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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 8, 2020

Top Story

Virus talks drag on liability as Congress preps stopgap aid

By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

House floor leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said on Twitter that the temporary government funding bill is slated for a vote on Wednesday, when it is sure to easily pass. The development comes as Capitol Hill is struggling to figure out how to deliver long-delayed pandemic relief, including additional help for businesses hard hit by the pandemic, further unemployment benefits, funding to distribute COVID-19 vaccines and funding demanded by Democrats for state and local governments. Disagreements flared Monday over one key provision — a proposed liability shield from COVID-19-related lawsuits for businesses, schools and organizations that reopen. [ read more … ]

RFS

What a Biden EPA means for the renewable fuel standard

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

Fuel refiners will still blend billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol into gasoline with President-elect Joe Biden in the White House — but the conversation may turn to alternative fuels. That’s the scenario people who work for, or against, biofuel mandates see for the federal renewable fuel standard during the incoming administration. The RFS will probably evolve much differently under a Biden administration than it would have had President Trump won reelection, particularly given the leanings of the widely reported candidates for EPA administrator. [ read more … ]

Grassley hopes for ethanol relief on small oil refinery exemptions

By KMA  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

Key Ethanol Senator Chuck Grassley says he just spoke with Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler and hints Wheeler may be open to last-minute relief for the ethanol industry on small oil refinery waivers. Grassley says he spoke to Wheeler about the oil industry’s appeal to the Supreme Court of a lower court ruling that struck down most retroactive small oil refinery ethanol waivers. “And I considered it a very positive conversation…didn’t get into a lot of details…he didn’t say exactly what he was going to do…but everything that he said, I thought, was music to my ears, and maybe, to some extent, a little bit unexpected.” [ read more … ]

Steady recovery: Light at the end of the tunnel for U.S. ethanol industry

By Jeannine Otto, AgriNews  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

For Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming freight train. Or, should we say, another oncoming freight train. “We are coming off a couple of very difficult years. 2020 was probably the most challenging year in the industry’s history. We are really ready to turn the page and excited about what the future holds for the industry,” Cooper said. [ read more … ]

Emissions

Study links oil refineries to cancer risk

By Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

While this particular study didn’t look at what about the oil refineries increases people’s risk of getting cancer, previous research has demonstrated that pollutants like benzene and toluene — and others linked to oil refinery processes — have been shown to be carcinogenic. Of the nearly 830,000 cancer patients living in Texas between 2001 and 2014, roughly 34% of those lived within a 30-mile radius of a refinery, the study said. [ read more … ]

Trump administration rejects tougher standards on soot, a deadly air pollutant

BY Brady Dennis, Washington Post  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the standards Friday, according to two individuals familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The agency locked in current thresholds for fine particle pollution for another five years, despite mounting evidence linking air pollution with illness and death. In its decision, the EPA maintained that the Obama-era levels, set in 2012, are adequately protective of human health. Agency scientists had recommended lowering the annual particulate matter standard to between 8 and 10 micrograms per cubic meter in a draft reportlast year, citing estimates that reducing the limit to 9 could save between 9,050 and 34,600 lives a year. [ read more … ]

The Transition

Michigan’s Granholm in the running for Biden climate czar

By Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

One of the front-runners to lead domestic climate policy in the next White House is former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who guided her Rust Belt state through the Great Recession by seeking to make it a hub for green manufacturing. Granholm’s two-term stint as Michigan governor ended in 2011 after she helped stave off the collapse of Detroit’s storied auto industry. [ read more … ]

California’s top air official at center of nomination war for Biden’s EPA chief

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

One of the top contenders to be Joe Biden’s administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency is in the middle of the tug of war between those who want her to get the job and those who don’t.  Mary Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board, is widely admired among many environmentalists for countering the rollback of climate regulations coming out of Washington under President Trump. But she has detractors who see a lackluster record regarding poor and minority communities in the Golden State.  [ read more … ]

Climate Change

Another Month on a Warming Planet: Record-Hot November

By Henry Fountain, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

Last month was the hottest November on record, European researchers said Monday, as the relentlessly warming climate proved too much even for any possible effects of cooler ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Scientists with the Copernicus Climate Change Service said that global temperatures in November were 0.1 degree Celsius (about 0.2 degree Fahrenheit) above the previous record-holders, in 2016 and 2019. November 2020 was 0.8 degree Celsius (or 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average from 1981 to 2010. [ read more … ]

EVs

Calif. might matter more than Biden for EV sales

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 7, 2020

When it comes to boosting electric vehicle adoption in the United States, California may hold more sway than the federal government, experts say. That means the Golden State could steer the country toward an electric future regardless of whether President-elect Joe Biden takes aggressive steps to promote clean cars. “I think it’s plausible that the EV market could move even without federal leadership, as long as the federal government lets California move forward,” said Ann Carlson, co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at UCLA School of Law. [ read more … ]

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