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EIA Data Questions RFS "Hardship" Waivers Effect on Ethanol Demand (Ind. Report)
EIA
Date: 2019-10-04
As previously reported, ethanol industry proponents have petitioned the EPA to cease issuing Small Refinery "Hardship" Exemptions (SREs) allowable under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ethanol industry is trying to convince the EPA that the waivers are hurting their business and, therefore, the agency should stop issuing them.

Month-over-month, official government data tells a very different story. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the ethanol blend rate has remained within normal statistical variation, despite the flood of "hardship" waivers. EIA data shows:

  • The overall physical ethanol consumption for Q1 2019 (the most recent, complete data available) is higher than it was in 2018.

  • The average ethanol blend rate was higher in Q1 2019 (10.21 pct) than in Q1 2018 (10.09 pct).

  • In February 2019, the ethanol blend rate was 10.53 percent -- the highest in the 12 months preceding. And the March 2019 ethanol blend rate was 10.18 percent -- higher than the March 2018 blend rate of 9.75 percent.

    These blend rates have been stable for the past few years, underscoring the truth that ethanol demand is premised partially on the RFS, partially on demand for clean octane and partially on other factors -- not SREs.

    Similarly, when it comes to mid-level ethanol blends like E15, there is no data indicating that SREs are reducing demand. E15 and other mid-level ethanol blend sales have been growing all year and, in the case of E15, sales are higher at this point than they were last year, according to the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

    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 the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), EIA, Business & Industry Connection, 3 Oct., 2019) Contact: AFPM, Derrick Morgan, Snr, VP, (202) 586-8800, www.afpm.org; EIA, www.eia.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  EIA,  


  • EPA Halts RFS "Hardship" Waiver Changes (Ind. Report)
    RFS,"Hardship Waivers"
    Date: 2019-10-02
    It is being widely reported by Fox News and others that the EPA has stalled on updates to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuels policy regarding biofuel blending "hardship" waivers (exemptions) that have been issued at near wholesale levels.

    The EPA appears to be acting on instructions from Trump who is no doubt preoccupied with his own whistleblower and impeachment worries.

    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 the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Fox News, Various Other Media, 2 Oct., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Trump Plan Would Boost Biofuel Quotas 10 pct in 2020 (Reg & Leg)
    Teump
    Date: 2019-09-16
    Reuters is reporting U.S. Pres. Trump has tentatively approved a plan to increase the amount of biofuels that oil refiners are required to blend each year to compensate for the large number of financial "hardship" exemptions granted to "small" -- 75,000 bpd or less -- refiners by the EPA.

    Under the plan, the EPA will calculate a three-year rolling average of total biofuels gallons exempted under its Small Refinery Exemption program and add that figure to its annual biofuel blending quotas each year -- about 1.35 billion gallons in 2020. That would come in addition to a tentative agreement to boost 2020 blending volumes by 1 billion gallons, including 500 million gallons for conventional biofuels like corn-based ethanol and 500 million gallons for advanced biofuels like biodiesel, according to the Reuters report.

    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 the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 16 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol Blend,  


    House Reps Call for RFS "Hardship" Waiver Investigation (Ind Report)
    Biofuel,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-08-28
    In the nation's capitol, a dozen members of Congress, spurred on by Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa) have writtn to U.S. Comptroller General Gene Dodaro urging the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to examine the review and approval of small refinery "hardship" waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) , including the DOE's viability scores for the 40 waivers reviewed to date by the DOE for the 2018 compliance year.

    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 the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.

    Download the letter HERE. (Source: Office of Rep. Abby Finkenauer, 21 Aug., 2019) Contact: Office of Rep. Abby Finkenauer, (202) 225-2911, finkenauer.house.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    Trump Ups RFS Biofuels Quota to Placate Farm States (Ind Report)
    Trump. EPA
    Date: 2019-08-26
    Bloomberg is reporting President "The Donald" Trump, seeking to avoid political fallout in U.S. farm states essential to his re-election, last week ordered federal agencies to change, or simply rescind, many of the 80 or more recently issued "hardship" waivers relieving some oil refineries of requirements to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol.

    Trump and his team have since apparently decided they wouldn't, or couldn't make changes to just-issued waivers without risking the wrath of the oil companies, which may also be crucial to his reelection plans. And so, to resolve his self inflicted predicament, Trump has ordered a boost in biofuels quotes to make up for expected exemptions beginning in 2021. In other wards, The Donald is trying to cover his political butt while siding with the farmers and at the same time ignoring his previous commitments to the ethanol sector.

    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 the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Bloomberg, 26 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  EPA,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    Notable Quotes -- More EPA "Hardship" Waivers Feedback
    Elite Octane ,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-08-21
    "I'm just livid. The president (Trump) went to Washington D.C. to drain the swamp and he's really become the swamp. The only person that's won here is Carl Ichan who got off not having to comply and saving about $190 million because he's president Trump's friend.

    " This is absolutely ridiculous that multi-billion dollar corporations would be given a free pass to use renewable fuels because of somehow twisting up an economic hardship to blend a fuel (ethanol) that today is $1.25 a gallon into gasoline that is still, wholesale, well over $1.50. It is just capital cronyism at it's best.

    "Three years in a row, under president Trump's leadership, he's decimated this program and I just think it is so disingenuous that he would come out to Iowa and brag about how he loves ethanol and he's for the farmer -- and then to go back and do this. People wanted to give him some room and say that was his EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and he fired him. But now clearly, clearly in the last week president Trump was personally involved and made this decision and it's very, very discouraging for everybody in agriculture." -- Nick Bowdish, CEO, Elite Octane, www.eliteoctane.com.(Source: Atlantic News Telegraph, Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol,  ,  Trump,  


    MORE Small Refinery "Hardship" Waivers Announced (Ind. Report)
    EPA,RFS,Renewable Fuels Association,American Coalition of Ethanol
    Date: 2019-08-12
    On Friday the 9th, the Trump administration EPA, under the administration of former coal industry lobbyist Andrew R, Wheeler, granted 31 more controversial "hardship waivers" allowing refiners to ignore Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) ethanol blending requirements in what might be construed as the administration's and the agency's attempt to bury the RFS in blatant favor of Big Oil. The agency denied 6 waiver requests and left one additional waiver request undecided.

    Needless to say, the President has yet again misled his supporters and the biofuels industry -- along with just about everyone else both domestic and foreign. In response, ethanol and biofuels players and industry organizations wasted no time in venting their rightful outrage.

