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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE August 18, 2020

Top Story

U.S. Fossil Fuel Sector Has Come Out Far Ahead of Renewables in Pandemic Relief, Recent Policies

BY LISA MARTINE JENKINS, Morning Consult  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

At least $71.6 billion in federal funds has been allocated directly or indirectly to the U.S. fossil fuel industry since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, while roughly $349.5 million has been devoted to renewable energy, according to data from the new international Energy Policy Tracker. And projects involving multiple energy sources — such as public transportation — have received at least $26 billion, according to the data.  The tracker also found that one Pennsylvania policy change committed $667 million to fossil fuels, while California and New York have pledged a combined $999.8 million to renewables. The data has been compiled by the project’s six core members: five policy institutions and Columbia University. [ read more … ]

Extreme Weather

Iowa’s derecho disaster declaration does not include aid for homeowners, farmers

By Kim Norvell, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

A federal major disaster declaration approved Monday does not include financial assistance for Iowans recovering from last week’s devastating derecho, despite President Trump tweeting he approved the state’s application in “FULL.”  Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request for $82.7 million to cover the 8,273 homes that were damaged or destroyed was not approved. Neither were her requests for $3.77 billion for agriculture damage to farm land, grain bins and buildings and $100 million for private utilities repair. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Reynolds said teams are still assessing damage to determine if the state is eligible for more assistance. It could be another week before individual assistance is approved, acting secretary of Homeland Security, Chad Wolf, said at a roundtable with Trump in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday. [ read more … ]

President Donald Trump meets with Iowans at an airport in storm ravaged Cedar Rapids Tuesday; local officials ask him to approve more aid

By Tyler Jett and Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

President Donald Trump promised Iowa leaders Tuesday that they would have the “full support of the federal government” as they work to clear debris, restore power and recover from a massive windstorm that swept the state last week. “Iowans have always been resilient and strong and tough and great people,” Trump said in a briefing in Cedar Rapids. “From the depths of this grave hardship, we will rebuild even stronger than before. We’re going to be in fantastic shape in a very short period of time.” [ read more … ]


Sen. Ernst Tells President Gap-Year RFS Waivers Should be Rejected

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

American farmers have been left to wonder for the past several months, exactly what was going on behind closed doors at the EPA when it comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The overarching question being asked by many: Is President Donald Trump making a calculated political decision to freeze all EPA action on all things RFS until after the November election? Including pending small-refinery exemption requests and the release of a 2021 volumes proposal.
[ read more … ]

Trump set to duck no-win ethanol decision until after election

By ERIC WOLFF, Politico  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

“It’s a no-win proposition because you’re going to alienate (one or) the other group,” said Tom Kloza, analyst at the oil price service OPIS, who has not been in touch with the Trump administration. “To the extent that they can, they’ll probably stall or wait. And they can get away with it because its such an uncertain environment in terms of what volumes are going to look like next year.” [ read more … ]

Car Efficiency Standards

Defying Trump, 5 Automakers Lock In a Deal on Greenhouse Gas Pollution

By Coral Davenport, New York Times  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

Under the California agreement, the automakers, which together make up about 30 percent of the United States auto market, will be required to increase their average fuel economy from about 38 miles per gallon today to about 51 miles per gallon by 2026. By comparison, the Trump administration’s national rule on auto emissions, which was completed this spring, rolled back a 2012 rule that required automakers’ fleets to average about 54 miles per gallon by 2025. Instead, the fleets now must only average about 40 miles per gallon. [ read more … ]

6 questions about Calif. auto emissions deals

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

In a rebuke to President Trump, five automakers agreed yesterday to follow tougher clean car standards than those outlined by his administration. The five companies — Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Volkswagen AG, BMW of North America and Volvo — each finalized a voluntary emissions agreement with the California Air Resources Board. The agreements come after President Trump gutted federal clean car standards, the most significant climate rules established by former President Obama.
[ read more … ]

Fiber Guidance Decision

Court denies challenge to EPA’s corn fiber pathway guidance

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

In its decision, the court concluded that Poet’s challenge to the treatment of VCSB-certified methods is unripe because no such method yet exists and Poet’s registration efforts rely on the peer-reviewed alternative. Regarding Poet’s challenge to the guidance’s discussion of peer-reviewed methods, the court held that the guidance announces a final, interpretive rule that lawfully construes the underlying regulation. “We therefore dismiss in part and deny in part the petition for review,” wrote Circuit Judge Pillard in the court’s ruling. [ read more … ]


Iowa Corn Condition Rating Drops 10 Points to 59% Good to Excellent

By Anthony Greder, DTN Staff  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

Despite the weather-related problems, the nation’s corn crop overall continued to mature at a near-normal rate. Seventy-six percent of corn was in the dough stage as of Sunday, 7 percentage points ahead of the five-year average of 69%, while 23% of corn was dented, near the average of 24%. Like corn, soybean conditions also fell last week. NASS estimated that 72% of the nation’s soybean crop was in good-to-excellent condition as of Aug. 16, down 2 percentage points from 74% the previous week but still tied for the third-highest rating in at least 10 years. [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

Campaigning in COVID: How Trump, Biden are taking different paths to win over Iowa voters

By Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted August 18, 2020

Hundreds of Iowa Democrats picked up takeout orders from area restaurants, headed home and watched former Vice President Joe Biden deliver a speech across their computer screens at a virtual party fundraiser last month. That same night, a roomful of President Donald Trump’s supporters munched on pork chops and chicken wings as they gathered at a Waukee barbecue joint to show their support for the president’s campaign. [ read more … ]

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