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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 17, 2020

Top Story

Congressional leaders add stimulus checks to $900 billion relief package as they near deal

By Jeff Stein, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim, Washington Post  •    •  Posted December 17, 2020

Congressional leaders said Wednesday that they are nearing agreement on a roughly $900 billion economic relief package that would include a second round of stimulus checks and could be completed by the end of this week. The package emerging is expected to include hundreds of billions of dollars in aid for ailing small businesses and jobless Americans; tens of billions of dollars in aid for other critical needs, such as vaccine distribution and schools; and a one-time check of between $600 and $700 for millions of Americans below a certain income threshold. [ read more … ]

Ethanol Group Reports Biofuels Losses

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

With demand for ethanol falling in this a second round of COVID-19 economic shutdowns, industry officials sounded the alarm bells on Wednesday about a potential stimulus package from Congress not providing specific relief for ethanol. Congress is considering a package that includes $12 billion to $13 billion for agriculture, without including ethanol. This comes at what is arguably the worst year for the ethanol industry, which experienced huge losses from March to November as a result of COVID-19. RFA President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Cooper said the industry has been unable to convince USDA to use funds from the Commodity Credit Corp. to help ethanol producers. However, he said if Tom Vilsack is confirmed as the next secretary of agriculture USDA could change direction on using CCC funds for ethanol relief. [ read more … ]

Emissions

To Cut Emissions to Zero, U.S. Needs to Make Big Changes in Next 10 Years

By Brad Plumer, New York Times  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

If the United States wants to get serious about tackling climate change, the country will need to build a staggering amount of new energy infrastructure in just the next 10 years, laying down steel and concrete at a pace barely being contemplated today. That’s one conclusion from a major study released Tuesday by a team of energy experts at Princeton University, who set out several exhaustively detailed scenarios for how the country could slash its greenhouse gas emissions down to zero by 2050. That goal has been endorsed by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., as well as numerous states and businesses, to help avoid the worst effects of global warming. [ read more … ]

Air pollution a cause of UK girl’s death, finds global landmark ruling

By Emma Reynolds, CNN  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

A 9-year-old girl who died after an asthma attack is thought to be the first person in the world to have air pollution listed as a cause of death in a landmark coroner’s ruling. Ella Kissi-Debrah lived in Lewisham, southeast London, near one of the UK capital’s busiest roads, the South Circular. She died in hospital in February 2013 after suffering a cardiac arrest from which she could not be resuscitated, the coroner reported on Wednesday. The girl suffered from severe asthma that caused episodes of cardiac and respiratory arrest, and frequent emergency hospital admissions over three years.
[ read more … ]

Markets

Brazil Implements 20% Import Tariff on US Ethanol

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted December 17, 2020

With negotiations between the United States and Brazil breaking down, U.S. ethanol producers now face a 20% import tariff when sending product to Brazil. Since May, U.S. exports to Brazil fell to less than 4 million gallons. Conversely, Brazil has exported about 96 million gallons of fuel ethanol to the U.S. Agriculture and biofuels groups said in a press statement on Wednesday that a 20% tariff will only “further imbalance trade between the two countries.”
[ read more … ]

$3.25 million to support Wisconsin’s ethanol producers during pandemic

By Grace Connatser, Wisconsin State Farmer  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

After mass travel came to a near standstill in 2020, Governor Evers is allocating $3.25 million from the federal CARES Act to help the ethanol industry stay afloat in Wisconsin. The funding is much needed after the industry nearly collapsed nationwide due to low sales of gasoline as less people drove to work and school and did not travel to visit family. Ethanol is also important for the production of dry ice by supplying carbon dioxide. Dry ice is critical to the successful delivery of some COVID-19 vaccines because of the need for extremely cold temperatures in order to keep the vaccines viable. [ read more … ]