    "The Trump Administration's approval of 31 refinery exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard is just devastating news for our industry. With this action, President Trump has destroyed over a billion gallons of biofuel demand and broken his promise to Iowa voters to protect the RFS. The vast majority of these exemptions are not justified under the law. Since this news began to leak this afternoon, RFS credit prices have freefallen to nearly zero, destroying much of the incentive to blend an incremental gallon of ethanol." -- Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Exec. Dir.,

    "At a time when ethanol plants in the Heartland are being mothballed and jobs are being lost, it is unfathomable and utterly reprehensible that the Trump Administration would dole out more unwarranted waivers to prosperous petroleum refiners. Today's announcement comes as a total shock, as just two months ago Trump himself heard directly from Iowa farmers and ethanol plant workers about the disastrous economic impacts of these small refinery handouts. In response, he (Trump) told us he would 'look into it' and we believed that would lead to the White House and EPA finally putting an end to these devastating waivers. Instead, the Trump administration chose to double down on the exemptions, greatly exacerbating the economic pain being felt in rural America and further stressing an industry already on life support." -- Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, Renewable Fuels Association.

    "EPA's refiner-win-at-all-costs oversight of the RFS is doing real damage to America's farmers and renewable fuel producers who are already suffering from trade wars and volatile markets. The RFS is supposed to ensure the use of ethanol and biodiesel increases from one year to the next, but 85 Small Refinery Exemptions later and over 3 billion waived gallons represents an enormous step backwards." -- Brian Jennings, CEO, American Coalition of Ethanol.

    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 the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Various Media, AgPro, 9 Aug., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org; Renewable Fuels Association, www.ethanolrfa.org; American Coalition of Ethanol, www.ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  "Hardship Waiver",  Ethanol Blend,  Renewable Fuels Association,  ,  


    EPA Ignored DOE in Issuing RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Ind. Report)
    RFS
    Date: 2019-07-29
    Contrary to assertions by the EPA the U.S. DOE confirmed in a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) that EPA issued so-called economic "hardship" exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to small refineries, often owned by billion-dollar oil companies, even when DOE found that the refineries faced little or no actual "hardship."

    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,  


    Where's Trump's Former EPA Head Scott Pruitt? (Ind. Report)
    Coal,EPA
    Date: 2019-04-24
    Denver-headquartered Hallador Energy Company, a subsidiary of RailPoint Solutions LLC and Sunrise Coal, reports it has hired former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt to lobby against plans by two electric utilities -- Vectren and NIPSCO -- to shutter aging coal-fired power generation facilities in Indiana by 2030.

    Hallador and Pruitt are urging the Indiana republican controlled legislature to include language in the budget bill that would prohibit the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission from considering Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the commission's decisions about rates and other issues that could impact the future of coal-generated electricity in the state.

    Hallador claims Obama clean air regulations are the reason coal costs more than wind, solar and natural gas. They also claim that once President Trump and current EPA head and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler are finished gutting the Obama clean air regulations, the price of coal will drop. According to U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) US coal consumption has plummeted to its lowest levels in nearly 40 years and more coal-fired power plants closed in the first two years of the Trump administration than during President Obama's entire first term.

    As readers may recall, Pruitt resigned from the EPA in July 2018 after an 18-month tenure best remembered for the seemingly mass handout of Renewable Fuel Standard "hardship" waivers to refineries, spending and ethical scandals. 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. (Source: Hallador Energy Company, The Environmental Working Group, 23 April, 20190 Contact: Hallador Energy Company, (303) 839-5504, www.halladorenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Scott Pruitt,  Coal,  


    IRFA, Iowa Ag. Sec. Challenge RFS Exemptions (Ind. Report)
    IRFA, RFS
    Date: 2019-04-22
    In a joint news conference last Wednesday, Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and the Hawkeye State Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, commented on the small-refinery "hardship" exemptions being considered by the EPA, saying the federal plans to make small refineries exempt from renewable fuel rules "would irreversibly undermine" the nation's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    "We believe it is time for the EPA to address this threat to the Renewable Fuel Standard," Naig said, adding that over the last two years, the agency has granted waivers accounting for 2.6 billion gallons of ethanol or about 1 billion bushels of corn. "This happens at a time when our farmers and rural America can least afford it" he said adding there are currently 39 small-refinery exemption applications before the EPA. Refiners with a capacity of less than 75,000 bpd can receive a waiver as long as they can prove that complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard would cause "disproportionate economic harm."

    According to Shaw, the nearly 40 exemptions out there could "rip the heart out"of the Renewable Fuel Standard. "If you can justify granting a small-refinery exemption under today's circumstances -- where you can buy a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) for 8 cents, then what the EPA would really be saying is that it's always going to grant small-refinery exemptions, and the hope of ever having a true 15 billion-gallon RFS is dead," Shaw said.

    The Renewable Fuels Association noted overall U.S. ethanol consumption declined last year. The association also noted 48 small refinery exemptions approved last year by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as a main factor for the drop in ethanol use. (Source: Iowa RFA, PR, The Courier, 21 April, 2019) Contact: IRFA, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Monte Shaw,  RFA,  IRFA,  RFS,  "Hardship" Exemption,  


    American Coalition for Ethanol Presses Senate on EPA Acting Administrator Wheeler's Confirmation (Opinions, Editorial & Asides)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2019-02-01
    The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) submitted the following letter to US Senators regarding acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler's confirmation:

    " As the Senate proceeds to consider the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), I write to encourage you to secure tangible documentation from Mr. Wheeler that EPA will resolve two critically important issues before casting your confirmation vote: finalizing a legally -defensible Reid vapor pressure (RVP) rule to allow E15 use year-round before June 1, and reallocating ethanol blending obligations waived for 2016 and 2017 through the Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) provision of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    "I urge you hold Acting Administrator Wheeler to this high standard because of the harm done to renewable fuels by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Prior to his confirmation by the Senate, Mr. Pruitt pledged to support the RFS as the law of the land and the President's commitment to expanding ethanol use. However, while leading EPA, he undermined the RFS through an unprecedented number of backdoor refinery waivers which erased more than 2 billion gallons of ethanol blending obligations between 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, he refused to reallocate those blending obligations to other refiners, as called for under the law, and failed to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round despite the fact it is a priority for the President. EPA's broken promises and abuse of the RFS compel Acting Administrator Wheeler to repair the damage by reallocating the blending obligations and finalizing a legally-defensible rule to allow E15 use year-round before June 1.

    "During his recent confirmation hearing, Acting Administrator Wheeler assured Environment and Public Works committee members that EPA is 'still on schedule to issue a final rule allowing year-round E15 sales' but added there 'may be a slight delay' due to the recent government shutdown. The shutdown is not a credible excuse for a delay in the E15 rulemaking. In fact, recent history proves the Trump Administration can expedite high-priority rulemakings.

