"President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn't undercut President Trump's support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a letter to EPA Dir. Wheeler this week on the EPA's proposed supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley, RFS, Ethanol,
"This is a small step in the right direction, but I'm very skeptical that every company receiving waivers truly needs them." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
"I'm committed to holding EPA accountable and ensuring they not only uphold the intent of the RFS but that they're more transparent and forthcoming in this exemption process." -- Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)
As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and those that suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: Various Media, Fort Dodge Messenger, 18 Aug., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, "Hardship" Waivers", Ethanol,
In a response to an April 10 letter from Grassley, Energy Secretary Rick Perry indicated that EPA had, on at least one occasion, issued an exemption when his department recommended no exemption and ignored recommendations to grant only partial exemptions in other cases. Perry also noted that the agency has not changed how these analyses are applied or scored from the prior Obama Administration.
Perry also noted that he was aware of instances in which DOE recommended a partial or even no exemption for certain refineries, yet EPA subsequently granted a full exemption. This contradicts former oil industry lobbyist and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's claim before Congress that EPA simply followed DOE's recommendations.
As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance
Under Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was been denied. (Source: DOE, FeedStuff, 29 July, 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, "Hardship Waiver", Pruitt,
"During the past five years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing agricultural export. As more nations adopt policies for lower-emission vehicle fuels, domestically produced ethanol can provide an immediate solution for their goals. We assert that there is little justification for EPA to maintain such an outdated calculation that otherwise could be easily corrected with existing, available analysis -- and straightforwardly address an unnecessary obstacle to international trade," the Senators wrote.
"Peer-reviewed science conducted by the USDA has affirmed that U.S. ethanol lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 39-43 pct versus gasoline. EPA has rejected all calls to update these calculations, instead using nearly 10-year-old data, which ignores the technological advancements in ethanol production", the Senators said.
The Senators called for the EPA to adopt the scientific model Greenhouse Gas & Regulated Emissions & Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) developed by the DOE Argonne National Laboratory, after studying 100 fuel production pathways and 85 vehicle systems to measure the life-cycle carbon emissions of vehicle fuels. More than 30,000 organizations worldwide use the updated GREET model, including the FAA, NASA, Ford and GM, BP and others. EPA does not use the updated model. (Source: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),Feedstuffs, 25 June, 2019) Contact: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA, Chuck Grassley, GHGs, Ethanol,
"If you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75 pct in value. And they say the noise causes cancer."
"No, wind's not so good and you have no idea how expensive it is to make those things. They're all made in China and Germany, by the way, just in case you, we don't make them here, essentially." -- Pres. Donald Trump
The Donald's comments were clearly and immediately described as "IDIOTIC" by his fellow Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassely (Iowa). Good on you, Grassely! Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump, Wind, Grassely,
"We ask your support for including a reinstatement of the $0.50/gallon alternative fuels tax credit (AFTC) in a fiscal year 2019 government spending package. The AFTC is a credit of $0.50 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of certain transportation fuels, including natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, P Series Fuels, liquefied hydrogen and others.
" Extending the AFTC retroactively for 2018 and prospectively for 2019 will allow businesses and customers to continue to deploy cleaner alternative fuel technologies. A full five-year extension of the AFTC would provide business certainty along with a significant contribution to our nation's economic growth.
"Unfortunately, the credit has currently lapsed as of December 31, 2017 and many fleets, businesses, and manufacturers are unable to plan future investments as they manage current uncertainty. Immediately reinstating the AFTC for 2018 and 2019 is necessary to encouraging further deployment of new, clean transportation technology.
" Extending the AFTC will bring significant environmental benefits, improved air quality, and enhance our energy independence by lowering our dependence on foreign oil. Renewal of the AFTC also promotes increased private sector investment in infrastructure and equipment, which leads to more jobs and economic output." (Source: NGT News, Various Other Media, 15 Feb., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Alternative Fuel, Alternative Fuel Tax Credit,
"It is time to get our America First fuel policy back on track, and we encourage the acting EPA administrator to hold oil refiners accountable and maintain the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard." -- Kyle Gilley, Snr VP External Affairs and Communications, POET, www.poet.com
"The final targets open new possibilities for advanced and cellulosic biofuels, but without a check on abusive EPA waivers, we'll continue to see plants closing their doors or idling production. The agency cannot fulfill the president's commitments in the heartland without putting a lid on handouts to oil giants like Chevron and Andeavor." -- Brooke Coleman, Exec. Dir., Advanced Biofuels Business Council, www.advancedbiofuels.org
"It reflects continued growth in the renewable natural gas industry. The growth in production of renewable natural gas and the completion of nearly 50 new production facilities from coast to coast since 2014 is proof positive that the RFS is working as intended for cellulosic and advanced biofuels." -- Johannes Escudero, CEO, Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, www.rngcoalition.com
"While the numbers are a positive step forward and they hold promise with a 15-billion-gallon commitment to starch ethanol and 418 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels, the billions of lost gallons due to excessive small refinery exemptions need to be accounted for." -- Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy, www.growthenergy.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley, POET, RFS, Growth Energy,
"We welcome the administration's proposal to grow the biodiesel volumes, following two flat-lined years. This is a positive signal for our industry and we're pleased the EPA has acknowledged our ability to produce higher volumes. We've consistently demonstrated that we can do much more. The fact remains, though, instability in the RFS program caused by the EPA has done significant damage that can only be rectified for biodiesel through consistent and predictable growth in volumes, according to Kurt Kovarik, NBB VP Federal Affairs.
