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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE December 14, 2014

Senate passes $1.1T funding bill

By Rebecca Shabad and Alexander Bolton, The Hill.com  •    •  Posted December 14, 2014

The Senate voted 56-40 late Saturday evening to pass a $1.1 trillion spending package that funds most of the government through next September. The vote culminates a week of acrimonious sniping and sends the spending bill to President Obama’s desk for a signature. [ read more … ]

CARB Eases LCFS’ Corn Ethanol ‘Penalty’ But Fails To Placate Industry

By Curt Barry, Inside EPA  •    •  Posted December 14, 2014

California air board officials are proposing to slightly lower the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimated to come from indirect land-use change (ILUC) caused by corn-ethanol production under the state’s low carbon fuel standard (LCFS). But the board’s revised plan is doing little to placate the ethanol industry, which says the revised factor should at least be halved because officials are not accounting for new studies showing a lower impact from land-use changes. California Air Resources Board (CARB) officials last week unveiled their latest draft proposal to amend the LCFS regulation in several ways, including by lowering the ILUC factor for corn ethanol while revising it for several other biofuels, including sugarcane ethanol, soy biodiesel, canola biodiesel, sorghum ethanol and palm biodiesel. CARB is scheduled to release a final proposal by Dec. 16 and adopt the amendments in February. [ read more … ]

New CARD Study on Indirect Land Use Change

by Cindy Zimmerman, Domestic Fuel  •    •  Posted December 14, 2014

A new analysis of real-world land use data by Iowa State University raises serious concerns about the accuracy of models used by regulatory agencies regarding “indirect land use changes” (ILUC) attributed to biofuels production.The study, conducted by Prof. Bruce Babcock and Zabid Iqbal at ISU’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), examined actual observed global land use changes in the period spanning from 2004 to 2012 and was compared to predictions from the economic models used by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop ILUC penalty factors for regulated biofuels. The report concluded that farmers around the world have responded to higher crop prices in the past decade by using available land resources more efficiently rather than expanding the amount of land brought into production. [ read more … ]

Comment: Indirect land use change: ARB needs evidence, not theory

BY STEVE SHAFFER, Capitol Weekly  •    •  Posted December 14, 2014

When the Greek philosopher Aristotle presented fellow scholars with empirical evidence and scientific proof that the world was round—not flat—around 330 BC, he was called a lunatic and a charlatan. Aristotle’s contemporaries were so blinded by their own preconceptions about a Flat Earth that not even a Hubble Telescope photo of our spherical world could have convinced them otherwise. More than two millennia later, Sacramento has its own version of the Flat Earth Society—the California Air Resources Board (ARB). Only this time, the debate isn’t over the shape of the Earth; it’s over an obscure regulatory concept known as Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC), a component of the state’s Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS). [ read more … ]

Can a state fill a budget gap with a price on carbon? Wash. may soon know 

Scott Detrow, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted December 14, 2014

On Wednesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will unveil a new plan to lower his state’s greenhouse gas emissions. And while the Democrat hasn’t tipped his hand on whether he’ll push for a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax, Inslee and his administration have dropped several hints about how they’ll likely frame the carbon pricing plan as a way to help solve the state’s budget deficit. In an era where states have legalized everything from gambling to recreational marijuana as a way to raise budget revenue, Washington’s upcoming carbon fight may provide a road map for how state legislatures choose to comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Specifically, whether lawmakers otherwise hostile to the idea of lowering greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy costs may embrace cap-and-trade systems or carbon taxes as a way to fix budget holes or restructure their tax codes. [ read more … ]

What $60 Oil Means For Biofuels

By Jim Lane, Biofuels Digest  •    •  Posted December 14, 2014

As if tough financing conditions and policy instability weren’t worrying enough for many observers, along comes a crash in global oil prices. One of the US-based Digesterati writes:“Most of the biofuels projects that I have worked on in the last 5 years have based their proformas on an $80/barrel oil price. With the recent dip and worldwide “power play,” I feel that investors as well as Boards of Directors will be really re-evaluating their business models, with most going overseas to markets that do not have the abundant reserves that we do. [ read more … ]

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