    "Take for example the USDA newly-proposed work requirements for recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits. In December, as Congress was negotiating the Farm Bill, the Senate insisted that House conferees drop new food stamp work requirements from the final legislation. In response, to secure enough Republican votes in the House of Representatives to pass the Farm Bill conference report, USDA put forward a rulemaking to impose the work requirements through executive action. The Farm Bill conference report was adopted by Congress on December 12. The President waited to sign the Farm Bill until December 20, the same day USDA published the SNAP work requirement rulemaking.

    "In just eight days USDA was able to issue a rule at the direction of the President to fulfill a promise to Republicans in the House of Representatives. It has been more than 100 days since the President Directed EPA to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round. What is taking EPA so long to act? There is no better way to guarantee the RVP rule and reallocation of refinery waivers are addressed than by insisting Mr. Wheeler provide tangible evidence of his intentions on these issues prior to voting to confirm him.

    "The RVP rule is particularly time-sensitive. Under EPA's existing and outdated RVP regulations, E15 cannot be sold in most areas of the country from June 1 to September 15, leaving just four short months from today to complete the rulemaking process. Unfortunately, EPA needlessly plans to combine the RVP rule with reforms to the way Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are handled under the RFS. RIN reforms are highly-controversial among oil refiners so EPA's proposal will likely pit refiners against each other, causing a protracted dispute. If RIN reforms prevent EPA from finishing the RVP rule by June 1, it will result in another summer that E15 cannot be sold in many parts of the country when fuel demand is at its peak. Acting Administrator Wheeler should be encouraged to decouple RIN reforms from the RVP rule to ensure E15 can be offered for sale by June 1." (signed) Brian Jennings, CEO American Coalition for Ethanol. (Source: ACE, 29 Jan., 2019)Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ANdrew Wheeler,  American Coalition for Ethanol,  Andrew Wheeler,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  


    Feds Seem Flummoxed by Biomass Energy Carbon Neutrality (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    USDA,EPA
    Date: 2018-11-02
    In Washington, the US EPA has reportedly joined the DOE and the USDA in a letter to congressional leaders committing to "encourage the use of biomass as an energy solution and reasserting the view that woody biomass-fired power plants should be viewed as carbon neutral because when the plants eventually re-grow they remove CO2 from the air." The agencies also are committing to collaborate on policies promoting biomass, which could include DOE research and encouraging utilities to substitute wood for coal in power plants.

    But environmentalists say that burning trees releases CO2 previously trapped inside the plant. And when forests are cleared to produce energy, it can take them decades to regrow, if they ever do. The result is a power source that can generate more carbon dioxide emissions than the coal it is sometimes meant to replace.

    On the down side, the EPA's own science advisers have warned that assuming biomass emissions are carbon neutral "is inconsistent with the underlying science."

    The federal agencies joint letter is in response to a provision Congress added to a spending bill directing federal agencies to establish policies that "reflect the carbon neutrality of forest biomass for energy production." Even before that directive, under former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency declared that it generally considered burning biomass for energy as carbon neutral. The EPA has also proposed giving utilities credit for cutting carbon dioxide emissions when they replace some coal in power plants with biomass -- a substitution that would qualify as an efficiency upgrade under the EPA's proposed relaxation of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity. (Source: HoumaToday, Herald, Various Media, Nov., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Neutral,  Biomass,  Woody Biomass,  


    New EPA Administrator Wheeler Touting Trump's "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" (Reg & Leg)
    Coal,Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2018-08-27
    Greg Pruitt's replacement at the EPA, Andrew Wheeler has been making the rounds in Kentucky coal country touting President Donald Trump's Affordable Clean Energy Rule, a new plan aimed at aiding the beleaguered coal industry.

    Trump's proposal aims to replace the Obama administration's signature effort to slow global warming by limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants. To that end, Trump's plan broadly increases each individual state's authority to decide how to regulate coal plants, the reasoning being that states that are heavily into coal and other fossil fuels will legislate favorably toward its fossil fuel industries.

    Even so, Wheeler claims carbon emissions would continue decreasing under Trump's plan, albeit, not as quickly as under Obama's plan which Trump claims was tantamount to a "war on Coal." The Trump administration has acknowledged that the increased emissions from aging coal plants could kill hundreds more people annually and cost the U.S. billions of dollars. (Source: Various Media, LEX 18, 25 Aug., 2018) Contact: EPA, Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_R._Wheeler

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal,  Clean Coal,  Clean Power Plan,  Trump,  


    Pruitt's Replacement Open to RFS Changes (Ind. Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2018-07-27
    This week in Washington, the Omaha World Herald is reporting former EPA top dog Greg Pruitt's replacement, Acting EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler commented: "When everybody's complaining about a program (the Renewable Fuel Standard RFS) from every side, then we ought to take a look and figure out if there's a way to make the program better, and I'm certainly open to trying to make the program better." Wheeler also noted that "the EPA must ensure it's following both the letter and spirit of the law" and rejected changes to ethanol policy in "piecemeal fashion." (Source: Various Media, Omaha World Herald, 26 July, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  EPA,  Sorghum,  Biofuel Blend,  Pruitt,  


    Iowa Gov. Comments on RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Iowa Gov. Kim Reynols
    Date: 2018-07-20
    "Our (Iowa) farmers need some positive news. It's our hope new EPA leadership will adhere to promises made by President Trump to protect the RFS and grow demand for our homegrown fuels. It's time to end the domestic demand destruction by undermining of the RFS. It's time to open up the market for higher ethanol blends, E15 and above, to be sold year round. Unfortunately, the proposed RFS rule before us does neither of those things.

    "On the surface, the numbers appear positive. Conventional biofuels like corn ethanol are set at 15 billion gallons and cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel and total advanced levels are all proposed to increase. But the EPA's decision to grant numerous small-refinery waivers and to not reallocate those volumes as the law envisioned, undercuts the 15 billion gallon level.

    "These small refinery waivers have created the backdoor destruction of 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol demand. That means 500 million bushels of corn will be left in the bins, putting added pressure on already low commodity prices. Every RFS category is reduced by these small refiner waiver exemptions. In fact, it almost wipes out the proposed increase for advanced biofuels.

    "And the 15 billion gallons ethanol number is in reality more like 13.5 billion. To put that in context, nearly 1 billion gallons less ethanol than was blended into U.S. gasoline in 2017. That is not progress. That is not the letter or spirit of the RFS. And that is not what President Trump promised the voters of Iowa. This issue must be addressed. The criteria for exemptions must be reasonable and transparent, and any exemptions must be reallocated to the remaining obligated parties. Correcting the small refinery exemption excesses need to be in the final rule. 15 billion gallons must mean 15 billion gallons.

