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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE May 3, 2021

Top Story

The Puzzling Battle Over Ethanol in Iowa

By Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

Having lived in Southwest Iowa and reported on the state as a journalist since 1998, ethanol’s growth has spurred the rural economy and kept farmers and other agribusinesses afloat. The steady supply of corn demand throughout the year, the expansion of commercial and on-farm bins, the outflow of the ethanol and the distilled grains — all of this has been buoyed by policies that promote renewable fuel. But Iowa’s Legislature is caught between the economic engine of renewable energy and the convenience stores that dot the landscape of the state as well — Casey’s, Kum & Go. With thousands of stores each, state lawmakers are probably more likely to have a convenience store in their district than an ethanol plant. [ read more … ]

State Initiatives

The Iowa Legislature was supposed to be done by now. So what’s the holdup? Here are 7 unsettled issues

By Stephen Gruber-Miller, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

Reynolds proposed a bill this year that would require Iowa truck stops, gas stations and convenience stores to offer fuel with higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. But she and legislative leaders have acknowledged they may not get to a deal this year, as various industry groups continue to have concerns with the bill. “Unfortunately, I don’t get everything I want,” Reynolds told reporters Wednesday. “I try my hardest but it’s just a reality of the legislative process. So we won’t give up on it but if I can’t get it through we’ll continue to look for ways that we can continue to build the industry.” [ read more … ]

Biden Administration

Biden faces pressure to drive gasoline and diesel cars out of the US

By Oliver Milman, The Guardian  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

“I would love to see President Biden set a goal of 60% of sales to be electric cars by 2030, before all electric sales in 2035,” said Margo Oge, a former director of transportation air quality at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “We can’t wait any longer, we have run out of time with climate change and we need car companies to start making that transformation now.” Oge said the phase-outs by California and Washington state are “very powerful” but that a national mandate was crucial if the US is to meet its emissions goals and help stave off disastrous climate change. Transportation is the largest source of emissions in the US and the increasing longevity of modern vehicles means it would take at least 15 years to phase out polluting cars once sales of them are halted. [ read more … ]

Biden Open to Options on Spending as Congress Takes Over

By Nancy Cook, Laura Davison and Erik Wasson, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion vision of remaking the federal government’s role in the U.S. economy is now in the hands of Congress, where both parties see a higher chance of at least some compromise than for the administration’s pandemic-relief bill. The president at this point is open to various possibilities to pass his proposals, including breaking them into multiple bills, according to a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity. While the “American Families Plan” that twins social spending with individual tax hikes is a non-starter for Republicans, parts of the infrastructure-focused “American Jobs Plan” have been embraced by the GOP. [ read more … ]

Background: HollyFrontier

Justices and litigants spar over whether renewable-fuel law creates a “funnel” or a “safety valve”

By Emily Hammond, SCOTUSblog  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

The outcome of the case will most likely hinge on the justices’ views of what matters most for statutory interpretation. Referencing the safety valve-versus-funnel debate, Kagan summed up the parties’ two competing views of congressional purpose and posed the question: “How do we choose?” By the end of Tuesday’s arguments, the justices had revealed no clear answer to Kagan’s question. They have two months before the end of the term to try to find one. [ read more … ]


GM Spending on Mexico Electric Vehicle Plant Angers US Union

By The Associated Press  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

An announcement by General Motors that it would invest more than $1 billion at a Mexican factory that will build electric vehicles has angered the United Auto Workers union. GM said Thursday in Spanish on its Mexican website that it would make the investment at its Ramos Arizpe plant, which will become its fifth factory to make battery-powered vehicles. Three others are in the U.S., with another in Canada. [ read more … ]


Warren Buffett Says Bad Leaders Pose Biggest Risk to Companies

By Chip Cutter, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

“You get a guy or a woman in charge of it—they’re personable, the directors like ’em—they don’t know what they’re doing. But they know how to put on an appearance. That’s the biggest single danger,” Mr. Buffett said. “I would rather throw a viper down my shirtfront than hire a compensation consultant,” Mr. Munger once said. [ read more … ]

Greg Abel, Warren Buffett’s Heir Apparent, Led Berkshire Hathaway’s Renewable-Energy Push

By Andrew Bary, Barron’s  •    •  Posted May 3, 2021

Buffett has called Berkshire Hathaway Energy one of the company’s “jewels” with annual earnings rising from $122 million in the 21 years that Berkshire has owned it. Before becoming CEO of the unit, Abel was president from 1998 to 2008, having joined the company in 1992. Berkshire Hathaway Energy has substantial wherewithal to make investments because unlike public electric utilities, which often pay out half of their profits to shareholders, it pays no dividends to Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway Energy has become one of the largest owners of renewable energy, with a portfolio of wind and solar electric generation capacity of nearly 12,000 megawatts at year-end 2020. [ read more … ]

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