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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE January 26, 2021

Top Story

Surging Grain Prices Fuel Surprise Farm Recovery

By Jesse Newman, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

The rising commodity prices are rippling through the food chain, helping drive a sharp increase in U.S. farm income and lifting the prospects for a swath of rural businesses, from grain traders to equipment manufacturers and fertilizer suppliers. At the same time, the revival in the grain sector is boosting costs and pressuring profit margins for producers of food and fuel that soak up vast quantities of U.S. corn and soybeans each year, and likely will drive increases in food prices for consumers, some food executives say. It is a dramatic reversal from recent years in which bumper harvests swelled U.S. grain supplies, pushing prices lower and slashing farmers’ incomes. A wave of bankruptcies swept Midwestern farms, followed by trade disputes and the coronavirus pandemic, which deepened farmers’ struggles. [ read more … ]

Biden Administration

Which Biden agencies will prioritize climate? Here’s a hint

By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

President Biden has promised to fight climate change with the full force of the federal government, but a series of confirmation hearings last week suggest the issue would be less of a priority for some agencies — particularly in the national security realm. Nominees to lead the Treasury, State and Transportation departments used their hearings to preview the administration’s clean energy agenda. The nominees said an infrastructure blitz would be the major avenue for climate policy, though many details — including how to fund it — remain unresolved. Electric vehicles would be top priority, even beyond the Transportation Department. And the world of energy financing can expect major changes. [ read more … ]

Biden EPA asks DOJ to hit pause on defense of Trump-era rules

By Rebecca Beitsch, The Hill  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking the government to pump the brakes in its defense of Trump-era environmental rollbacks in court. In a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained by The Hill, EPA’s acting general counsel Melissa Hoffer asks government lawyers to hit pause on cases where the previous administration has been challenged by environmental groups. [ read more … ]

States

Evers Administration Seeks Outside Firm To Prosecute PFAS Polluters

By Danielle Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday that his administration is seeking an outside law firm to help the state prosecute companies responsible for PFAS contamination in Wisconsin. The move is part of an effort to hold corporate polluters responsible under the state’s PFAS Action Plan, which was released in December.  Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, have raised concerns because they don’t break down easily in the environment. The chemicals are found in firefighting foam and everyday products. Studies have linked PFAS to thyroid disease, reproductive health issues and kidney and testicular cancers. [ read more … ]

Markets

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 … ]

Boeing eyes jets fueled by waste in race to zero emissions

By Julie Johnsson, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

Boeing Co. set a target of designing and certifying its jetliners to fly on 100% sustainable fuels by 2030 amid rising pressure on plane-makers to get serious about climate change. Regulators currently allow a 50-50 blend of sustainable and conventional fuels, and Boeing said Friday it would work with authorities to raise the limit. Rival Airbus SE is considering another tack: a futuristic lineup of hydrogen-powered aircraft that would reach the skies by 2035. [ read more … ]

EIA: Ethanol production up slightly, stocks down

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

U.S. ethanol production was up less than 1 percent the week ending Jan. 15 while weekly ending stocks were down slightly, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Jan. 22. U.S. ethanol production averaged 945,000 barrels per day the week ending Jan. 15, up 4,000 barrels per day when compared to the 941,000 barrels per day produced during the previous week. When compared to the same week of last year, production was down 104,000 barrels per day. [ read more … ]

Commentary

Electric Car Quotas Have a High Cost

By C. Boyden Gray, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted January 26, 2021

President Biden can’t mandate that we all drive electric cars, but he’s opening the gates to an electric Trojan horse. In a day-one executive order, Mr. Biden began the process of rescinding a Trump administration rule, the first step toward greenlighting California’s electric car agenda. California and like-minded states plan to impose electric cars through production quotas—whether drivers want the cars or not. [ read more … ]

EVs

All EVs by 2035? Report shows roadblocks

By David Ferris, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

Even as anticipation builds that President Biden will go big on building electric vehicle infrastructure, a new study out of California shows the need might be bigger than anyone thought. This study, an update by the California Energy Commission on the state’s EV charging needs, is the first to try to game out the implications of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s earthshaking order to ban the sale of internal-combustion engines by 2035. The short answer: Charging stations will need to propagate like rabbits, and electricity demand will drastically shift. [ read more … ]

‘Blank check’ deals pull electric carmakers to public markets

By Ed Ludlow and Crystal Tse, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted January 25, 2021

Until June last year, Tesla Inc. was the only dedicated electric carmaker based in the U.S. on the stock market. Then special purpose acquisition companies took over Wall Street. SPACs, or blank-check companies, are shell vehicles that raise money to take a private company public via a reverse merger. Unlike traditional initial public offerings, SPAC deals allow listing candidates to market financial projections to investors, a perk for earlier stage companies that have yet to prove their business model. Electric-vehicle companies, many of which are yet to launch commercial products, have taken advantage of that. Nikola Corp. was the first high profile one to go public via a SPAC listing, followed by others including Lordstown Motors Corp., Fisker Inc. and Canoo Inc. [ read more … ]

 

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