to acquire additional ethanol plant sites needed to meet expected demand for its renewable hydrocarbon products.  Gruber opened the call by noting Gevo continues to produce and sell hydrocarbon products from its facility in Texas. Interest in the company’s renewable hydrocarbon products remains strong, he said, noting that the company soon expects to secure some of its biggest contracts ever. [ read more … ]

EIA increases 2020, 2021 ethanol production forecasts

By Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration slightly increased its forecasts for 2020 and 2021 ethanol production in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, which was released Aug. 11. Forecasts for ethanol blending were also revised up. The EIA currently predicts ethanol production will average 910,000 barrels per day this year, up from the 900,000-barrel-per-day prediction made in the agency’s July STEO. The EIA has also increased its forecast for 2021 ethanol production to an average of 1.01 million barrels per day, up from its July prediction of 1 million barrels per day. Production averaged approximately 1.03 million barrels per day in 2019. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

How a 30-Ton Robot Could Help Crops Withstand Climate Change

By Jacob Bunge, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

On a green swatch in the Arizona desert, a 30-ton robot is scrutinizing plants that could help feed impoverished countries and fuel American cars. Biofuel research elsewhere has hit hurdles, particularly efforts that range beyond the most common corn-based ethanol approaches. DuPontCo. in 2018 pulled out of a long-running effort to produce ethanol from corn stalks and leaves, selling its Iowa production plant after profit proved elusive. Poet LLC, another major ethanol producer, in late 2019 paused a similar joint venture with Royal DSM, and laid off some workers. Mr. Mockler says the long term research that can be done with the Scanalyzer will help overcome biofuel development challenges. [ read more … ]

Beer unsold during Australia’s coronavirus lockdown has been turned into renewable energy

By Nectar Gan, CNN  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

When Australia’s coronavirus lockdown forced bars and restaurants to shut down in March, breweries were left with huge inventories of unsold, stale beer. But instead of going to waste, some expired ales and lagers in the state of South Australia have been serving a new purpose: powering a water treatment plant. At the Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant to the west of the state capital Adelaide, millions of liters of unused beer from local breweries have been converted into renewable energy to power its water treatment process in recent months. [ read more … ]

Campaign

Kamala Harris brings record on climate change and environmental justice to Biden ticket

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris to be his running mate, elevating the senator from California who has made climate change a political priority and who will be able to trumpet her state’s role in tackling global warming on the national stage. Harris, who is in her first term, has used her time in Washington to call for reducing pollution in poor and minority communities that often bear the burden of environmental degradation — and to urge that those responsible be held accountable in court [ read more … ]

What choosing Harris says about Biden and climate

By Adam Aton and Scott Waldman, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

In the Senate, Harris was an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal resolution. She swore off fossil fuel donations and recently introduced environmental justice legislation with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). And as California attorney general, she secured some $50 million in settlements from oil companies, defended the Golden State’s climate laws in court and sued the federal government to stop offshore hydraulic fracturing. But Harris has had little chance to leave a lasting impact on U.S. climate policy — a tall order for any junior senator in the chamber’s minority party. Biden, meanwhile, has a legacy that includes implementation of clean energy financing under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a role in tightening vehicle emissions standards, and international diplomacy related to the Paris climate agreement. [ read more … ]

Biofuel debate could decide Senate balance of power

By Timothy Cama, E&E Reporter  •    •  Posted August 12, 2020

One of the year’s most consequential Senate races could hinge on the candidates’ allegiance to the biofuel industry and ability to secure favorable policies for the sector. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) was long thought to be relatively safe in her first reelection battle, where Democratic real estate executive Theresa Greenfield is challenging her. But in recent weeks, election analysts including the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato and The Cook Political Report have moved the race into “toss-up” territory. [ read more … ]

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