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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 9, 2020

Top Story

White House Offers $916 Billion Stimulus Proposal, Cutting Jobless Benefits

By Emily Cochrane, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

Jump-starting negotiations with days to spare, the White House on Tuesday offered Democrats a $916 billion pandemic stimulus proposal that would meet their demand to provide some relief to state and local governments and include liability protections for businesses that have been a top priority of Republicans. The offer from Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, to Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the first time since November’s elections that the Trump administration has engaged directly in talks on Capitol Hill about how to prop up the nation’s flagging economy. It came as lawmakers raced to reach a deal on another round of coronavirus relief before they conclude this year’s session, now expected to happen next week. [ read more … ]


Ag, Biofuels Groups Ask Appeals Court to Restore 1.43 Billion Gallons to the Renewable Fuel Standard

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

A coalition of ethanol and agriculture interests asked a federal court on Monday to vacate EPA’s granting of 31 small-refinery exemptions in 2018, alleging the agency did not conduct the proper review of those requests. In all, the groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to restore about 1.43 billion gallons of ethanol demand to the Renewable Fuel Standard, according to EPA’s own estimates of biofuels not blended in gasoline as a result of the exemptions. [ read more … ]

U.S. biofuel coalition escalates legal attack on EPA blending waivers

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

A coalition of U.S. biofuel groups announced on Tuesday it had filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the Trump administration’s decision in 2019 to grant 31 oil refineries exemptions from U.S. biofuel blending obligations. The brief borrows arguments from a successful case that several members of the group had filed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. That case spurred controversy this year when the court sided with the biofuel industry and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the waiver program. [ read more … ]


Major journal ties public health, climate change

By Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

A leading health journal is devoting an entire issue to climate change — with articles addressing pollution, health effects of climate change, how health care systems can adapt to climate change and policy actions that should be taken to address those issues. The December issue of Health Affairs — once described as the “bible of health policy” in The Washington Post — includes more than 10 articles related to climate change, marking the journal’s first-ever issue devoted to the intersection of climate and health. [ read more … ]

Tax Extenders

Biofuel, bioenergy groups urge Congress to act on tax extenders

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

“Numerous tax extenders are currently set to expire at the end of 2020,” the groups wrote. “Previous lapses of these temporary tax provisions have caused confusion and hardship for the many industry sectors and individuals that utilize these tax incentives. Allowing these tax extenders to lapse at the end of 2020 would undermine their effectiveness, threaten thousands of jobs in the U.S. economy and cause needless uncertainty for taxpayers at a time when many are coping with severe economic hardship. These measures have a direct impact on hiring, job retention, and business investment and their extension would have a positive impact on an economy in serious need of recovery. [ read more … ]

The Transition

Biden to nominate ex-Iowa Governor Vilsack for USDA secretary: Axios

By Eric Beech, Caroline Stauffer, Tom Polansek and P.J. Huffstutter, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack for agriculture secretary, Axios reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The Biden transition office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report. Vilsack, who led the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under former President Barack Obama, could not immediately be reached. His spokeswoman, Regina Black, declined to comment “as an official announcement hasn’t been made.” [ read more … ]

Vilsack could be back as ag secretary

By Jacqui Fatka, Farmprogress  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

As President-elect Joe Biden continues to make announcements regarding his cabinet, former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack looks to now be a front runner to return. According to media reports, four people familiar with the discussions say Biden is leaning toward choosing Vilsack to return to the post after serving eight years under the Obama administration. In recent weeks, much of the attention for the post centered around former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge. Other nominees include Russell Redding, commissioner of agriculture in Pennsylvania and new to the list is former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. [ read more … ]

Vilsack rumors prick progressives

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

The field of potential candidates for Agriculture secretary has a new sore spot, and he’s had the job before. Tom Vilsack, a top agriculture adviser to President-elect Joe Biden and Agriculture secretary in the Obama administration, is stirring a fresh debate after news reports that he’s a strong contender for the Cabinet post. Opposition has begun to mount from groups that say they’d rather see Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) or another candidate less connected to corporate agriculture. [ read more … ]


Ag industry pushes for early worker vaccine access

By Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

First, employees in meatpacking plants were deemed essential workers in the early days of the pandemic. Now the industry says they should stick out again — near the front of the line for COVID-19 vaccinations, behind hospital and emergency workers. [ read more … ]


U.S. gasoline demand during Thanksgiving week lowest since 1997: OPIS

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

U.S. gasoline consumption fell during the Thanksgiving holiday week to the lowest in more than 20 years, said OPIS, an IHS Markit company, as coronavirus cases surged and government officials urged residents to stay home. Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has crushed fuel demand in the United States because of lockdown orders to stay indoors to curb the spread of the virus.
[ read more … ]

Report: E15 poised to fast-track climate progress

By Growth Energy  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

Growth Energy released a new report examining the potential climate benefits of a nationwide transition from the standard 10-percent ethanol blended fuel (E10) to a 15-percent ethanol blend (E15). The report was authored by Air Improvement Resource Inc., a leading research firm in the area of mobile source emissions modeling and technology, at the request of Growth Energy. [ read more … ]

Fewer Flex-fuel Badged New Model Cars Available In US

By The Auto. Channel  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

Analysis by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has revealed that while nearly all new 2021 cars are approved by the manufacturer to use E15, fewer models are being offered as flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of operating on fuel blends containing up to 85% ethanol. Only two car makers — Ford and General Motors — are offering FFVs in their new models. [ read more … ]


All-Electric Tractor Unveiled

By Dan Miller, Progressive Farmer Senior Editor  •    •  Posted December 8, 2020

Monarch Tractor of Livermore, California, on Tuesday introduced what the technology manufacturer calls the world’s first fully electric, driver-optional, smart tractor integrated onto a single platform. “What makes Monarch Tractor unique is that you are answering the three big challenges farmers have,” said Praveen Penmetsa, co-founder and CEO, Monarch Tractor. “Farmers have labor shortages around the globe. Farmers are under tremendous pressure from their buyers to reduce emissions and provide more sustainability data (to their buyers). Farmers are also working with razor-thin margins.” [ read more … ]


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