Oil Edges Lower After Report Points to Rising U.S. Stockpiles

By Elizabeth Low, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

Oil slipped from its highest level in almost 10 months after an industry report pointed to an increase in U.S. crude stockpiles, taking some of the steam out of a vaccine and stimulus-driven rally. Futures dropped toward $47 a barrel in New York after the American Petroleum Institute reported crude inventories climbed by 1.97 million barrels last week, according to people familiar with the data. That would be a second weekly gain if confirmed by official government figures on Wednesday. [ read more … ]

The Transition

Mary Nichols, fading as EPA contender, talks civil rights

  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

Despite the groups’ concerns, several high-profile people have supported Nichols for the EPA job, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former movie star and past Republican governor of California. Schwarzenegger made a surprise appearance at the event to advocate for her return to EPA, where she served as assistant administrator for air and radiation under President Clinton. “I always thought the world of you,” the former California governor told Nichols. “And the great thing always is that I’m a Republican. But I never felt like I was dealing with a Democrat. I always thought that you and I were interested in one thing, which was to improve things.” [ read more … ]

Biden picks Jennifer Granholm to lead DOE

By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

Former two-term Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who embraced renewable energy as the governor of a Rust Belt state, will be nominated Energy secretary as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to cast the Department of Energy as a key player in his bid to tackle climate change, sources say. Granholm, a Biden adviser who was also mentioned as a possible domestic climate policy czar in the Biden administration, gives the incoming president an experienced political hand who has worked with Democrats and Republicans. She’s pitched climate change solutions to skeptical audiences, including autoworker unions. And she passes muster with restive green groups, which pushed Biden to reject any candidate with ties to the fossil fuel industry. [ read more … ]

Gina McCarthy couldn’t say no to Biden

  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

Gina McCarthy, who used her tenure as EPA administrator to build some of the most ambitious climate policies in American history, only to see them evaporate during the Trump administration, will be the top climate adviser to President-elect Joe Biden. Her appointment was confirmed by two sources close to the transition last night. [ read more … ]

Legislation

Bill aims to enact tax credits to support biobased chemicals

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr., D-N.J., and Mikie Sherrill, D-N.J., on Dec. 4 introduced the Renewable Chemicals Act, which aims to create an allocated tax credit to support the production of biobased chemicals or support investment in production facilities that produce renewable chemicals. The bill would establish a production tax credit for renewable chemicals equal to 15 percent of the sales price of each pound of renewable chemical produced by the taxpayer or for the taxpayer by a contract manufacturer and sold for fair market value. The credit would be reduced for chemicals do not have 100 percent biobased content. Eligible renewable chemicals must be produced in the U.S. using renewable biomass and have at least 95 percent biobased content. Chemicals sold or used for the production of food, feed, fuel or pharmaceuticals would not be eligible. Chemical intermediates, however, would be considered eligible. [ read more … ]

EVs

EV battery prices cross ‘historic milestone’

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

The price of lithium-ion batteries fell for the first time this year to levels that would allow automakers to produce electric vehicles for the same cost as gas cars, according to an analysis this morning by market researcher BloombergNEF. Clean energy analysts have long cited $100 per kilowatt-hour as the crucial price point for lithium-ion battery packs used in EVs. That threshold may have been eclipsed this year in an isolated number of cases involving electric buses and commercial vehicles sold in China, BloombergNEF said. [ read more … ]

Electric Cars Closing In on Gas Guzzlers as Battery Costs Plunge

By David R Baker, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted December 16, 2020

Electric vehicles may cost about the same as their gas-guzzling brethren in just three or four years — and only get cheaper from there, according to a new report from BloombergNEF. Electric cars and buses, which are key to fighting global warming, have long been saddled with bigger up-front costs than those burning gasoline or diesel, due to the cost of batteries. But researchers say that price premium will disappear once battery packs reach $100 per kilowatt-hour — a tipping point BNEF expects to occur in 2023, according to its 2020 Battery Price Survey. [ read more … ]

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