"Kovarik pointed to decisions by the EPA administrator to provide numerous (hardship) waivers to petroleum refiners that release them from their obligations under the RFS, effectively reducing the overall volumes under the program in 2016 and 2017. Those exemptions have effectively destroyed current demand for biodiesel by 300 million gallons.
"As a candidate on the campaign trail, Donald Trump pledged he would support biofuels and protect the RFS, Kovarik added. While this is just a proposal, we hope the administration is serious about growing biodiesel volumes and will fulfill the president's promise to support and grow the RFS.
The EPA proposed to raise the renewable volume obligations (RVO) for the biomass-based diesel category from 2.1 billion gallons in 2019 to 2.43 billion gallons in 2020. The agency also proposed to slightly increase the advanced biofuel category, for which biodiesel also qualifies, from 4.29 billion gallons in 2018 to 4.88 billion gallons in 2019.
"The RFS requires the EPA to grow the volume of advanced biofuels like biodiesel delivered to U.S. consumers. Since taking office, Trump's EPA has recommended zero growth for the biomass-based diesel category.
"This summer, 39 U.S. senators sent a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler urging him to increase biomass-based diesel and advanced volumes and accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions in the annual RFS volumes. NBB specifically thanked Sens. Patty Murray, D-Washington; Roy Blunt, R-Missouri; Heidi Heitkamp, D-North Dakota; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for leading the letter.
"Noting that EPA proposes to set the 2020 biomass-based diesel volume at 2.43 billion gallons, the senators wrote, 'While these proposed increases are encouraging, these volumes continue to underestimate the existing potential of the biodiesel and renewable diesel industries in our states. We believe the biodiesel industry can do more and that EPA should demonstrate more confidence in the RFS program's ability to drive growth.' Comments from the senators and NBB demonstrate that the increased biomass-based diesel volume is achievable with available feedstocks. Calling on EPA to accurately account for small refinery hardship exemptions, the senators added, 'It is critical that EPA appropriately account for any small refiner economic hardship exemptions that it reasonably expects to grant during the 2019 compliance year in the final rule, or EPA will not be able to fulfill its duty to ensure RVOs are met.'
"We (NBB) join the senators in calling on EPA to raise biomass-based diesel volumes to an appropriate level that will drive additional growth. Biodiesel production has consistently exceeded the annual volume obligations set by EPA. The industry continues to operate below capacity, which limits job creation and economic growth. Moreover, EPA must fully and accurately account for small refiner hardship exemptions under the RFS. NBB estimates that the exemptions granted by EPA for 2016 and 2017 reduced demand for biodiesel and renewable diesel by about 300 million gallons. That lost demand is equal to or greater than the annual production of some of the nation's top biodiesel-producing states, including Washington, Missouri, North Dakota and Iowa. The volumes that EPA sets are meaningless if the agency does not ensure they are met at the end of the year.
"NBB and its members continue working to move the needle for higher volumes, meeting with the administration, working with biodiesel champions on the Hill, and collaborating with key industry stakeholders. The EPA is set to finalize volumes before Nov. 30." (Source: NBB, 24 Oct., 2018) Contact: NBB, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard, National Biodiesel Board,
"The nation's corn growers thank Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Joni Ernst and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue for their advocacy and steadfast support for farmers, rural communities and renewable fuels. We greatly appreciate their efforts.
"With the expectation that the Administration was preparing to take drastic actions to unravel the RFS, farmers are very pleased those actions have been set aside and strongly encourage the Administration to keep the President's commitment to America's farmers and (leave) the RFS intact." (Source: NCGA, Wisc. AgConnection, 7 June, 2018) Contact: National Corn Growers Association, Kevin Skunes, Pres., (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, Biofuels, NCGA,
"I'm done playing around. I've supported Pruitt but if he pushes changes to RFS that permanently cut ethanol by billions of gallons he will have broken Trump's promise and should step down and let someone else do the job of implementing Trump's (biofuel) agenda. Trump was elected with an agenda; Pruitt was not elected," Grassley said.