    "The former head )Pruitt) of the EPA often said that the decision to allow year-round sales of E15 was a matter of authority, not policy. The EPA has publicly acknowledged it has the authority, so it's time to act. It's also time for the EPA to stop ignoring a court order to restore 500 million gallons of conventional ethanol demand that was illegally waived by the Obama Administration for the 2016 compliance year." (Source: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), 18 July, 2018) Contact: Office of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, https://governor.iowa.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  RFS,  Ethanol Blend,  Hardship Waiver,  E15,  


    ACE Testifies on Proposed 2019 RVOs (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2018-07-20
    The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) VP Ron Lamberty testified on July 18 during the public hearing in Ypsilanti, Mich., on the EPA's proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS):

    "With the departure of the previous EPA Administrator (Pruitt) , I hope EPA will take this opportunity to return to implementing the RFS as intended by Congress. Pruitt's seemingly sole focus on helping merchant refiners ignore or skirt their longstanding obligations under the RFS has further shaken the rural farm economy while undermining Congress' goal of increasing renewable fuel use in the United States.

    "EPA's misapplication of the small refiner (hardship) waiver authority has destroyed an estimated 2.25 billion gallons of biofuel demand in 2016 and 2017 alone. The 2019 proposal does nothing to reallocate the gallons of ethanol lost due to RFS waivers, nor does it restore the 500 million gallons of biofuel demand lost because of EPA's actions in misapplying the economic harm waiver in the 2016 RVO as determined by the courts that ordered EPA to return those gallons as well. This RVO rulemaking is the perfect place for EPA to restore these biofuel volumes under the RFS, allow for E15 and higher blends to be sold year-round, and discard of its refiner win-at-all-costs mentality."

    As previously reported, "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.(Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, Convenience Store Decisions, 19 July, 2018) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  RFS,  Pruitt,  HJardship Waiver,  


    EPA Plan to Force Refiners to Blend More Biofuels Nixed (Ind. Report)
    EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2018-07-13
    Reuters is reporting the US EPA as abandoned plans that would have forced refiners to blend more biofuels into their gasoline and diesel in 2019 to compensate for volumes likely to be exempted under the agency's small refinery hardship waiver program, according to newly released EPA documents.

    The plan would have boosted the renewable fuel blending obligation from 10.88 pct to 11.76 pct to offset volumes lost under the waiver program, which has been expanded sharply under Scott Pruitt's tenure at the EPA.

    The idea was apparently aimed at assuaging the U.S. corn lobby which has accused Trump's EPA of undermining the demand for biofuels like corn-based ethanol through the waiver program, but was scrapped amid intense protest from the refining industry, according to the Reuters report.

    The "hardship" exemptions representing some 2.25 million gallons worth of biofuel were granted for 2017 and 2016, including waivers covering 1.46 million compliance credits (RINS). The EPA projected some 8.18 billion gallons of gasoline and 5.44 billion gallons of diesel produced by small refiners would be exempt from the requirements in 2019, according to the EPA.

    As previously reported, "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. (Source: EPA, Manitoba Co-oporator, Various Media, Reuters, 12 July, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend,  RFS,  Pruitt,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship" Waiver,  


    Notable Quote and Duly Noted
    POET
    Date: 2018-07-13
    "With Scott Pruitt's resignation, we hope we will now see an EPA that's willing to uphold President Trump's commitments to rural America and finally deliver the win-win he's been looking for with year-round sales of E15.

    " It's time to turn the page on the disastrous demand destruction practices of Scott Pruitt and start a new chapter." -- Kyle Gilley, POET Snr. VP External Affairs , Communications

    More Low-Carbon Energy News POET news,  Pruitt news,  E15 news,  


    Notable Quotes on Pruitt's Exit
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2018-07-09
    "We don't see how we can do much worse than we had with Mr. Pruitt. He had been waging war against the RFS and really waging war against the farmers and rural Americans that had helped Donald Trump win the presidency, and so it isn't surprising to us that this resignation happened. I guess we're a little surprised it didn’t happen sooner." -- Geoff Cooper, Senior VP, Renewable Fuels Association

    "He had completely undermined the ethanol industry. He was handing out waivers like candy. The last number I saw was 2.25 billion gallons of ethanol had been waived from the RFS. President Trump continues to talk about giving E15 full-year access, and these refiner waivers are just unacceptable." -- Lisa Richardson, Exec. Dir., South Dakota Corn Growers Association

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pruitt,  Ethanol,  RFS,  Ethanol Blend,  Renewable Fuels Association,  


    Pruitt's Resignation Letter Revealed (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    EPA,Scott Pruitt
    Date: 2018-07-09
    "Mr. President, it has been an honor to serve you in the Cabinet as Administrator of the EPA. Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally and enabled me to advance your agenda beyond what anyone anticipated at the beginning of your Administration.

    " Your courage, steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people, both with regard to improved environmental outcomes as well as historical regulatory reform, is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.

    That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6. It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.

    "My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people. I believe you are serving as President today because of God's providence. I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people. Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.

    Your Faithful Friend, Scott Pruitt" (Source: Various Media, 6 July, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Scott Pruitt,  EPA,  


    Notable Quotes and Worth Noting
    RFS
    Date: 2018-06-25
    "Pruitt needs to understand that his actions to continue to grant (RFS "hardship") waivers, now retroactively, to oil refineries is undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard -- a program that Administrator Pruitt told Congress he was committed to upholding." -- Sen. Joni Ernst, (Iowa-R) Contact: Senator Joni Ernst, (2020 724-3264, https://contactsenators.com/iowa/joni-ernst

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  


    EPA Stalls Biofuel Blend Quota Announcement (Ind. Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2018-06-25
    Bloomberg and others are reporting oil industry criticism has caused the Trump Administration to reconsider a proposal to require large refineries to blend more biofuel to make up for "hardship" exemptions granted to smaller refineries. Accordingly, the EPA has put a planned announcement on proposed biofuel quotas for 2019 on hold.

    Ethanol producers and farm-state lawmakers say that recent waivers granted to small refiners have undercut the Renewable Fuels Standard. The Trump administration's plan to make up for the lost biofuel gallons would have put the burden on non-exempted refineries, prompting an outcry from the two top oil industry trade groups.

