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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE March 20, 2023

Top Story

A Different Kind of Pipeline Project Scrambles Midwest Politics

By Mitch Smith, New York Times  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

Supporters, including some farmers who have signed agreements to have a pipeline buried on their property, frame the ideas being proposed by two companies as a win for both the economy and environment. They say the pipelines, boosted by federal tax credits, including from the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed last year, would lower carbon emissions while aiding the agricultural economy through continued ethanol production. But opponents are concerned about property rights and safety, and are not convinced of the projects’ claimed environmental benefits. They have forged unlikely alliances that have blurred the region’s political lines, uniting conservative farmers with liberal urbanites, white people with Native Americans, small-government Republicans with climate-conscious Democrats. [ read more … ]

Pollution

‘Climate homicide’: Could Big Oil be sued for disaster deaths?

By Lesley Clark, E&E News  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

Can petroleum producers be held criminally responsible for climate-related deaths that occurred after companies allegedly deceived the public about the dangers of burning fossil fuels? A new academic paper says they can, and authors of the research say the novel legal theory — known as “climate homicide” — is already stirring interest from prosecutors. “We have some indication they’re at least listening and curious,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s climate program and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. “To someone who knows the criminal law, there’s a moment of ‘What!?’ and then, ‘It’s OK. It’s not crazy.’“ [ read more … ]

California LCFS

RFA Provides Comments on California LCFS

By Cindy Zimmerman, AgWired  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

The Renewable Fuels Association submitted comments last week to the California Air Resources Board that identified several areas in CARB’s proposal and underlying analysis that need improvement. The top area of improvement cited by RFA Chief Economist Scott Richman is immediate approval of E15 for use in California. “Migrating all E10 to E15 in California today would result in approximately 2 million metric tons annually of additional GHG reductions,” says Richman. [ read more … ]

California Waiver

Biden will let California lead on electric trucks, despite industry protest

By Anna Phillips, Washington Post  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

The Biden administration will approve new California rules to cut tailpipe pollution and phase out sales of diesel-burning trucks, according to three people briefed on the plans, a move that could jump-start the nation’s transition to electric-powered trucks and help communities harmed by diesel pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency intends to grant California “waivers” to enforce environmental rules that are significantly tougher than federal requirements and that state regulators have already approved, said these individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet public. [ read more … ]

Climate

Earth to Hit Critical Warming Threshold by Early 2030s, Climate Panel Says

By Brad Plumer, New York Times  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

Earth is likely to cross a critical threshold for global warming within the next decade, and nations will need to make an immediate and drastic shift away from fossil fuels to prevent the planet from overheating dangerously beyond that level, according to a major new report released on Monday. The report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations, offers the most comprehensive understanding to date of ways in which the planet is changing. It says that global average temperatures are estimated to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels sometime around “the first half of the 2030s,” as humans continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas. [ read more … ]

Makets

Big oil firms touted algae as climate solution. Now all have pulled funding

By Amy Westervelt, The Guardian  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

“It’s very challenging and very expensive to bring these technologies to market,” said George Huber, whose biofuels research at the University of Wisconsin at Madison was funded by Exxon for years. “It’s not gonna happen overnight. It’s great they make these commitments, but you know they need to start putting more capital into these projects.” He added: “They’re driven by Wall Street and they have to keep their stock prices high and keep their shareholders happy. And usually that’s making a large amount of money. All the oil companies have been talking about the need to get into more sustainable things, but it’s hard to make money with. And most of their money comes from oil. [ read more … ]

Escalating Demand for Soybean Oil Hits Possible Slowdown

By Bob Henderson, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

Farmers and refiners are worried that a nascent boom in the market for soybean oil is being stalled by a challenge from an unexpected source: the Environmental Protection Agency.  Prices for soybean oil, a byproduct left over after crushing the beans for animal feed, soared to records last year owing to growing government incentives to make it into diesel fuel. Then, in December, the EPA proposed to mandate less use of biomass-based diesel through 2025 than many had expected, pruning the value of credits the agency issues to makers of biofuels. Soybean oil futures dropped more than 15% in the week after the announcement.  [ read more … ]

EVs

Biden ‘EV revolution’ delayed as utilities, carmakers await critical IRS guidance on Inflation Reduction Act

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

Labor, equity and domestic content rules in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act must not make it too complicated for electric vehicle buyers or force cumbersome sourcing changes on carmakers, stakeholders said. With the IRA’s expanded tax credit and funding, it can move EVs “into the fast lane” by accelerating emergence of a U.S. supply chain and charging infrastructure network, a January Energy Innovation report found. [ read more … ]

Falling Lithium Prices Are Making Electric Cars More Affordable

By Jack Ewing and Clifford Krauss, New York Times  •    •  Posted March 20, 2023

Lithium, the common ingredient in almost all electric-car batteries, has become so precious that it is often called white gold. But something surprising has happened recently: The metal’s price has fallen, helping to make electric vehicles more affordable. Since January, the price of lithium has dropped nearly 20 percent, according to Benchmark Minerals, even as sales of electric vehicles have soared. Cobalt, another important battery material, has fallen by more than half. Copper, essential to electric motors and batteries, has slipped about 18 percent, even though U.S. mines and copper-rich countries like Peru are struggling to increase production. [ read more … ]

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