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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE January 20, 2021

Top Story

Trump Administration Gives 11th Hour Biofuel Waivers to Refiners

By Kim Chipman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted January 20, 2021

The Trump administration granted three oil refineries exemptions from biofuel-blending requirements in a last-minute move, prompting quick rebuke from ethanol and biodiesel producers.
Two of the Environmental Protection Agency waivers apply to the 2019 mandate under the Renewable Fuel Standard, according data posted online. The agency also approved a previously denied 2018 exemption. Another 65 requests are pending, including 15 for 2020. The names of the refineries weren’t disclosed. [ read more … ]

EPA Grants 3 Refinery RFS Exemptions

By Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted January 20, 2021

The Trump administration granted three pending requests for small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2018 and 2019 on Tuesday evening. According to EPA’s RFS dashboard, the agency did not decide on the remaining 30 requests for 2019. In addition, EPA granted one additional request for 2018 and increased the total number of exemption requests from 14 to 15 for 2020. [ read more … ]

U.S. EPA grants three biofuel waivers to refiners before Trump leaves office

By Stephanie Kelly, Reuters  •    •  Posted January 20, 2021

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday granted three waivers to oil refiners that exempt them from U.S. biofuel blending obligations, a last-minute move before President Donald Trump leaves office on Wednesday. The agency granted two waivers for the 2019 compliance year and one waiver for the 2018 compliance year. The announcement followed four years of controversy around the waiver program under the Trump administration, but left many questions unresolved. Some 30 waiver requests remain outstanding for 2019 and 15 for 2020, which the incoming administration of Joe Biden will need to deal with. [ read more … ]

SREs, E15

EPA proposals on E15, RFS waiver draw split reactions

By Spencer Chase, Agri-Pulse  •    •  Posted January 19, 2021

A pair of Environmental Protection Agency propositions on biofuels policy would have differing ramifications for the sector, industry groups argued Friday. The two proposals would separately address labeling of E15 – a fuel blend containing 15% ethanol – and take comment on waiving the nation’s biofuel mandate for the 2019 and 2020 compliance years. The pair are part of a flurry of items expected to be announced by the agency early Friday afternoon. [ read more … ]

EPA proposes to alter E15 labeling requirements, UST regs

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted January 19, 2021

The U.S. EPA on Jan. 15 announced it is proposing changes to E15 fuel dispenser labeling requirements. The agency is also proposing to modify underground storage tank (UST) regulations to accommodate the safe storage of E15 and higher level ethanol blends in retail stations’ existing tanks systems. In the proposed rule, the EPA said it currently requires specific fuel dispenser labels for gasoline blends of greater than E10 and up to E15. The label was designed to alert consumers to the appropriate and lawful use of the fuel, the agency said. [ read more … ]

Ethanol Lobbyists Don’t Want to Be Labeled

By Spencer Jakab, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted January 19, 2021

In the latest scrap over a label, this one for ethanol, things might be going the other way. While corn-based fuel blended into almost all gasoline is mostly a wasteful boondoggle, using too much of it merely endangers the health of your boat, lawn mower or older car, not that of a human being. But advocates for the higher blend called E15, denoting 15% ethanol content, as opposed to the more common E10, are pushing to change or get rid of the labels that appear at the pump altogether. Sen. Joni Ernst from corn-growing Iowa asked the Environmental Protection Agency “to remove the unnecessary labeling.” [ read more … ]

RFA Responds to EPA’s Last-Minute Actions on RFS, E15

By Ken Colombini, RFA  •    •  Posted January 19, 2021

Finally, next Tuesday’s Federal Register will also include a proposal from EPA for removing certain barriers  to expanded sales of E15, a gasoline blend containing 15% ethanol. RFA’s Cooper responds: “RFA is pleased to see that EPA is finally issuing its long-awaited proposal to remove unnecessary barriers to E15 expansion in the marketplace. We have long supported reforms and changes to the E15 pump label, which has deterred American drivers from using the lower-carbon, lower-cost, more-efficient E15 blend. We also agree that EPA’s current regulations regarding the compatibility of underground storage tanks should be revisited and we are pleased to see that issue being addressed in this proposal. We continue to analyze the E15 proposal and are working with the retail sector to understand how these proposed changes may affect the marketplace.” [ read more … ]

The Transition

Secretary Vilsack, Redux

By Urban C Lehner, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted January 20, 2021

Tom Vilsack won’t be the first Secretary of Agriculture to serve under more than one president. James “Tama Jim” Wilson was Secretary of Agriculture from 1897 to 1913 during the presidencies of William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Four other secretaries — Earl Butz, Orville Freeman, Claude Wickard and Henry Cantwell Wallace — served under two presidents. Vilsack, though, will be the only USDA chief under two presidents whose terms didn’t follow each other. The others, including Tama Jim, basically continued in office as the presidency changed hands. In Vilsack’s case, four years under a president of the other party have elapsed since his last day in the Obama administration. [ read more … ]

Carbon Capture

Businesses Aim to Pull Greenhouse Gases From the Air. It’s a Gamble.

By Brad Plumer and Christopher Flavelle, New York Times  •    •  Posted January 19, 2021

Using technology to suck carbon dioxide out of the sky has long been dismissed as an impractical way to fight climate change — physically possible, but far too expensive to be of much use.
But as global warming accelerates and society continues to emit greenhouse gases at a dangerous rate, the idea is gaining support from a surprising source: large companies facing pressure to act on climate. [ read more … ]

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