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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE October 23, 2020

Top Story

Senate Republicans fume as Mnuchin gives ground to Pelosi in search of deal

By Erica Werner and Jeff Stein, Washington Post  •    •  Posted October 23, 2020

Mnuchin has committed to a top-line figure of around $1.9 trillion, much too high for many Senate Republicans to swallow. That includes at least $300 billion for state and local aid, also a non-starter for many in the GOP. The treasury secretary is also giving ground on multiple specific policy issues, such as reducing payments that Republicans wanted to go to farmers so that some of the money would go for food boxes instead, according to two people involved in the talks who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the developments. He has left open the possibility of allowing even more money to flow to states and localities via Community Development Block Grants sought by Democrats. [ read more … ]

Senate Skepticism on Pre-Election Stimulus Vote Spreads to House

By Billy House and Erik Wasson, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted October 23, 2020

The resistance among Senate Republicans to the near-$2 trillion stimulus package under negotiation between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House has spurred some House Democrats to oppose the idea of a pre-election vote on any bill. Pelosi told some members of House Democratic leadership in a call Thursday that some of the party’s lawmakers have told her they don’t want to come back to the Capitol for a vote before Nov. 3 if the Senate isn’t ready to act, according to a person familiar with the conversation. The development added a new wrinkle just as Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are trying to finalize a deal after a months-long impasse. [ read more … ]


The EPA Refuses to Reduce Pollutants Linked to Coronavirus Deaths

By Lisa Song and Lylla Younes, ProPublica  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

In April, as coronavirus cases multiplied across the country, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected scientists’ advice to tighten air pollution standards for particulate matter, or soot. In the next few weeks, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler likely will reaffirm that decision with a final ruling, despite emerging evidence that links particulate pollution to COVID-19 deaths. There was enough evidence to support a stricter standard before the pandemic, said Christopher Frey, an environmental engineering professor at North Carolina State University who studies air pollution. The added threat from the coronavirus is like “icing on the cake,” he said, and should compel Wheeler to adopt an even more stringent limit. [ read more … ]


Senators Seek RFS Freeze

By Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

Amid the politics in the Midwest over ethanol, a group of 15 Republican senators on Wednesday wrote EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler calling for an overall freeze of the Renewable Fuels Standard obligations for 2021. The senators, largely from oil-producing states, advocate for a freeze in the RFS while one of their GOP colleagues, Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, is locked in a tight campaign battle in which her Democratic opponent has claimed Ernst’s support for Wheeler’s confirmation has greatly damaged the RFS. [ read more … ]

Oil-State Senators Ask EPA to Violate the Law, Ignore the Courts

By Ken Colombini, RFA  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

The Renewable Fuels Association today blasted the latest attempt by oil refiners and their supporters in the Senate to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard. On Wednesday, a small group of oil-state Senators submitted a short letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler asking him to waive the 2021 RFS standards to prevent increased use of renewable fuels and “account for the unprecedented collapse in demand for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.” (Note: Jet fuel is not subject to renewable fuel blending requirements under the RFS.) [ read more … ]


California E15 Testing to Start

By Cindy Zimmerman, AgWired  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

With more than 15 million cars registered in the state, California has almost twice as many vehicles on the road than any other state in the nation, which makes it the number one market for growing domestic ethanol demand. To that end, the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), state corn organizations, ethanol groups and the auto industry, are working with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to conduct vehicle testing using 15 percent ethanol (E15) at the University of California at Riverside (UCR). The Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR) are partnering on the study. [ read more … ]


Exxon CEO announces layoffs, cites climate ‘challenge’

By Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

Exxon Mobil Corp. announced job cuts yesterday due to the coronavirus pandemic and the destruction it’s caused the global oil and gas sector. Speaking at an employee forum, Exxon CEO Darren Woods praised workers for their personal sacrifices before noting that staff reductions are necessary at the Texas-based oil giant. He did not specify how many employees would be laid off. [ read more … ]

The Oil Lobby’s COVID-19 Wish List

By Chris D’Angelo and Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic upended the U.S. economy, the head of the oil and gas sector’s leading trade association declared that fossil fuel companies weren’t looking for government handouts to stay afloat.  “This is an industry that believes in the free market, it believes in supply and demand as the best arbiter of price,” Mike Sommers, CEO and president of the American Petroleum Institute, told Yahoo Finance in an April 23 interview. “So we’re not asking for any extra help from the federal government. We’re not interested in any bailouts.” 
[ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

In the hot seats

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

Peterson represents the reddest district currently held by a Democrat (it voted for Trump by more than 20 points), but he’s defied its partisan drift thanks in large part to his championing agricultural interests. He faces former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach in a contest that’s drawn millions in outside spending. Peterson often votes against his party on regulatory matters but could play a role in shaping agriculture-related provisions in future climate change legislation. This race is considered a “Tossup” by the Cook Political Report. [ read more … ]

Off Topic

Vatican mints environment-themed coin

By Avery Ellfeldt, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted October 22, 2020

The Vatican has minted a coin that carries the image of a young woman who is pregnant — with the Earth. Unveiled last Friday, the coin is worth €10 and was designed by the Italian sculptor Luigi Oldani. The Vatican commissioned the Catholic artist to create an ecologically themed coin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Oldani told the Catholic News Agency. [ read more … ]

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