Grassley's position is in response to growing farm-state frustration with the EPA's management of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compelling refiners to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol. Iowa is a top producer of both corn and ethanol.
(Source: Wallaces Farmer, Others, Bloomberg, 17 May, 2018)
Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), www.grassley.senate.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley, Scott Pruitt, Biofuels,
The biofuels producers allege that EPA Administrator Pruitt has repeatedly and relentlessly sought ways to subvert Trump's RFS promises and to undermine, if not destroy, the RFS program. "His anti-RFS actions must be put to an end because today Scott Pruitt is essentially making a liar out of President Trump," the group said.
(Source: IRFA, Spokesman-Review, Various Media, 6 April, 2018)Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., (515) 252-6249, email@example.com, http://iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Pruitt, Renewable Fuels, Biofuel, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, RFS, Ethanol, Biofuel,
"We are pleased that Congress recognized the importance of biomass-based diesel and its place in the value chain and passed a retroactive extension of the biodiesel mixture excise tax credit for 2017. This credit will allow needed infrastructure investments to grow the production and distribution of these valuable renewable products. However, we are disappointed that despite strong bi-partisan support, Congress did not complete the job and continue the biodiesel tax credit into the future. Though frustrated with the partial outcome, we would like to thank all of our supporters and champions; a large group of members worked tirelessly on our behalf and we appreciate their efforts. Specifically, we would like to thank Sen. Grassley, Sen. Cantwell and their allies for their unwavering support for our industry.
"We are pleased our supporters in Congress continue to recognize the value the biodiesel tax credit brings, like lower RIN costs, continued economic development, jobs, support of our nation’s farmers and a cleaner environment. We will continue to work alongside our elected officials and the administration on a long-term extension of the biodiesel and renewable diesel tax incentive. Doing so is not only smart energy policy, it's smart tax policy." (Source: Renewable Energy Group, Inc.,PR, Feb., 2018) Contact: REGI, Randy Howard, CEO, (703) 822-1972, Scott Hedderich
Executive Director, Corporate Affairs, (515) 710-6248, Scott.firstname.lastname@example.org, www.regi.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy Group, , REGI, Biodiesel,
In its decision released Wednesday, EPA said "a change in the point of obligation would unnecessarily increase the complexity of the program and undermine the success of the RFS program."
Iowas Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) said "Keeping the point of obligation where it is now, with refiners and importers, has worked and makes sense. Moving the point of obligation from a handful of refiners to hundreds or thousands of small fuel retailers would undermine the integrity and viability of this successful program."
The EPA is slated to announce the volume requirements -- the amount of biofuels that must be blended with the nation's fuel supply -- by the end of the month.
In July, EPA proposed volume requirements for cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel that are lower than 2017 requirements.
(Source: EPA, The Des Moines Register, 24 Nov., 2017) Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley, https://twitter.com/ChuckGrassley
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard, Biofuel Blend, RFS EPA, Point of Obligation,
reportedly said "The administration essentially had no choice but to relent because Iowa senators were threatening to hold nominees hostage until they got their way," Stephen Brown, Head of federal affairs for petroleum refining company Andeaver, reportedly said. According to Iowa senator Chuck Grassley (R), was a matter of the president keeping his campaign promise.
(Source: Bloomberg, Various Media, AXIOS, 19 Oct., 2017)
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA , Scott Pruitt, RFS, Ethanol Blend, Ethanol,
Grassley also spoke about his American Renewable Fuel and Job Creation Act of 2017 and continuing effort to re-instate the federal biodiesel tax credit, which lapsed at the end of 2016, and reform the incentive to focus it strictly on domestically produced biodiesel.
"A credit for domestic production will ensure we're incentivizing the domestic industry, rather than subsidizing imported biodiesel. We should not provide a U.S. taxpayer benefit to imported biofuels. A producer credit will do what Congress intended -- incentivize investment in U.S. biodiesel production," the Senator said.
(Source: Renewable Energy Group, Inc., Globe NewsWire, 10 Oct., 2017) Contact: REGI, Brad Albin, VP Manufacturing,
(703) 822-1972, email@example.com, www.rwegi.com; Senator Chuck Grassley, 202) 224-3744, www.grassley.senate.gov/contact
More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley, Renewable Energy Group, Biodiesel, RFS,
Grassley's legislation comes on the heels of the U.S. biodiesel industry challenging Argentina and Indonesia for flooding the U.S. market with their biodiesel. (Source: WNAX, 26 April, 2017) Contact: Senator Chuck Grassley, 202) 224-3744, www.grassley.senate.gov/contact
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel, Biodiesel Tax,