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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE May 23, 2014

Watchdog wants probe into relaxed fuel regs

By Benjamin Goad, The Hill.com  •    •  Posted May 23, 2014

A watchdog group suggested Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) move to lower the renewable fuel standard came at the behest of big business.
The allegation drew sift rebuke from the EPA, which said the action was the result consultation with a broad range of groups and careful government analysis. In a letter to EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington requests a formal probe into whether Delta Airlines and the Carlyle Group, a Washington-based investment firm improperly influenced the decision. [ read more … ]

Ethics watchdog calls for investigation of EPA assault on renewable fuels

by John Aravosis, AMERICABlog  •    •  Posted May 23, 2014

Now the oil industry is claiming that a component of the licensing of the fuels, called a Renewable Identification Number (RIN), has become too expensive, and that’s the reason the standards must be gutted. Industry advocates say the RIN argument is a red herring, and that Big Oil simply doesn’t like the competition from more climate-friendly fuel alternatives like ethanol blends or biodiesel. And of course, the oil industry hated biofuels long before RINs became the latest flavor of the month. [ read more … ]

Watchdog calls on IG to probe refiners’ influence on proposed RFS rule

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted May 23, 2014

A nonprofit legal watchdog today called on U.S. EPA’s inspector general to launch an investigation into whether groups connected with Pennsylvania refineries improperly influenced the agency over the renewable fuel standard. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said it was concerned that investment firm Carlyle Group and Delta Air Lines Inc. — two entities that acquired refineries near Philadelphia in 2012 — had used their political muscle to influence EPA’s proposal to lower the RFS obligations for refineries. EPA’s proposal in November would represent the first-ever rollback of the nation’s biofuel blending mandate. “Given that the agency’s decision to lower renewable fuel standards is an unprecedented break from past practices, the public has a right to know whether this decision was based on policy or politics,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a statement. “The EPA inspector general should immediately investigate.” [ read more … ]

New D.C. ad push aims to spur support for RFS

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted May 23, 2014

Biofuels supporters this week launched a Memorial Day ad campaign in Washington, D.C., to rally support for the renewable fuel standard. The ads, which connect renewable fuels to lower gas prices, will play this week on a local radio station and on gasoline station monitors inside the Beltway, according to Fuels America, a coalition of biofuels, agriculture and national security interests that support the federal biofuels mandate. [ read more … ]

Obama admin standing its ground on biodiesel rollback — industry group

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted May 23, 2014

The Obama administration is apparently backing the reduced biodiesel target proposed by U.S. EPA last November, according to an industry group closely tracking the issue. In a letter to President Obama yesterday, National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe said his group sees “indications” EPA plans to hold the target at 1.28 billion gallons, well below last year’s actual production of that fuel. On the other hand, he wrote, the administration seems poised to back a small increase in total advanced biofuels that refiners must use this year. [ read more … ]

Branstad signs biofuels bill into law

Globe Gazette Des Moines Bureau  •    •  Posted May 23, 2014

Gov. Terry Branstad traveled to the POET Bio-refining facility in Coon Rapids Wednesday to sign legislation into law that promotes the development of bio-butanol and bio-butanol blended gasoline. Senate File 2344 also modifies the rate of the E-15 promotion tax credit and extends provisions for the biodiesel production refund. Backers say the bill will strengthen and diversify Iowa’s leadership position in the area of biofuels. “Iowa is a biofuels leader in this country and having states step to the plate with legislation supporting America’s Advanced Biofuel, biodiesel, is a win for our industry,” said Steven J. Levy, chairman of the National Biodiesel Board. “Our champions in Iowa have shown that hard work to grow this still-young industry pays off.” [ read more … ]

Green job growth down in first quarter from last year, group says

Joshua Learn, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted May 23, 2014

Idaho, Texas and California lead the pack when it comes to creating the most clean energy and clean transportation jobs for the first part of 2014 — but the numbers are less than half of last year’s, according to a first quarter report by an environmental nonprofit business group. Environmental Entrepreneurs’ (E2) report said that 5,600 new jobs were announced nationwide in the first three months of this year, compared to 12,000 jobs in the same time period last year. Bob Keefe, executive director for E2, used the statistics to criticize Congress for failing to act on key pieces of legislation. [ read more … ]

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