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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE February 16, 2021

Top Story

‘A dump for seed corn companies’ — Mead residents worry what comes next for troubled ethanol plant

By Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

As a 24-year member of Mead’s planning commission, Jody Weible signed off on the 2006 conditional use permit for E3 Biofuels — AltEn’s predecessor — to power an ethanol plant with methane collected from a neighboring cattle feed yard and in turn produce fuel and nutritious feed for cattle. She was also on the commission when it approved AltEn’s conditional use permit in 2014 as new ownership sought to restart operations after acquiring the plant in a bankruptcy sale. At no time, Weible said, was the planning commission told the ethanol plant they were permitting would differ from the two dozen other ethanol plants in Nebraska, which buy harvested corn to turn into fuel. [ read more … ]

Biofuel Policy Initiatives

Farm interests, fuel retailers battle over Gov. Kim Reynolds’ plan to require higher ethanol, biofuel blends

By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

Some powerful industries have begun battling over Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposal to set a renewable fuel standard in Iowa, a move that would require retailers to offer motor fuel with higher levels of ethanol and biodiesel. A new group called the Fuel Choice Coalition, which includes Iowa-based convenience store giants Casey’s and Kum & Go, along with trucking and transportation businesses, is slamming the governor’s bill. The group says the legislation would reduce consumer choice, raise prices for Iowa motorists and cost retailers at least $1 billion to upgrade their pumps, tanks and other infrastructure to meet the mandate. [ read more … ]

Iowa proposes state ethanol mandate, drawing unusual political battle lines

By Erin Murphy, Sioux City Journal  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds is proposing Iowa’s very own ethanol mandate. The proposal has drawn unusual lines in the lobbying sand, with renewable fuels groups pitted against gas stations and at least one conservative, free market-minded advocacy organization. [ read more … ]

Walz urges Biden to support biofuels through 2 executive orders

By Erin Voegele, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

Gov. Tim Walz, chair of the Governors’ Biofuel Coalition, on Feb. 10 sent a letter to President Biden urging him to issue executive orders banning the use of aromatics in gasoline and adopting new Renewable Fuel Standard regulations. “As you begin your critical work to address climate change and promote economic opportunity, I encourage you to work with states on making biofuels a key component of addressing transportation sector emissions,” Walz wrote. “Biofuels are especially important in the near term as we begin the necessary transition into a carbon-neutral transportation sector. And they provide significant opportunity for economic growth and investment across rural America.” [ read more … ]

Governor’s Biofuels Coalition Asks President Biden to Support Biofuels Sector

By News Dakota  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

The coalition includes governors from 22 states throughout the U.S., including Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, who led this week’s action in a letter to President Biden. Walz states, “the once flourishing industry is now in jeopardy, threatened by trade wars, a litigious petroleum industry, and shrinking demand caused by the pandemic.” The letter noted that technological advances will significantly benefit the nation overall, but could have a devastating impact on the ethanol industry. The governor proposed two administrative actions to ease that transition, including an executive order banning the use of aromatics in gasoline, and adopting new Renewable Fuel Standard regulations. [ read more … ]

RFS

Study: RFS Has Slashed GHG Emissions by Nearly a Billion Metric Tons to Date

By Ken Colombini, RFA  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

A new analysis from a renowned carbon accounting firm finds that the greenhouse gas emission reductions achieved under the Renewable Fuel Standard far exceed the reductions originally projected by EPA. Between 2008 and 2020, the use of biofuels under the RFS has resulted in cumulative savings of 980 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. [ read more … ]

Ernst Urges Biden Administration to Recognize Environmental Benefits of Biofuel

By AJ Taylor, KIOW  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

After a new report found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46% lower than gasoline, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) – a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee – is pushing the Biden Administration to acknowledge the environmental benefits of biofuel and to use the data as part of their policymaking. Ernst is helping reintroduce bipartisan legislation that will require the Biden Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel and to fully recognize biofuel’s environmental benefits. [ read more … ]

Commentary

The RFS Stands Before the Supreme Court

By Jonathan Coppess, University of Illinois  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) will soon stand before the Supreme Court of the United States in its most high-profile case to date.  The question presented to the Supreme Court is an exceedingly narrow matter of statutory interpretation regarding the proper meaning of the words of Congress for the granting of an extension of an exemption from the mandate.  So narrow, in fact, the case begs further questions about whether the Supreme Court is looking at other matters such as the issue of standing for interest group litigants. [ read more … ]

EVs

E.V.s Force Carmakers to Reinvent the Wheel, and Brakes, and Mirrors …

By Stephen Williams, New York Times  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

Taking a cue from its Swedish colleagues at Volvo and the pragmatic views of automotive product planners worldwide, General Motors roiled the international automobile industry last week by proclaiming that all its cars will go pure electric by 2035. The pronouncement is likely to apply more pressure on more automakers, both in the United States and abroad, to beef up their electric efforts, and on the fossil fuel industry to find alternatives to its oil and gasoline products. [ read more … ]

The New Electric Vehicles Now Hitting the Road

By Ben Foldy, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

For car companies with big electric ambitions, 2021 is going to be a make or break year. More than a dozen new electric-vehicle models are set to arrive in U.S. showrooms this year as Silicon Valley-inspired startups and established auto makers like General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG VOW -1.04% show drivers the results of billions in spending on the technology. For consumers, that’s going to mean more plug-in options on the new car lot than ever before. But whether car makers can persuade buyers to ditch fossil fuels for good is still uncertain. [ read more … ]

Off Topic

Pruitt: Trump asked, ‘Should we shut down the agency?’

By Kevin Bogardus, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted February 15, 2021

Former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt delved into his legacy at his official portrait unveiling last month and recalled discouraging Donald Trump, then the president-elect, from shutting down the agency. He remembered meeting with Trump as the incoming administration was being put together, including who would lead EPA, a position Pruitt was later nominated for.
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Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.