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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 10, 2020

Top Story

House approves one-week spending bill as stimulus talks drag on

By Jeff Stein and Mike DeBonis, Washington Post  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a one-week extension in funding for the federal government, a move aimed at giving lawmakers more time to hammer out agreements on spending bills and emergency economic relief. Congressional leaders advanced the short-term extension in federal funding as negotiations over an emergency economic relief package appeared to falter and prospects of a major breakthrough dimmed. The measure passed by a 343 to 67 vote. [ read more … ]


Trump DOJ Asks SCOTUS to Deny Refiners

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

In a brief filed with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice said the refiners Holly Frontier and CVR Energy have not proven a conflict of law. On Jan. 24, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver ruled EPA didn’t have the authority to issue Renewable Fuel Standard small-refinery exemption extensions to three companies that were not originally granted waivers. The ruling applied to about one-third of all small refineries in the country. EPA did not appeal the ruling and has been pushed to apply the court’s decision nationally. [ read more … ]


After spending Trump years fighting Big Oil, biofuels industry rallies against electric car mandates under Biden

By Abby Smith, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

Farmers are planning a big offensive to tout ethanol and other biofuels as clean to ensure the Biden administration treats those products the same as electric cars and other low-carbon fuels. It’s a new fight for the agriculture sector, which sees biofuels as a vital piece of its revenue stream. For the last four years, biofuels producers have vigorously fought attempts by oil refiners and some Trump officials to water down federal requirements to blend biofuels into the fuel supply, known as the Renewable Fuel Standard. [ read more … ]

The Transition

Vilsack at USDA Stokes Farmer Optimism on Biofuels, China Trade

By Kim Chipman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 10, 2020

The next agriculture chief will arrive at the USDA on the heels of farmers receiving a record $47 billion this year in federal aid to make up for losses tied to the pandemic and President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. The industry also is facing questions on the future of biofuels, food security and conservation at the same time Congress is set to begin grueling work on the next Farm Bill. Vilsack’s experience both in Washington and the Corn Belt is reassuring to some growers, even as he faces criticism from environmental and civil rights groups. [ read more … ]

Biden agriculture pick likely to reassure farmers, disappoint activists

By Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia, and P.J. Huffstutter, Christopher Walljasper, Tom Polansek, Karl Plume, Mark Weinraub and Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack for U.S. agriculture secretary, according to two sources familiar with the decision, a choice expected to reassure commodity crop farmers but disappoint climate activists and small-farm advocates. Vilsack – who served as USDA secretary under President Barack Obama and as Iowa governor from 1999 to 2007 – is seen by establishment Democrats as a sound choice, largely because of his moderate politics and longstanding relationships with large-scale farmers.
[ read more … ]

Reports say Vilsack to get nomination as agriculture secretary; Iowans from both parties like the prospect

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

“I liked what Vilsack did as the secretary of agriculture for eight years, and if he was in for another four years, it would be OK with me,” Grassley said Tuesday. “I would be glad, if he wants me to, to speak for him before the Agriculture Committee.”  “He certainly understands rural issues,” said Patty Judge, a Democrat who served as Iowa’s agriculture secretary during Vilsack’s tenure as governor. “And not just food production, but issues like broadband access, lack of affordable housing and the need for jobs.”
[ read more … ]

Mary Nichols on EPA, Republicans and her climate ideas

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

Mary Nichols plans to make fighting climate change a top priority of EPA if given the chance to run the agency. Nichols, 75, is seen as a front-runner for the administrator’s post under President-elect Joe Biden. Either way, she’s poised to leave her current job overseeing the California Air Resources Board later this month, after running the climate-focused office for 13 years. In an interview with E&E News yesterday, Nichols spoke confidently about her strategies for helping Biden set the nation on a path toward net-zero emissions by 2050. [ read more … ]


USDA: US ethanol exports at 127 million gallons in October

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

The U.S. exported 126.52 million gallons of ethanol and 951,500 metric tons of distillers grains in October, according to data released by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service on Dec. 4. Exports of both products were up when compared to October 2019. The 126.52 million gallons of ethanol exported in October was up from both the 77.21 million gallons exported during the previous month and the 105.74 million gallons exported in the same month of the previous year. [ read more … ]

Crimped U.S. dry ice supply complicates rural U.S. vaccine release

By Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles and Stephane Kelly and Carl O’Donnell in New York, Reuters  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

As health officials from rural areas prepare to vaccinate people scattered over thousands of miles in what could be the most complex such campaign in U.S. history, they face the additional challenge of finding enough dry ice to keep a Pfizer vaccine that must be stored at sub Arctic temperatures from spoiling. The vaccine developed by Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE could be authorized for emergency use as soon as this week and must be transported and stored at -70 degrees Celsius (minus 94°F), requiring specialized ultra-cold freezers or dry ice. [ read more … ]


Trump EPA Makes It Harder to Toughen Air Pollution Standards

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 9, 2020

The Trump administration is changing the way the Environmental Protection Agency weighs the costs and benefits of regulations meant to fight air pollution, something that will make it harder to justify tougher standards in the future. The move being announced by the EPA on Wednesday could at least temporarily tie the hands of President-elect Joe Biden’s environmental regulators as they seek to strengthen pollution curbs relaxed under President Donald Trump. In particular, the more narrow cost-benefit analysis dictated by the EPA rule could limit the agency’s ability to cap emissions from power plants and methane leaks at oil wells. [ read more … ]

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