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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE September 30, 2013

Obama admin likely to defend next-generation fuels at Senate hearing

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted September 30, 2013

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be the main attraction at a hearing Thursday on advanced biofuel production, the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee announced last week. Vilsack will constitute the first witness panel at the hearing, which comes as the advanced biofuel sector faces pressure over lower volumes of cellulosic fuel than originally projected in the 2007 renewable fuel standard. A second panel will feature company executives and trade group representatives working to scale up and advocate for advanced biofuel technologies. [ read more … ]

Grover Norquist’s group launches campaign to end the RFS

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted September 30, 2013

A group formed by anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist this week launched a campaign to end the renewable fuel standard, the federal mandate that compels refiners to blend increasing levels of conventional ethanol and advanced biofuel into motor fuel. In a new website, endtheethanolmandate.com, Americans for Tax Reform is urging people to write letters to their lawmakers seeking repeal of the 5-year-old standard. On the site, the group says the RFS is forcing Americans to use a fuel that is unsafe for car engines and costs more than gasoline. [ read more … ]

Vinod Khosla Holds Biofuel Investments Close

By YULIYA CHERNOVA, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted September 30, 2013

The initial public offering is the coveted liquidity event for most venture capitalists. But Vinod Khosla, a stalwart supporter and believer in the promise of the biofuels market, hasn’t taken money off the table in his biofuels portfolio companies that went public in 2010 and 2011. In fact, Mr. Khosla has redoubled his commitment to his largest bet, KiOR Inc.KIOR -8.30%, on Thursday. In a letter filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Khosla committed personally to fund up to $25 million in cash to KiOR, in addition to the $25 million that would come from his firm Khosla Ventures. [ read more … ]

Easing corn prices give relief to the ethanol industry

DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune Updated: September 28, 2013 – 9:37 PM  •    •  Posted September 30, 2013

For more than a year, high corn prices squeezed the profit out of the biofuel. Producers that made money often did so only through sales of secondary products such as the animal feed called “distillers grains’’ left over from corn fermentation. But Minnesota-affiliated ethanol ­companies and the industry tracking service Biofuels Benchmarking say many plants’ fortunes shifted in the second quarter, bringing positive margins back to the core business of making fuel [ read more … ]

Senator presses EPA over alleged ethanol credit market manipulation

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted September 30, 2013

Iowa’s senior senator is pressing U.S. EPA for answers about steps the agency is taking to look into manipulation of the ethanol credit-trading system that was established under the renewable fuel standard. In a letter Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa.) said he was concerned that financial institutions were manipulating the market for renewable identification numbers (RINs), or the credits associated with gallons of ethanol that are available for refiners to trade to meet their annual biofuel requirements. [ read more … ]

DOE-backed study questions life-cycle analyses of carbon footprint

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted September 30, 2013

A new study expresses doubts about the ability of today’s life-cycle analyses to capture the full greenhouse gas impacts of biofuels. Analyses assume enough carbon dioxide is taken up by feedstock plants during their life on the ground to offset emissions released during biofuel production and car use on the road. But the University of Michigan study says current life-cycle analyses — including those used by U.S. EPA to regulate renewable fuels — are “inherently flawed” because they assume that biofuel feedstocks absorb more carbon than whatever else may be growing on the ground. [ read more … ]

EPA confirms Tier 3 delay as lobbyists take their marks

Jason Plautz, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted September 30, 2013

U.S. EPA confirmed today that it won’t finalize a rule that would reduce sulfur in gasoline by year’s end as originally promised but offered assurances that the delay wouldn’t affect the rule’s scheduled 2017 implementation.
Due to the more than 200,000 comments it received, the agency said in a statement it now intends to issue the Tier 3 gasoline standards in February. The rule, which was proposed last March, had been set to be finalized in December, which environmentalists said would allow it to take effect in 2017. [ read more … ]

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