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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE January 19, 2021

Top Story

Outgoing Trump admin mulls industry-wide biofuel waiver for oil refiners

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

Last Friday, the Trump administration announced it’s considering requests from the oil refining industry and its backers for a sweeping nationwide waiver to exempt them from their obligations to blend biofuels, a measure they argue would help them weather the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting comment on the potential general waiver for the 2019 and 2020 compliance years and also is proposing a new rule that would remove or alter the labeling for retail gasoline that contains higher ethanol blends, according to notices to be published to the Federal Register on Tuesday. [ read more … ]

SREs

Trump Aims to End Ethanol Warnings in Biofuel Policy Blitz

By Jennifer A Dlouhy and Kim Chipman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

The Trump administration advanced a flurry of biofuel policy proposals Friday, including plans that could help ethanol producers sell more of the corn-based fuel. Final decisions about those possible changes to biofuel-blending mandates and warning labels at pumps dispensing higher-ethanol E15 gasoline will now fall to President-elect Joe Biden. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposals ensure the Biden administration will inherit battles over 16-year-old requirements to blend renewable fuels into gasoline and diesel that bedeviled President Donald Trump. [ read more … ]

EPA proposes extended deadline for blending at small refineries

Marc Heller, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

EPA proposed new labeling requirements for E15 fuel, which is 15% ethanol. The labels on gas pumps warn of potential damage to engines in cars built before 2000, as well as to smaller engines in boats, lawn mowers and other equipment. The proposed rule is to be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 19 and will be open to public comment for 90 days. In response to biofuel industry complaints that the current labels scare customers away from the higher-ethanol fuel, the agency said it’s weighing two choices: to clarify and, in some cases, soften the language on the labels, and to change their color from orange to blue and white. [ read more … ]

EPA Seeks Comment on E15, RFS Waivers

By  Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

EPA wants the public to comment on whether the agency should consider a general waiver of Renewable Fuel Standard blend requirements for oil refiners. The agency on Friday released a set of proposals to consider a number of petitions by states to waive Renewable Fuel Standard requirements for small refiners and to make changes to E15 pump labels. Both the request for comments on a general waiver and changes to E15 labels will be posted for comment in the Federal Register on Jan. 19. [ read more … ]

Iowa leaders: Trump waivers for big oil would be ‘devastating blow’ for ethanol, farmers

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

Midwest congressional leaders worry the outgoing Trump administration will sign off on oil company waivers that dampen demand for ethanol, biodiesel and other renewable fuels. Iowa is the nation’s largest ethanol and biodiesel producer, and Iowa-grown corn and soybeans are a major raw ingredient in the fuels. Iowa’s U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst were among those saying in a letter Thursday to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler that the move would be “a devastating blow to biofuel producers and the farmers who sell to them.” [ read more … ]

RFS

Grassley shudders at Hill reopening renewable fuels law

By Marc Heller, E&E News  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

 To Sen. Chuck Grassley, only one prospect may be scarier than putting the politics of ethanol before the Supreme Court: letting his colleagues in Congress vote on it. “By bringing it up, you could open up a can of worms,” Grassley told reporters on a conference call last week. [ read more … ]

EPA finalizes determination on RFS anti-backsliding study

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

The U.S. EPA is scheduled to publish a notice in the Federal Register on Jan. 15 announcing its final anti-backsliding determination for renewable fuels and air quality. The agency said it has determined no additional measures are necessary to mitigate the adverse air quality impacts of the renewable fuel volumes required under the Renewable Fuel Standard. [ read more … ]

The Transition

Janet McCabe gets nod for deputy administrator

By Kevin Bogardus, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Janet McCabe to be EPA’s deputy administrator. If confirmed, she would be a familiar face at EPA. McCabe joined the agency in 2009 as the principal deputy to Gina McCarthy, then the head of EPA’s air office, who will now lead Biden’s new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. McCabe then led the air office on an acting basis from 2013 to 2017. President Obama nominated McCabe for the assistant administrator position, but she was never confirmed by the Senate. [ read more … ]

Commentary

We led a 50-50 Senate. Sharing power is so much harder now.

By Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, Washington Post  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

The last time Senate Democrats and Republicans were split 50-50 was two decades ago. As the chamber’s party leaders, it was our responsibility to accommodate this unusual situation. Coming to an agreement was a thorny process then, and it will be even harder now, with nerves made raw by the fatal Jan. 6 Capitol riot and President Trump’s second impeachment. As a result, the hurdles that Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) face are more onerous. Given our experiences, we foresee five main difficulties that will require, at the outset of the new Congress, careful attention and negotiation in good faith. [ read more … ]

Markets

Tired of Waiting on Washington, Ethanol CEO Bets on Animal Feed

By Kim Chipman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

Green Plains Inc. Chief Executive Officer Todd Becker is getting closer to his goal of never having to worry about U.S. ethanol policy again. Instead of awaiting Washington’s next move in the industry’s battle with Big Oil for share of gasoline tanks, Becker is working to transform Green Plains into an agricultural technology company focused on extracting more oil and high-value proteins from corn, with ethanol merely a byproduct. [ read more … ]

Dozens of ethanol plants remain idle in early 2021

By Jerry Perkins, Successful Farming  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently estimated that about two dozen of the 200 ethanol plants in the U.S. are idled and another two dozen have reduced their production rates.
Additionally, Scott Richman, chief economist for the RFA, noted, “The corn market started moving higher a month ago and has spiked over the past couple of days.” With the higher prices of corn and the worsening impact of the pandemic on fuel consumption, ethanol plant margins turned negative in early December, he said, and had recently started to return to break-even levels when the most recent corn price spike hit. “This latest move in the corn rally will likely have a negative impact on margins,” he stated. [ read more … ]

Climate

Survey Finds Majority of Voters Support Initiatives to Fight Climate Change

By John Schwartz, New York Times  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

A majority of registered voters of both parties in the United States support initiatives to fight climate change, including many that are outlined in the climate plans announced by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to a new survey. The survey, which was conducted after the presidential election, suggests that a majority of Americans in both parties want a government that deals forcefully with climate change instead of denying its urgency — or denying that it exists. [ read more … ]

EVs

Tesla Might Finally Have Some Competition. From Ford.

By Neal E. Boudette, New York Times  •    •  Posted January 18, 2021

A few weeks before Christmas, San Tan Ford, a dealership in the Phoenix area, invited car buyers to gawk at the Mustang Mach-E, a highly anticipated electric car that Ford Motor recently started selling. The event drew some 200 people, many driving BMWs, Audis, Subarus and other brands San Tan rarely gets as trade-ins. Ten people put down deposits for a Mach-E — including three who arrived in Teslas. [ read more … ]

 

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