    As previously reported, "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. (Source: Various Media, Bloomberg, HoosierAg Today, 24 June, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Ethanol Blend,  Pruitt,  


    Notable Quote
    RFS
    Date: 2018-06-04
    "Pruitt needs to understand that his actions to continue to grant (RFS "hardship") waivers, now retroactively, to oil refineries is undermining the Renewable Fuel Standard -- a program that Administrator Pruitt told Congress he was committed to upholding." -- Sen. Joni Ernst, (Iowa-R)

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing less than 75,000 bpd and suffering "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. Contact: Senator Joni Ernst, (2020 724-3264, https://contactsenators.com/iowa/joni-ernst

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waiver,  Pruitt,  


    EPA, Pruitt Challenged on RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Reg & Leg)
    RFA,National Corn Growers Association
    Date: 2018-06-01
    Last Wednesday in Denver, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol and the National Farmers Union, brought suit in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals against the US EPA challenging several supposed "hardship waivers" the agency "secretly" issued to profitable refining companies.

    in their action, the plaintiffs claim the federal agency, led by the increasingly controversial Trump appointee Scot Pruitt, awarded the waivers to two refineries owned by HollyFrontier Corp. and the Wynnewood Refining Co., a subsidiary of Carl Icahn's CVR Refining, without publishing the actions in the Federal Register and that the refineries were profitable and did not qualify for the waivers.

    As previously reported, "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. (Source: Various Media, NewsOK, 31 May, 2018)Contact: RFA, Bob Dinneen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; National Corn Growers Association, Kevin Skunes, Pres., (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Hardship Waiver,  National Corn Growers Association,  RFA,  EPA Scott Pruitt,  RFS,  


    Duly Noted
    Advanced Biofuels Business Council
    Date: 2018-05-28
    According to Advanced Biofuels Business Council Exec. Director Brooke Coleman, "EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is going against the President's commitment to rural America. If the EPA head keeps granting hardship waivers to the many refiners who have requested them, then the President's commitment to year-round use of E15 will be rendered useless. It's ridiculous for the EPA administrator to claim he's following the intent of the RFS and the President's commitment to it while at the same time granting those waivers."

    Coleman says the RFS renewable fuel obligation rule for 2019 is expected out soon but if the waivers keep getting granted, then the numbers called for in that rule don't mean anything because refiners aren't held accountable to them. (Source: Advanced Biofuels Business Council, May, 2018) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Brooke Coleman, Exec. Dir., www.advancedbiofuels.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Business Council ,  EPA,  Pruitt,  RFS,  


    Growth Energy Comments on EPA, USDA RFS Meeting (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2018-05-25
    Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor released the following statement before Thursday's meeting between the US EPA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to discuss President Trump's plan to preserve U.S. biofuel production:

    "We're pleased the USDA is taking up the president's call to action and pressing for an immediate E15 fix, before the start of the summer driving season. As Secretary (Sonny) Perdue has noted, a flood of illegitimate waivers from the EPA has resulted in 'demand destruction' for U.S. farmers at a time when rural communities can least afford it. Even petroleum giants like Marathon are now expecting 'small refinery' handouts.

    "Regulators should, instead, focus on the president's plan to reallocate lost biofuel gallons that were siphoned away by EPA waivers. President Trump promised to protect statutory targets under the Renewwable Fuel Standard (RFS), and we support Secretary Perdue's efforts to ensure the EPA upholds that commitment to rural families.

    "There is no reason to delay action or attach unrelated gimmicks designed to benefit a few refinery owners. EPA Administrator (Scott) Pruitt should stand by his word in 2017, when he vowed not to pursue an export scheme that would cannibalize demand for U.S. biofuels, destroy farm income, and spark retaliatory tariffs against the entire fuel and farm supply chain." (Source: Grwoth Energy, SCD, 24 May, 2018)Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  Biofuel,  


    Grassley Warns Pruitt to Shape-Up or Ship-Out (Notable Quote)

    Date: 2018-05-18
    Iowa's senior senator Chuck Grassley (R) is calling for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to support the Trump Administration's biofuels policies, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and the biofuels industry in general. Failing Pruitt's support, Grassely said he'd call for Pruitt's resignation.

    "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,  


    ABFA Seeks Ruling on Pruitt's RFS Refinery Exemptions (Reg & Leg)
    Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2018-05-02
    Reuters is reporting the Washington, DC-based biofuels trade group Advanced Biofuels Association (ABFA) has petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington DC. to rule whether the Trump administration's U.S. EPA and its administrator Scott Pruitt violated the law in granting a growing number of small refineries exemptions under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), according to a court filing.

    "ABFA members are concerned that Administrator Scott Pruitt is granting these exemptions in an arbitrary and capricious manner to undisclosed parties behind closed doors with no accountability for its decision-making process," Michael McAdams, the head of the trade group, said in a statement. (Source: Advanced Biofuels Association, Reuters, May, 2018) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, Michael McAdams, Pres., www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Association,  RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  Scott Pruitt,  


    IRFA Warns Against RFS "War on Rural America" (Ind. Report)
    Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2018-04-09
    On Friday, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) , a trade group representing the Hawkeye State's 43 ethanol and 12 biodiesel refineries, called upon Sens. Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst to warn Trump that limiting biofuel production would be a "complete abdication of his repeated promises to protect the renewable fuel standard and would be viewed as a declaration of war on rural America."

    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, info@irfa.org, http://iowarfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pruitt,  Renewable Fuels,  Biofuel,  Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


    States Act Against EPA's Methane Standards Delays (Reg & Leg)
    EPA,Methane Leak
    Date: 2018-04-09
    Reuters is reporting 14 states have filed suit against the U.S. EPA for delaying or failing to expeditiously issue regulations for curbing emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from existing oil and gas operations as required under the Clean Air Act. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is accused of putting the interests of oil and gas companies ahead of the EPA's obligation to protect air quality, including the control of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions. The lawsuit is seeking a court order compelling the EPA to devise and issue the emissions standards in question.

    The legal challenge includes New York State, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Vermont and Iowa, as well as the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago. (Source: Guam Daily Post, Reuters, Others, 6 April, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  Methane Emissions,  EPA,  Pruitt,  


    Apple Opposes Repeal of Obama Clean Power Plan (Ind. Report)
    Apple
    Date: 2018-04-09
    In response to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's announced plan to cancel the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan (CPP) , communications giant Apple issued the following "public comment" in opposition to the Trump administration's proposed rule changes:

    "Apple is committed to leaving the world better than we found it. Part of our commitment is to reduce our own impact on climate change by using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in our products and facilities. However, we believe that governments, as well as industry leaders, must take a lead role in the global battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. For a number of reasons, EPA should not repeal the Clean Power Plan."

    According to Apple, adopting the plan would help the US become a global leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Apple adds that its own efforts have shown that the CPP's targets are achievable without negatively impacting reliability or resiliency.

    In 2016, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft filed a joint brief to the Supreme Court supporting the CPP and its goals. (Source: Apple, April, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  


    Notable Quote
    US EPA
    Date: 2018-04-04
    "America's standards on clean cars are the country's biggest environmental success stories.

