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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE March 6, 2022

Top Story

Biden administration studying whether biofuel waiver could ease food inflation -sources

By Jarrett Renshaw, Reuters  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

President Joe Biden’s administration is studying whether waiving biofuel blending mandates could help offset a surge in prices for key food ingredients like corn and soy oil following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two sources familiar with the matter said. The nation’s biofuel policy, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), requires U.S. oil refiners to blend billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol, soy-based diesel, and other biofuels into fuel each year or purchase credits from those that do, a law intended to help farmers and ease energy imports. [ read more … ]

RFS

Under Pressure To Revise Estimates, EPA Mulls Lifecycle Biofuel GHGs

By Stuart Parker, Inside EPA News  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

EPA held a virtual workshop on biofuels’ lifecycle GHG emissions Feb. 28 and March 1, during which officials and a host of experts weighed different techniques to determine the properties of various biofuels, including corn ethanol, which remains the country’s dominant biofuel. Agency officials did not support changes to EPA’s methodology, but invited an ongoing conversation with stakeholders on the controversial topic. “We are not going to make a decision today,” one EPA staffer told the meeting, adding that the agency encourages the public to “continue to supply input.” At issue is EPA’s existing model to estimate GHG emissions from biofuels, which industry advocates say is decades out of date and contradicts newer estimates from the Department of Energy (DOE), California air regulators, Harvard University and others. While EPA has stuck by its earlier, lower estimates of GHG savings, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has endorsed the GREET model. Various pro-ethanol lawmakers of both parties have urged EPA to adopt GREET, with some advancing draft legislation to achieve this. [ read more … ]

E15

Ag, Biofuels Groups Ask Biden to Expand E15 Availability in Response to Rising Gas Prices

By Todd Neeley, DTN Staff reporter  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

As the Biden administration reportedly considers the possibility of an easing of Renewable Fuel Standard volumes in response to rising food prices, a group of biofuels and agriculture groups have asked the White House to restore year-round E15 availability even on an emergency basis to combat rising gasoline prices. A Reuters story on Thursday, citing unnamed sources, indicated Biden has the RFS on the table as a way to respond to rising food prices. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said this week he supports a hike in interest rates in response to the highest inflation rate in 40 years at 7.5%. [ read more … ]

Emissions

EPA science advisers unanimously back tighter soot limits

By Sean Reilly, E&E News  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

It’s not a question of whether national soot standards will be tightened, but by how much — a decision with sizable implications for Americans’ health and industry regulations. The choice is now up to EPA Administrator Michael Regan. An agency advisory panel unanimously approved a series of recommendations for Regan to consider in setting new standards that in one key specific go beyond the conclusions of EPA career staff. [ read more … ]

EPA

Inside the Trump EPA’s final moves on climate

By Kevin Bogardus, E&E News  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

Top officials at President Trump’s EPA scrambled to leave a lasting legacy on climate change policy in the administration’s final hours, records show. Emails obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act shed more light on the Trump EPA’s final days, when officials clambered to advance climate policy with then-Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s signature. Records also show how the agency under President Biden responded, gathering its top appointees and pulling back Wheeler’s moves, resulting in litigation and regulatory limbo. [ read more … ]

Carbon Capture

Have a Carbon Cocktail: Entrepreneurs Find Surprising Uses for Captured CO2

By Benoît Morenne, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

Consumers will need reassurance that some of these new products are safe, says Volker Sick, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan and director of the Global CO2 Initiative, a research group that seeks to make carbon capture and use mainstream. “This is somewhat of a problem—not that we haven’t done this on a large scale with many industries over the centuries, but because we have to do it really fast,” he says. Here are some of the latest efforts to make use of captured carbon. [ read more … ]

Markets

California Gasoline Hits Record $4.94 Amid Russia Oil Fallout

By Sheela Tobben, E&E News  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

California, already paying record prices for motor fuel, is set to shell out even more with the Golden State more exposed to surging oil prices than the rest of the country in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  Diesel prices at the pump rose to a record high $5.185 a gallon on Thursday, according to auto club AAA. The state’s gasoline also rose to fresh record of $4.94 a gallon while San Francisco prices topped $5, AAA said.   [ read more … ]

Bid to ban Russian oil imports gains steam on Capitol Hil

By Jeremy Dillon, Emma Dumain, E&E News  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

While Capitol Hill is coalescing around legislation to block Russian energy, the White House is rejecting the idea, saying such actions could disrupt the global supply of oil and natural gas. The disconnect is likely to have major implications for how quickly a supplemental aid package to Ukraine can move through Congress, despite the growing bipartisan momentum behind additional financial punishment for Russia’s invasion. [ read more … ]

Renewable Energy

Here comes the sun: Wind, solar power account for record 13% of U.S. energy in 2021

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

“It was not that long ago that critics of clean energy would snicker and say that its contributions amounted to a rounding error compared to total generation,” said Ethan Zindler of the Americas for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “That’s definitely no longer the case. Anyone who still calls clean energy ‘alternative energy’ is just so, so 2009.” Renewable energy production, predominantly from hydroelectric dams, solar arrays and wind turbines, grew more than 4% year-over-year in 2021. When nuclear energy is added, carbon-neutral energy sources met 40% of U.S. demand. [ read more … ]

EVs

EV buyers face long waits, price hikes above sticker cost

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News  •    •  Posted March 6, 2022

A shortage of electric vehicles nationwide is triggering long waits and driving up prices — pushing many buyers to pay thousands of dollars more than the list price to get their cars. Plug-in electric vehicles offered by Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Kia and Ford are among those selling at a premium, said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds, a car shopping website with access to dealer records. The average amounts paid over the sticker price range from about $1,500 more for the Ford Mustang Mach-E to more than $4,600 extra for the Mercedes-Benz EQS. [ read more … ]

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