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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE August 14, 2020

Top Story

Senate leaves until September without coronavirus relief deal

BY JORDAIN CARNEY, The Hill  •    •  Posted August 14, 2020

The Senate left Washington, D.C., on Thursday until September – the latest sign that a deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package is, at least, weeks away. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had kept the chamber in session this week, which was technically the first in its August recess, as a last-ditch attempt to create space for the administration and congressional Democrats to get an agreement.  But with talks stalemated, senators argue there is little reason for them to keep holding daily, roughly 1 1/2-hour sessions. The House already left town and isn’t expected to return until Sept. 14.  [ read more … ]

SREs–EPA

Wheeler discusses expected delays in 2021 RVOs, gap year SREs

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

Wheeler confirmed that the DOE has finished its review of many gap year SRE petitions and began sending the petitions back to EPA in recent weeks. “I’m not sure how long its going to take us to review them,” Wheeler said, noting that the gap year SRE petitions are trickier to review than normal SRE petitions because of their retroactive nature. Some gap year SRE petitions filed to date go back as far as 2012. Wheeler said he has some questions with regard to how the EPA should handle the waivers. He said he’s unsure how a refinery can prove it experienced economic harm in 2012 if it is still in existence today. He also said the agency is unclear how it would offer a remedy in the event a refinery was able to demonstrate economic harm. “The appropriate remedy would not be to give people current year RINs for something from 2012 or 2013, and you can’t give them RINs for 2012 or 2013 because those RINs are worthless now,” he said. [ read more … ]

Former EPA officials call for ‘reset’

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

The former officials — Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly, Carol M. Browner, Christine Todd Whitman, Lisa P. Jackson and Gina McCarthy — issued an open letter that cited a new report from the Environmental Protection Network offering a litany of recommendations to update EPA’s mission. They specifically cited the far-reaching impacts of climate change and environmental injustices that concentrated exposure and risk on low-income communities, communities of color and indigenous people [ read more … ]

Midwest Storm

Reynolds: 10 million acres of corn, soybeans flattened; farmers ‘have never seen anything like this’

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

Across Iowa, the storm hit about 10 million acres of crops, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday during a news conference. The Iowa Department of Agriculture said the storm affected roughly a third of the state, which grows about 32 million acres of corn, soybeans and other crops. Reynolds said farmers have told her the damage “has just been devastating … they have never seen anything like this.”
[ read more … ]

Markets

U.S. Oil Refiners Accelerate Shift to Renewables in Downturn

By Rebecca Elliott, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

U.S. fuel makers see economic opportunity in getting greener as consumption remains depressed during the coronavirus pandemic and the prospect of more government regulations increases. Phillips 66 said it is planning to transform a San Francisco-area oil refinery into a plant that produces fuels from products such as vegetable oil and animal fat, which generate less soot and fewer greenhouse gases. The conversion, slated for completion in 2024, is expected to require around $800 million in capital investment and is one of several similar projects proposed in recent months, as U.S. refiners re-evaluate their businesses in light of Covid-19 and tightening environmental regulations. [ read more … ]

EIA: Ethanol production down 1%, ending stocks fall by 3%

By Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

U.S. ethanol production fell by more than 1 percent, while weekly ending stocks of fuel ethanol fell by nearly 3 percent for the week ending Aug. 7, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Aug. 12. U.S. ethanol production averaged 918,000 barrels per day the week ending Aug. 7, down from 931,000 barrels per day the previous week. Ethanol production trended upward in May and June after hitting a low of 537,000 barrels per day the week ending April 24 due to market impacts caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. [ read more … ]

Trade

Trump considers reciprocal tariffs on Brazilian ethanol

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

President Trump during a press conference on Aug. 10 said his administration is considering reciprocal tariffs on Brazilian ethanol. The Renewable Fuels Association expressed support for Trump’s statement, but said it strongly prefers the return to a free and fair two-way ethanol trade relationship with the country. Trump was asked during the press conference whether he has asked the U.S. ambassador to Brazil to focus his efforts on eliminating ethanol tariffs in the country. “We haven’t really discussed that too much, but at some point we probably will be,” Trump said, noting that “if they do tariffs, we have to have an equalization of tariffs, and we are going to be presenting something having to do with tariffs and fairness in tariffs. [ read more … ]

Biogenic Emissions

Biogenic Emissions: Credit Where It’s Due

By Luke Geiver, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

An improved understanding of biogenic emissions from agricultural crops could change the economics of biobased product manufacturing and biofuel production. A major advocacy group, private industry players, and congressional members from both sides of the aisle are all pushing the U.S. EPA for updates to the classification of the de minimis character of annual emissions from corn, soybeans and other crops. The entire bioeconomy, they all believe, stands to benefit if EPA reclassifies the qualities of biogenic emissions so the quantifiable value of ag production for energy, bioproducts, feed and food includes both what goes into feedstock production and harvest, and what comes ou [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

Pence Rallies Iowa Farmers

By  Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor  •    •  Posted August 14, 2020

Defending red meat and preventing overburdening environmental regulations are among the lines in the sand President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will defend against Democratic candidates Joe Biden and his running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris. Vice President Pence also told a group of Iowa farmers and GOP political activists that the Trump administration has kept its promises to increase ethanol demand through the president’s executive order approving year-round E15. “Promises made, promises kept,” Pence told the Iowa audience. [ read more … ]

With the Biden-Harris Ticket, Environmental Justice Is a Focus

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

Just six days before Joseph R. Biden Jr. tapped Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the presidential election, the California senator released sweeping environmental justice legislation. The timing, climate activists said, was important if not prescient. The Climate Equity Act, an expanded version of a bill Ms. Harris and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, introduced last year, puts the environmental health of low-income communities of color at the center of efforts to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gases.
[ read more … ]

Commentary

We Don’t Need a Lockdown to Clear the Air

By Dave VanderGriend, Urban Air Initiative  •    •  Posted August 13, 2020

f we learned anything during the COVID-19 lockdown, it was that parking our cars helped clear the air. For the first time in decades, skylines were visible in major cities across the globe. And while we know this was not a sustainable situation, it has brought the world’s attention to air pollution, tailpipe emissions and the need to find a solution to improve air quality. This is where ethanol can shine. Ethanol is an available solution right now that when added to gasoline, reduces toxic tailpipe emissions and clears the air.  
[ read more … ]

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