    "We should be racing toward a cleaner, healthier transportation future. Instead, the Trump administration is steering us onto a dead end road. We have solutions at hand to build the cars of tomorrow. Strong clean cars standards will move us forward" -- Fred Krupp, Pres Environmental Defense Fund, commenting on the Trump EPA's announced intention to cut US auto fuel efficiency standards and roll-back standards on greenhouse gas emissions introduced under the Obama administration. Contact: Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, Pres. www.edf.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Environmental Defense Fund,  Vehicle Emissions,  Clean Fuel,  Pruitt,  


    Pruitt Looks to Limit RFS RINs Speculation (Reg & Leg)
    Scott Pruitt
    Date: 2018-03-14
    The Houston Chronicle is reporting that US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is considering limiting what he sees as speculative trade of ethanol Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) in an effort to keep prices down. .

    "There's some things on the trading platform I think should happen no matter what. There seems to be a hoarding of RINs which inflates the price of RINs. Some have talked about limiting the participants who buy and sell, so you can get away from some of the speculation that's taking place," Pruitt told the Houston Chronicle.

    Reforming the RINs program has been a top request of refiners and their allies in recent months, particularly after a major Philadelphia refiner declared bankruptcy in January, blaming RIN costs.

    Pruitt also told the Houston Chronicle he supports letting fuel stations sell higher ethanol blends in the summer than they are currently allowed to, but only if such a change can withstand legal challenges. (Source: US EPA, Houston Chronicle, The Hill, 12 Mar., 2018) Contact: EPA Scott Pruitt, www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt; www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-administrator

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  RINs,  RFS,  Scott Pruitt,  


    Ag Groups Admonish The Donald to Leave RFS As Is (Ind. Report)
    RFS
    Date: 2018-02-28
    A coalition of farm groups sent President Trump -- aka The Donald -- a letter on Monday asking him to leave the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) as is.

    "Rural America supported President Trump last year, now we need the President to support rural America. Supporting policy changes that undermine the RFS will hurt farmers, renewable fuel plant workers, and rural America. Mismanagement of a single refinery should not be used as an excuse for undoing ten-years of sound policy," said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Skunes in a statement.

    The NCGA, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Wheat Growers Association, National Sorghum Growers Association and National Farmers Union all signed the letter which was also sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.

    The letter notes that while some refiners, including the one that filed bankruptcy, say Renewable Identification Number's (RINs) cause financial hardship, last year the EPA investigated the issue and found they were "not causing economic harm to refiners." (Source: NCGA, AGPRO, 26 Feb., 2018) Contact: NCGA, (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Trump,  National Corn Growers Association,  RINS,  


    ENERGY STAR Wars -- Trump Attacks Energy Efficiency (Ind. Report)
    ENERGY STAR
    Date: 2018-02-23
    In Washington, Pres. Donald Trump's (The Donald's) budget request to Congress for fiscal year 2019 is calling for the elimination of $42 million in funding for the well known and popular DOE ENERGY STAR program. The voluntary program sets efficiency benchmarks for appliances, electronics, building materials, lighting and other products, and lets companies use the ENERGY STAR label on products that meet the specifications.

    Under The Donald's budget proposal, the EPA would administer and manage the energy efficiency certification program which would be funded through fees charged to the appliance manufacturers and other companies that use it, thus shifting the programs costs away from the taxpayer's purse.

    "By administering the ENERGY STAR program through the collection of user fees, EPA would continue to provide a trusted resource for consumers and businesses seeking the most energy and cost efficient products as well as help protect the environment," according to the DOE.

    As expected, manufacturers, retailers, utilities, environmentalists and others that benefit from the program are lining up against Trump's newest plan. The program's backers are also concerned that Trump's plan would erode the program's credibility for objective certifications. The Donald previous proposed to abolish the ENERGY STAR program altogether. (Source: The Hill, Various Other Media, 22 Feb., 2018) Contact: ENERGY STAR, www.energystar.gov

    Editor's Note: Keeping Wednesday, 21st February's coverage -- US Dept. of Energy Ordered to Publish Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards -- in mind, there is little reason to believe The Donald, Pruitt or the DOE have much interest in energy efficient appliances or energy efficiency in general. Here's Wednesday's coverage again:

    DOE Ordered to Publish Appliance Energy Efficiency Standards (Reg & Leg)

    The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has ordered the Trump administration to end its hold on rules that would strengthen appliance energy efficiency standards.

    At issue in the energy efficiency case were four standards -- proposed by the Obama administration in late 2016 -- that would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 99 million tons over 30 years and save consumers billions of dollars on their energy utility bills over that time period.

    U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled the DOE had "breached" its duty under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to publish the four energy efficiency standards in the Federal Register. The judge ordered the DOE to publish the standards within 28 days of the ruling. A DOE report notes that energy efficiency policies will save consumers $545 billion, but "The Donald" doesn't seem to care.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ENERGY STAR,  Trump,  


    Thoughts from EPA Admin. Scott Pruitt (Notable Quotes)
    EPA Scott Pruitt
    Date: 2018-02-05
    "Congress has put into play mandates that a certain percentage of our fuel has ethanol ... producing about 15 billion gallons of ethanol and exporting about 1 billion to 1 billion and a half [gallons]. So, we're doing very well in the ethanol sector and we're exporting that as well.

    "We need to get some accountability in the RIN market. There is a lot of speculation that goes on with respect to RINs, there are enforcement issues, fraud that occurs ... there is a lot to be done to get accountability and reform in the RIN market.

    "Whether or not the EPA can take action to allow sales of E15 year-round. In the past, the EPA has said they could not issue a Reid Vapor Pressure, or the tool used to measure the evaporative emissions of fuel, for E15 for the summer months. Meaning, the fuel couldn't be sold during that time." -- US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt commenting on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) associated costs and their impact on a recent Philadelphia refinery bankruptcy.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Scott Pruitt,  RFS,  RINs,  Ethanol,  Biofuel,  


    "If You Love the Taste of a Lobster Stew, Served by a Window with a Cape Cod View" -- APCC Opposes Repeal of Clean Power Plan (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Association to Preserve Cape Cod
    Date: 2018-01-12
    Citing concerns about increased severity and frequency of coastal storms, sea level rise, coastal erosion and other existing and future adverse impacts from climate change to the Cape Cod region, the not-for-profit environmental group Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) submitted a letter to U.S. EPA kingpin Scott Pruitt opposing the agency's proposed plan to repeal the Obama era Clean Power Plan requiring significant reductions in electrical power plant CO2 emissions. Repeal of the Clean Power Plan would lift those restrictions and allow for continued and potentially increased use of coal to fire the nation's power plants.

