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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE January 25, 2021

Top Story

Residents say Nebraska ethanol plant is spreading ‘poison’ and making them sick

By Nancy Gaarder, Omaha World Herald  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

The problem, some locals contend, is the foul-smelling, pesticide-laden corn waste from the town’s AltEn Ethanol plant, which opened in 2015. The corn waste has been either stockpiled there or spread as compost on nearby fields. No one has studied whether the pesticide in the waste made people sick — or proven that it killed the bees. But residents of Mead, which is about 12 miles west of Omaha’s city limits, say they fear that AltEn’s waste is causing health problems, contaminating the land and harming wildlife. They also worry that it could seep into the aquifer that supplies drinking water to rural wells, small communities and both Lincoln and Omaha. [ read more … ]


Senators ask Biden administration to reverse latest ethanol waivers

By Iowa Gazzette  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

Iowa’s senators expressed their unhappiness with three ethanol waivers granted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday, in the waning hours of the Trump administration. “I’m disappointed that on his way out the door, EPA Administrator (Andrew) Wheeler decided to grant three more harmful, so-called small refinery exemptions,” Sen. Joni Ernst said in a statement. [ read more … ]


Restoring Environmental Rules Rolled Back by Trump Could Take Years

By Coral Davenport, New York Times  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

President Biden, vowing to restore environmental protections frayed over the past four years, has ordered the review of more than 100 rules and regulations on air, water, public lands, endangered species and climate change that were weakened or rolled back by his predecessor. But legal experts warn that it could take two to three years — and in some cases, most of Mr. Biden’s term — to put many of the old rules back in place.
[ read more … ]

Hometown pollution shaped the next EPA chief

By Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

It’s 6 miles as the crow flies from the childhood home of Michael Regan to the shuttered coal plant that helped light up this city of 35,000 people. During the 1980s, the plant’s three coal-fired generators were industrial monoliths on the edge of town, pulsing out nearly 400 megawatts of electric power to Wayne County and east-central North Carolina. It was also when Regan, the first Black man nominated to lead EPA, had his first asthma attacks, a condition triggered by heat, allergens and air pollution. [ read more … ]

Biden to Name Obama Administration Veteran as EPA Chief of Staff

By Ari Natter, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

The Biden administration is poised to name Dan Utech, who worked on climate change and energy issues during the Obama years, as the Environmental Protection Agency’s chief of staff. He’s the founder of Climate Strategies, a consulting firm that advises non-governmental organizations on climate change policy and advocacy. Utech, who worked on climate change and energy issues during the Obama years [ read more … ]


Iowa’s ethanol production falls by 500 million gallon as Americans drive less due to COVID-19

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

Iowa ethanol plants produced 500 million fewer gallons last year compared to 2019 as remote work and learning because of the coronavirus caused a steep drop in Americans’ daily travel.
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said on Thursday that the state’s ethanol plants produced 3.7 billion gallons in 2020, 12% fewer than in 2019. It was the second consecutive year production fell after hitting a record 4.35 billion gallons in 2018. [ read more … ]

Boeing says its fleet will be able to fly on 100% biofuel by 2030

By Eric M. Johnson, Reuters  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

Boeing Co said on Friday it will begin delivering commercial airplanes capable of flying on 100% biofuel by the end of the decade, calling reducing environmental damage from fossil fuels the “challenge of our lifetime.” Boeing’s goal – which requires advances to jet systems, raising fuel-blending requirements, and safety certification by global regulators – is central to a broader industry target of slashing carbon emissions in half by 2050, the U.S. planemaker said. [ read more … ]

U.S. oil refiners set for worst earnings quarter of the pandemic

By Laura Sanicola, Reuters  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

U.S. refiners are girding for a painful slate of fourth-quarter earnings, reflecting the pressure of rising crude prices, weak demand due to renewed COVID-19 travel restrictions, and higher costs of associated with blending of renewable fuels into their products. Seven U.S. independent refiners are projected to post an average earnings-per-share loss of $1.51, down from a loss of $1.06 in the third quarter of 2020, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Both Credit Suisse and Tudor Pickering Holt cut lowered the price estimates of every U.S. independent refiner for the fourth quarter. [ read more … ]

Brazil reaches out to Biden amid ethanol trade spat

By Bill Tomson, Agri-Pulse  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

Brazil is making it known that the Bolsonaro administration wants a strong relationship with the U.S., but the friendly words come amid rising U.S. frustration over Brazil’s ethanol tariffs. “We are sure that, from this day on, with the presidential inauguration, our governments will have the opportunity to know each other better, undo misunderstandings and work together,” said Brazilian Ambassador to the U.S. Nestor Forster in a statement issued by the embassy. [ read more … ]


Buttigieg’s Climate Promises: What Could He Actually Do?

By Brad Plumer, New York Times  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden’s choice to lead the Department of Transportation, vowed to make climate change a top priority during his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday. But that raises a question: How much can a transportation secretary realistically do to reduce emissions from America’s vast fleet of cars, trucks and airplanes — all of which the agency oversees, to varying degrees? [ read more … ]

Washington Insider: Measuring Social Costs of Carbon

By Washington Insider, DTN Progressive Farmer  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

Measuring the cost to society – real and potential – from greenhouse gas impacts affects how regulators weigh the costs versus benefits of proposed rules. If a rule change would increase emissions, the social costs of carbon are multiplied by the number of extra tons of greenhouse gases expected and added to estimates of the rule’s costs. If a rule would lower emissions, the figure derived gets added to the benefits ledger. [ read more … ]


Column: Biden should revisit China trade deal to weed out problem spots for U.S. agriculture

By Karen Braun, Reuters  •    •  Posted January 24, 2021

U.S. grain and oilseed producers cheered when the United States signed the Phase 1 trade deal with China a year ago, as it suggested one of their most crucial customers would be back in the American market in a bigger way than ever before. But while the deal delights U.S. farmers and exporters, its short-sighted nature could end up being harmful to domestic users of grain and other commodities, and those effects could ultimately hurt consumers. [ read more … ]


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