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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE November 30, 2020

Top Story

E.P.A.’s Final Deregulatory Rush Runs Into Open Staff Resistance

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

The E.P.A. is expected to finalize in the coming weeks a rule on industrial soot pollution, which is linked to respiratory diseases, including those caused by the coronavirus. The rule is expected to leave in place a 2012 standard on fine soot from smokestacks and tailpipes, known as PM 2.5, ignoring the E.P.A.’s own scientists, who wrote last year that the existing rule contributes to about 45,000 deaths per year from respiratory diseases, and that tightening it could save about 10,000 of those lives. In April, a study published by researchers at Harvard linked long-term soot exposure and Covid-19 death rates. The study found that a person living for decades in a county with high levels of fine particulate matter is 15 percent more likely to die from the coronavirus than someone in a region with one unit less of the fine particulate pollution. [ read more … ]

RFS

Renewable fuels industry wants court order enforced

By KIWA  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

Farm and biofuel leaders face another hurdle, when it comes to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) compliance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Geoff Cooper, president and Chief Executive Officer with the Renewable Fuels Association, explains. “We sued EPA in 2016. The Agency had inappropriately reduced the Renewable Fuel Standard requirements – Not just for 2016, but also for 2014 and 2015. They set those final requirements below levels specified by the law and finalized by Congress,” Cooper says. [ read more … ]

The Transition

President-elect Joe Biden posed in his vintage Corvette. But he promises a big push for electric vehicles.

By Ian Duncan, Washington Post  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

Electric vehicles make up less than 2 percent of the 17 million or so new cars and SUVs sold each year in the United States, but President-elect Joe Biden, the son of a car salesman and himself the owner of a vintage Corvette, also wants the country to be all-in on electric vehicles. He has pitched them as a way to fight climate change and reinvigorate American manufacturing. “I believe that we can own the 21st century market again by moving to electric vehicles,” Biden says while gripping the wheel of his 1967 Corvette Sting Ray. In a campaign video that used the rumble of the car’s engine as a soundtrack, Biden grins at the prospect of an electric version with a 200 mph top speed.
[ read more … ]

Markets

Should Ethanol Go Back To Business As Usual After COVID-19?

By Christina Stella, NET News and Harvest Public Media  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

Ethanol industry leaders issued warnings that the financial repercussions of widespread lockdowns could be significant to plants across the country. They later reported half of the nation’s facilities were forced to shut down. Most ethanol plants have since reopened, and losses so far are lower than initially feared. But the sector’s slow recovery has some questioning if it’s in the U.S. ethanol industry’s best interest to continue making as much fuel as before the pandemic. [ read more … ]

Exxon Documents Reveal More Pessimistic Outlook for Oil Prices

By Christopher M. Matthews, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

Exxon Mobil Corp.  has lowered its outlook on oil prices for much of the next decade, according to internal company documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. As part of an internal financial-planning process conducted this fall, Exxon cut its expectations for future oil prices for each of the next seven years by 11% to 17%, according to the documents. The sizable reduction suggests the Texas oil giant expects the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic to linger for much of the next decade. The fossil-fuel industry is also contending with increased competition from renewable-energy sources and electric vehicles, as well as the prospect of increased climate-change regulation around the world.
[ read more … ]

US judge voids permits for Columbia River methanol plant

By Gene Johnson, Associated Press  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

A judge on Monday voided permits needed for a massive methanol plant on the Columbia River in southwestern Washington, agreeing with conservation groups that the project needs a more thorough environmental review. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had granted the permits for the construction of an export facility that is part of a $2 billion NW Innovation Works plant proposed in Kalama. The plant would take natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol, which would be shipped to China to make olefins — compounds used in everything from fabrics and contact lenses to iPhones and medical equipment. [ read more … ]

Is ‘renewable’ natural gas really renewable?

By Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

Oregon is making a push for renewable natural gas, or pure, naturally occurring methane derived from organic waste sources such as dairy farms and sewage treatment plants. Advocates say RNG could serve as a low-carbon or carbon-neutral alternative to wellhead gas for residential and commercial heating. In July, Oregon’s Public Utilities Commission completed rulemaking to implement S.B. 98, a measure that encourages gas utilities to procure and gradually replace some natural gas with RNG. NW Natural, Oregon’s largest gas provider and a supporter of S.B. 98, says it expects to begin delivering a small amount of RNG to customers within the next year. [ read more … ]

Commentary

Ethanol is Not a Bridge— We Are a Main Road

By Dave VanderGriend, Urban Air Initiative  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

For the next Congress and state legislatures across the country, reducing carbon is likely to be a primary focus in 2021. In addition to power plants, singling out gasoline powered vehicles seems to be an easy target. The most recent example is California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order requiring all new passenger vehicles be zero emission by 2035. Obviously, this force-feeds electric vehicles (EVs) in the name of carbon reduction. But this executive order is also assuming that conventional vehicles and fuels cannot do the job. [ read more … ]

Rural Iowa Democrats Reflect On Continued Struggle For The Party

By Isabella Murray, Iowa Starting Line  •    •  Posted November 29, 2020

“Hopefully we won’t have to deal with this pandemic situation again, but we need to remember the need for one-on-one contact. We need to remember to do retail politicking and I think we got outdone on that front by Joni Ernst and by the other Republicans. We’re paying a price for it, but with a clear conscience that we didn’t cause someone to die by our actions.” [ read more … ]

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