    Highlights of APCC communication include: " Climate change has emerged as the greatest environmental threat facing our (Cape Cod) region's natural resources, economy and human population. Cape Cod communities are already experiencing worsening impacts from sea level rise, coastal erosion and an increase in frequency and severity of coastal storms associated with a changing climate.

    "Electrical power plants fired by fossil fuels are responsible for 31 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. -- the single largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the nation. Any effort to effectively reduce the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change must include a substantial reduction in power plant emissions levels. The Clean Power Plan would achieve that objective.

    "Issuance of the Clean Power Plan by the EPA in 2015, with its requirement for significant reductions in CO2 pollution emissions from power plants, has been the most important step to date taken by the U.S. to address climate change. Implementation of the CPP would set our nation on the right track toward mitigating climate change and its impacts, and it would secure the U.S.'s position as a responsible global partner in the effort to control CO2 emissions.

    "The EPA has a legal requirement under the Clean Air Act -- requirement that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court -- to regulate CO2 as a pollutant that endangers human health. Repeal of the CPP would be in direct conflict with the EPA's charge to protect the nation's environment and the health of its citizens, a responsibility entrusted to the agency since its establishment in 1970." (Source: Association to Preserve Cape Cod, CapeCodToday, 10 Jan., 2018) Contact: Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Andrew Gottlieb, Exec. Dir., (508) 619-3185, www.apcc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  EPA,  Clean Power Plan,  Pruitt,  


    Notable Quotes on Climate Change from Team Trump
    Climate Change
    Date: 2018-01-10
    "Claims of catastrophic consequences in global warming are not reflective of the majority of the opinions even among IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scientists." -- US VP Mike Pence

    "The increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect. Our ability to predict that effect is very limited." -- US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson

    "I would not agree that [carbon dioxide] is a primary driver to the global warming that we see." -- US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

    When asked whether carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate change: "No. Most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in." (Climate change is) "one contrived phony mess." -- US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

    "We don't know definitively, in my opinion, what is causing climate change." -- US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue

    "An invisible, harmless trace gas in the Earth's atmosphere, CO2 is a plant food." -- Kathleen Hartnett White, Trump Nominee to lead the Council on Environmental Quality

    "I'm still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I'm somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It's not something that's so hard and fast. I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch." -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump discussing climate change.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Donald Trump,  


    EPA Under the Gun on Obama Climate Rule Changes (Reg & Leg)
    EPA
    Date: 2018-01-08
    It is being widely reported that the Trump administration EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is under the gun to repeal and replace the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan before the year end.

    Obama's rule aimed to cut carbon levels 32 pct below 2005 levels by 2030. Under Trump, the EPA is expected to do little more than consider coal plant efficiency upgrades which would do little to curb emissions.

    (Source: Politico, Twitter, 5 Jan., 2018) Contact: EPA Scott Pruitt, www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt; www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-administrator

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Scott Pruitt,  ,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Notable Quote from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
    EPA
    Date: 2018-01-08
    "The citizens just don't trust that EPA is honest with these (CO2 emissions) numbers. Let's get real, objective data, not just do modeling. Let's vigorously publish and peer-review science. Let's do honest cost-benefit work. We need to restore the trust." -- Scott Pruitt, Feb., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA news,  Scott Pruitt news,  


    EPA Stymies RFS Point of Obligation Blending Change (Reg. & Leg.)
    EPA, Valero
    Date: 2017-11-27
    Bloomberg is reporting that the Trump administration EPA has nixed a bid by Valero Energy Corp. and other refiners to alter the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) biofuel mandate on the grounds that it wouldn't "result in net overall benefits to the program." The Environmental Protection Agency denied petitions by Valero Energy Corp. and other refiners to alter the U.S. biofuel mandate because it does not believe the changes "would result in net overall benefits to the program," according to the agency's website.

    The proposed changes were widely opposed by farm-state legislators and ethanol producers. The EPA's formal declaration satisfies EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's pledge to retain the current structure of the RFS requiring refiners and importers to blend biofuels into petroleum transportation fuels.

    Refiners are reportedly affected unevenly by the current mandate -- those without sufficient infrastructure to blend in biofuels themselves must instead buy credits to comply while other companies that blend transportation fuels, but do not own refineries and therefore are not required to satisfy annual biofuel quotas, can sell those tradable credits. (Source: EPA, Industry Week, Bloomberg, 23 Nov., 2017) Contact: Valero Energy, (800) 324-8464, www.valero.com; EPA Scott Pruitt, www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt; www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-administrator

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  EPA,  Scott Pruitt,  Valero,  Point of Obligation,  


    RFS Ethanol Blend Waiver Sought for NJ Refinery (Ind. Report)
    RFS
    Date: 2017-11-20
    In a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, legislators in the Garden State are asking the US EPA to waive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)rules governing blending of ethanol into gasoline, a requirement they say threatens the financial viability and future of the 100 year-old Paulsboro, New Jersey refinery. Refiners unable to comply with the blending rule can comply by purchasing credits (RINs) instead, an expensive proposition, the lawmakers said.

    "The cost of compliance to this regulation puts at risk these energy-sector jobs in our region. In addition, these high costs also contribute to the cost of gasoline for residents and consumers," the legislators claim. The legislators note the EPA has legal authority under the Clean Air Act to waive the renewable obligations “should they present a harm to a state or regional economy." (Source: NJ Spotlight, Various Media, 17 Nov., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard,  Ethanol Blend,  RINs,  Ethanol,  


    EPA Sued for Missed Renewable Fuel Reporting Deadlines (Reg & Lag)
    EPA,Sierra Club
    Date: 2017-10-23
    In the nation's capital, the Sierra Club is taking the the US EPA to court claiming the agency is years overdue on its reporting obligations, and failure to address the growing prevalence of respiratory illness and environmental degradations the group says are being cause by corn and soy-based ethanol. According to the suit, the EPA violated the Clean Air Act by failing to update Congress on the environmental impacts of the Renewable Fuel Standard program, and failed to study whether increased ethanol use is causing harm to the environment.

    According to the Sierra Club complaint, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is not submitting the required reports on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the Energy Independence and Security Act's Renewable Fuel Standard program and has failed to complete the required "anti-backsliding" study to determine whether vehicle and engine air pollutant emissions changes, resulting from the Program's renewable fuel volumes, adversely impact air quality". the complaint says.

