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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE February 25, 2015

Loebsack: Ethanol mandate cut a ‘slap in the face’ for Iowa

By Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

Any move by the federal government to reduce how much ethanol must be blended into the country’s motor-fuel supply would be devastating to rural communities and Iowa, Rep. Dave Loebsack said Tuesday. The Iowa Democrat said any efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency or Congress to change the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a law that requires refiners to buy alternative fuels made from corn, soybeans and other products to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign energy, would lead to a loss of jobs and batter local economies that depend on the largely corn-based fuel. [ read more … ]

Ernst invites McCarthy to see regulatory-impact tour of Iowa 

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) invited EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy yesterday to visit Iowa to see the “significant consequences” of agency regulations on the state’s agricultural industry. In her letter to McCarthy, the freshman senator listed as her top concerns EPA’s failure to set annual biofuel mandates and a proposal to expand the waters of the United States that get automatic Clean Water Act protections. The invitation came after Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R) met Friday with the administrator in Washington to raise similar regulatory issues.
In her letter to McCarthy, the freshman senator listed as her top concerns EPA’s failure to set annual biofuel mandates and a proposal to expand the waters of the United States that get automatic Clean Water Act protections. [ read more … ]

US EPA pleads for some RFS understanding

By Herman Wang, Platts’ The Barrel Blog  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

“I wanted to come to Texas and personally tell you how sorry I am that we did not get our work done,” Grundler said in his remarks at the conference. He then went on to explain that his staff of about a dozen, stung from attrition due to recent budget cuts, has been beleaguered not only with trying to finalize the 2014 RFS, but also with lawsuit threats from both the oil and biofuels industries over the biofuels blending mandate and other fuels-related regulations. “Defending those lawsuits will take up my people’s time and my lawyers’ time,” he said, calling them “distractions.” [ read more … ]

Ethanol Sector Details Likely New Legal Challenges To California LCFS

By Curt Barry, Inside EPA  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

Growth Energy, a trade association that represents some of the largest corn ethanol producers in the country, is detailing extensive legal objections to California’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) re-adoption process, potentially signaling a new round of litigation that could force state officials to further weaken the controversial regulation. The group — one of whose members, POET, LLC, led a successful challenge to the LCFS that is forcing the current re-adoption — Feb. 17 submitted hundreds of pages of comments to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reiterating earlier charges that the board’s re-adoption process does not comply with a host of state laws. [ read more … ]

Panel concedes RFS reform unlikely this Congress 

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

Reform of the renewable fuel standard is doubtful this Congress despite ongoing difficulties with setting annual targets under the program, a panel of both biofuel proponents and critics of the RFS said last week at an annual gathering of ethanol producers. The panel generally said the chances for a successful reform package are slim, given congressional gridlock and political calculations surrounding the 2016 elections. [ read more … ]

Gasoline Plunge Wipes Out Profits for U.S. Ethanol Makers

by Mario Parker, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

Ethanol producers are cutting output after getting squeezed by the biggest drop in gasoline prices since 2008. Valero Energy Corp. and Green Plains Renewable Energy Inc., representing about 15 percent of U.S. capacity, have reduced operations as margins narrowed. At a typical mill in Illinois that makes ethanol from corn, profit margins have almost totally disappeared, compared with $1.33 a gallon a year ago, according to AgTrader Talk, a Clive, Iowa-based consulting company. [ read more … ]

Abengoa reports top year for biofuel business

By Anna Simet, Ethanol Producer Magazine  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

Abengoa’s biofuels segment experienced the best year in its history in 2014, company CEO Manuel Sánchez Ortega reported during the company’s 2014 fiscal year results, which can be largely attributed to very high margins and increased production and sales of ethanol. [ read more … ]

Republicans resume assault on ‘secret science’ 

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

Senate and House Republicans today resurrected legislation aimed at boosting transparency in the science that U.S. EPA uses in rulemaking. House Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said their “Secret Science Reform Act of 2015” would compel EPA to make its science more publicly available. [ read more … ]

Bill Gates, CEOs call for R&D funding surge 

Katherine Ling, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted February 25, 2015

U.S. federal investment in energy research, development and deployment “condemns future generations to fewer options” and is one-third of what is necessary for the nation to stay economically competitive, according to a new report from the American Energy Innovation Council (AEIC). The federal government’s energy RD&D investments have been stagnant for the past five years at around $5 billion — less than one-half of 1 percent of the annual nationwide energy bill, the report says. The figure is nowhere near the doubling of investment AEIC said was necessary for U.S. leadership in its original 2010 report on the state of U.S. energy RD&D. [ read more … ]

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