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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE June 3, 2015

Expansion in U.S. ethanol on hold after blending targets slashed

By Reuters  •    •  Posted June 3, 2015

Expansion in the U.S. ethanol industry, stuck in neutral for more than a year as the government debated biofuel blending requirements, is now likely to come to a screeching halt. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week essentially maintaining the so-called blend wall that mandates nearly every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States contain 10 percent ethanol, there is little need for new plants in a saturated market, industry sources said. Ethanol makers are putting expansion plans on hold as profit margins sag, threatening corn producers already suffering from low grain prices and massive supplies. [ read more … ]

USDA Secretary Vilsack defends Obama’s record on ethanol

By Jim Spencer, Minneapolis Star Tribune  •    •  Posted June 3, 2015

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pushed back hard Tuesday against complaints from some in the ethanol industry that the Obama administration has weakened its commitment to the alternative fuel. In an interview with the Star Tribune, Vilsack said a new $100 million USDA program to build more blender pumps to distribute multiple grades of ethanol is just the latest proof of White House advocacy. [ read more … ]

USDA faces criticism for efforts to fund ethanol pumps


Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Todd Sneller said flex fuel dispensers, which often allow consumers to pick how much ethanol they want in their gas, are more expensive than conventional equipment but would offer a diverse slate of options. Sneller said ethanol can reduce both the price of fuel and its emissions. And the USDA’s efforts combined with state and industry funds will help remove the barrier of the initial equipment price in getting ethanol to consumers. “The USDA’s commitment of funds for biofuels infrastructure is an important step toward increasing the availability of higher ethanol blends. USDA funds can often be leveraged in a manner that encourages additional investment in retail fueling sites that offer flex fuel dispensers,” Sneller said in an email. [ read more … ]

Free-market group launches ad assault on RFS 

Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted June 3, 2015

The American Energy Alliance today launched a campaign aimed at repealing the federal renewable fuel standard, just days after U.S. EPA rolled out a proposal to set biofuel blending targets through the program. The first phase of the campaign will feature print and online ads inside the Beltway and online ads in Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas — states that AEA believes are open to its arguments, spokesman Chris Warren said. [ read more … ]

Oil and gas CEOs call for carbon price as Exxon, Chevron outline climate strategy

Benjamin Hulac, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted June 3, 2015

The CEOs of six of the largest energy companies worldwide want national governments to put a price tag on greenhouse gas emissions. In a letter addressed to Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the authors call upon the United Nations and countries to “open a direct dialogue” on climate change and carbon pricing, “including at the UNFCCC negotiations in Paris and beyond.” The authors — the CEOs of European oil and gas companies BG Group PLC, BP PLC, Eni SpA, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Statoil and Total SA — want the international community to create national and regional carbon pricing mechanisms and a global network that could “eventually connect national systems.” [ read more … ]

In big EPA win, court denies challenges to ozone designations

Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter  •    •  Posted June 3, 2015

A federal appeals court today rejected a series of challenges from states, environmental groups and energy companies to U.S. EPA’s determinations of which parts of the country meet its standard for ozone, a main component of smog. In May 2012, EPA finalized its attainment and nonattainment designations for its 2008 ozone air standard of 75 parts per billion. If the agency finds a county or area does not meet the standard, that area must undertake significant and often expensive steps to reduce ozone emissions.
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Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.