    The Sierra Club says it sent a letter to Pruitt on February 23, informing him that he wasn't performing his duty in regard to the RFS program. The Sierra Club seeks a declaration that Pruitt and the EPA have violated federal law, and an order compelling them to file the overdue reports. (Source: Sierra Club, 20 Oct., 2017) Contact: Sierra Club, Devorah Ancel, Oakland, California Office, www.sierraclub.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  Scott Pruitt,  Sierra Club,  ,  


    EPA's Pruitt Folds on Ethanol Quota Changes (Ind. Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2017-10-20
    According to Bloomberg, the White House has yielded to political pressure and instructed EPA head Scott Pruitt to back away from two changes regarding ethanol quotas -- a possible reduction in biodiesel requirements and a proposal to allow exported renewable fuel to count toward domestic quotas.

    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,  


    Notable Quote

    Date: 2017-10-16
    "The citizens just don't trust that EPA is honest with these (CO2 emissions) numbers. Let's get real, objective data, not just do modeling. Let's vigorously publish and peer-review science. Let's do honest cost-benefit work. We need to restore the trust." -- Scott Pruitt, Feb., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pruitt,  


    "Subsidies Give Renewables an Unfair Edge", says Pruitt (Opinions, Editorials and Asides)
    Renewable Energy
    Date: 2017-10-13
    "I would do away with these incentives that we give to wind and solar. I'd let them stand on their own and compete against coal and natural gas and other sources (oil), and let utilities make real-time market decisions on those types of things as opposed to being propped up by tax incentives and other types of credits that occur, both in the federal level and state level," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaking at a recent Kentucky Farm Bureau event.

    Editor's Note In broad strokes, it may be worth noting that fossil fuels -- coal, natural gas and oil -- receive approximately $7.40 for every $1.00 in subsidies paid to the renewables -- wind,solar, bioenergy -- sector, according to the U.S Office of Management and Budget. So where's the unfair edge? (Source: Scott Pruitt, Various Media, ZME Science, 10 Oct., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy SubsidiesRenewables,  Wind,  Solar,  Bioenergy,  Scott Pruitt,  


    Trump's Obama Clean Power Plan Repeal Effort Expected (Reg & Leg)
    EPA,Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2017-10-09
    According to Bloomberg, CNN and others, the US EPA still plans to propose the repeal of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan meant to curb primarily coal-burning lower generation plant greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed repeal effort is in line with Trump's string of executive orders seemingly aimed at discrediting the Obama administration and challenging the legality of the Clean Power Plan itself. The proposed repeal -- see attached -- is widely expected to be launched this week.

    Review the full EPA proposal HERE. (Source: EPA, CNN, Various Others, Oct. 7, 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA Pruitt,  Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Iowa Biodiesel Board Urges Trump to Stop EPA Gutting of RFS (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Iowa Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2017-10-06
    The Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) has sent the following message to the Trump Administration urging the President to stop the U.S. EPA from slashing biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program which was intended to stimulate renewable fuel growth, not hinder it:

    "Gutting biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard would bring an Iowa manufacturing success story to its knees, deal a blow to an already struggling farm economy, and shake the state economy. This is a major issue for the Midwest and U.S. agriculture, and we implore President Trump to stop his EPA administrator (Scott Pruitt) from forsaking this driver of American jobs, all in an apparent move to appease the oil industry.

    "The market is already reacting to this impending blow. Commodity prices crashed on the news of EPA's indicated plans to cut biodiesel. We were already in the midst of a downturn in the ag economy, with many farmers in the red for the fourth year in a row. We have excess feedstock capacity due to a surplus of corn and soybeans on the market, which has lowered commodity prices. Gutting the RFS would exacerbate farmer struggles and could push us deeper into an agriculture recession. It could also cost thousands of Iowans their jobs as plants are forced to make cutbacks and even shutter their doors. We do not believe this is what President Trump wants for rural communities.

    "Here in Iowa, many of us feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football as Lucy pulls it away. We have stood on the edge of expansion. Many of our plants have already spent millions of dollars on expansion, based on the promise of a growing RFS, and others have had further growth planned. This would mean more jobs, more dollars circulating through Iowa's communities, and more American manufacturing. We have the capacity to achieve this, but it is at a standstill." (Source: Iowa Biodiesel Board, 2 Oct., 2017) Contact: Iowa Biodiesel Board, Grant Kimberley, Director, (866) 683-4172, www.iowabiodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Biodiesel Board ,  RFS,  EPA,  


    ASA Calls for 400 Mn Gal. Increase in Biodiesel Volumes (Ind. Report)
    American Soybean Association
    Date: 2017-09-13
    In St. Louis, the American Soybean Association (ASA) recently called upon U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to increase the volumes for biomass-based diesel by 400 million gallons over the EPA's proposed 2.5 billion gallons in 2019.

    According to the ASA, "The EPA and the administration are missing an easy opportunity to help the agriculture and rural economy. …An increase of biomass-based diesel volume requirements to 2.5 billion gallons in 2019 and the advanced biofuels volumes to 4.75 billion gallons in 2018 is achievable and warranted.

    "Since 1980 U.S. soybean farmers have increased production by 96 pct while using 8 pct less energy, land use per ton of soybean production has decreased by 35 pct and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 41 pct per ton," the ASA added.

    According to ASA modeling, additional soybean supplies will support the increased biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volume levels while feedstock prices will be less than their five-year average. (Source: American Soybean Association , Sept., 2017) Contact: American Soybean Association, Ron Moore, Pres., (314) 576-1770, www.soygrowers.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Soybean Association ,  Biodiesel,  


    EPA Temporarily Waives Ren. Fuel Blending Requirements (Ind. Report)
    RFA
    Date: 2017-09-01
    Following on our August 25th coverage, the Washington Examiner is reporting that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday approved a fuel blending waiver in the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, Louisiana, and D.C. -- due to possible fuel supply disruptions caused by Hurricane Harvey. In addition, the elimination of the volatility requirements for gasoline allows the corn ethanol industry to sell higher 15-pct ethanol blends in the gasoline supply in those states, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) which earlier this week lobbied the EPA head Scott Pruitt to issue a national fuel waiver.

    The EPA fuel waiver will make it easier for gasoline and diesel supplies to be distributed by relaxing Clean Air Act regulations that require special blends be made available to meet state-specific emission requirements. Current EPA emission rules don't allow for E15 to be blended in the summer because of its high fuel volatility and pressure rating. The new waiver relaxes those requirements for reformulated gasoline and low volatility gasoline through Sept. 15, opening up an opportunity to sell more E15 from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic. (Source: RFA, Washington Examiner, 30 Aug., 2017) Contact: RFA, Geoff Cooper, Snr. VP, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News E15,  Ethanol Blend,  RFA,  Fuel Emissions ,  EPA,  Scott Pruitt,  

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