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Ethanol Fuel Cell R&D Legislation Tabled in DC (Reg. & Leg.)
Ethanol
Date: 2021-09-13
In Washington, Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA-04) has tabled H.R. 5090, the Biofuel Cell Research Act directing the DOE to establish an R&D and demonstration program for a commercially viable ethanol fuel cell system that generates electricity. This electricity is then used to power vehicle engines, resulting in a net-zero carbon emission power source.

Feenstra previously introduced and sponsored proposals to support biofuel producers, including the bipartisan Small Refinery Exemption and Clarification Act of 2021, in response to the Supreme Court's ruling on small refinery exemptions (SREs). After a D.C. circuit court ruled against E15 year-round, Feenstra also helped introduce the Year-Round Fuel Choice Act of 2021. (Source: Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra, Website PR, 7 Sept., 2021) Contact: Iowa Rep. Randy Feenstra, 202) 225-4426, www.feenstra.house.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Fuel Cell,  Ethanol,  RFS,  


Colorado City Fleets Switching to RNG (Ind. Report)
City of Longmont, City of Boulder
Date: 2021-09-08
In Colorado, in late 2019 the City of Longmont completed and commissioned a renewable natural gas (RNG) project at its Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRRF) to produce fuel for use in the City's fleet of trash trucks. Eleven of Longmont's 21 diesel collection trucks were replaced with compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks capable of using RNG fuel. The remaining diesel trucks are expected to be replaced in 2024. The Waste Services division anticipates using about 50 pct to 70 pct of the biogas produced at the WRRF.

The City of Boulder's WRRF completed its Biogas Use Enhancement Project in 2020, producing RNG from the treatment plant's biogas. The RNG is sold to Western Disposal which can fuel up to 38 trucks in it trash collection fleet. Tetra Tech provided engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services to the Boulder facility which incorporates Tetra Tech's proprietary BioCNG™ gas conditioning system.

The RNG is injected into the Public Service Company of Colorado's pipeline. Boulder also is capitalizing on the sale of RIN credits in the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) marketplace. (Source: City of Longmont, Pr, 31 Aug., 2021)Contact: City of Longmont, Longmont Utilities, (303) 776-6050, www.longmontcolorado.gov/departments/departments-n-z/utilities; Tetra Tech, www.tetratech.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News City of Boulder,  City of Longmont,  RNG,  RenewableBiogas,  Natural Gas,  Tetra Tech,  


EPA Rcommends RFS Biofuel Blend Mandate Rollback (Reg & Leg.)
Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2021-08-30
Reuters is reporting the U.S. EPA is recommending the retroactive lowering Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending mandate.

Under the RFS, U.S. oil refiners are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels into the nation's fuel mix, or purchase tradeable credits (RINs) from those that do.

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: Reuters, 26 Aug., 2021)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Standard,  Biofuel Blend,  


"Dear Mr. President... Yours Truly, ACE" (Opinions & Asides)
American Coalition for Ethanol
Date: 2021-08-16
In a letter to President Joe Biden, the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) called for the President to set the maximum statutory volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in the 2021 and 2022 Renewable Volume Obligation rule-making and to pursue all options to ensure uninterrupted market access for E15. The letter notes these actions are the quickest way to reduce GHG emissions from the U.S. transportation fleet in the near term and support net-negative biofuel production that can help achieve a fully decarbonized transportation future.

"We recognize your goal is to electrify the vehicle fleet in the future, but the inconvenient truth is there are hundreds of millions more people driving vehicles capable of using low-carbon substitutes to petroleum such as E15 and E85 today than any other alternative. Since this reality will exist well into the future, increasing the use of ethanol today will immediately reduce GHGs while the production of electric vehicles (EVs) ramps up" the letter notes.

"In the near-term, a properly implemented RFS and year-round availability of E15 will meaningfully reduce the carbon intensity of the U.S. transportation sector by capitalizing on the existing vehicle fleet's ability to use lower-carbon biofuels. In the mid-term, the pending RVO decision will act as a harbinger for companies on how much to rely on your commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050 when making investment decisions," the letter added.

"If the Administration is not willing to ensure the RFS will call for 15 billion gallons of low-carbon ethanol already being produced to replace petroleum at the pump, legitimate questions will be asked about the merits of non-binding executive orders setting national goals for less deployable decarbonization technologies," the letter concluded.

Download the full ACE letter HERE . (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, Website PR,11 Aug., 2021) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, www.ethanol.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  RFS,  E15,  Ethanol,  Renewable Fuel,  Biofuel,  


NBB Calls for Biden to Support Renewable Fuel Standard (Ind. Report)
National Biodiesel Board,Renewable Fuel Standard
Date: 2021-08-04
In Washington, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has launched an ad campaign in Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin calling on Pres. Joe Biden to maintain his commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

"As a candidate last August, Joe Biden called the Renewable Fuel Standard 'our bond with our farmers and our commitment to a thriving rural economy.' But now, there are reports he's considering handouts to oil refiners -- at the expense of biodiesel producers and soybean farmers," the ad notes.

According to the NBB, the U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel industry supports 65,000 US jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year. Every 100 million gallons of production supports 3,200 jobs and $780 million in economic opportunity. Biodiesel production supports approximately 13 pct of the value of each US bushel of soybeans. (Source: NBB, Aug., 2021) Contact: NBB, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.nbb.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  


RFA Comments on Refiners' RFS Arguments Rejection (Ind. Report)
Renewable Fuels Association
Date: 2021-07-23
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) issued the following comments on the D.C. Circuit Court's July 16th rejection of arguments from oil refiners that the "Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) causes them economic hardship and therefore the EPA should have waived their 2019 RFS obligations." The court ruled on the follow specific points:

  • Severe Economic Harm Waiver -- The court rebuffed the refiners' argument that EPA should have waived the 2019 RFS requirements because East Coast refiners purportedly could not pass through their RFS compliance costs and thus experienced "severe economic harm." According to the Court, "Obligated parties assert that the 'pass-through' theory is flawed and that RFS requirements impose severe economic consequences on refiners in the Eastern United States. We reject this challenge. EPA reasonably concluded that obligated parties had failed to make the strong causal showing required to trigger the waiver. It was reasonable for EPA to conclude that RFS costs alone were not the primary driver of the refineries' economic difficulties", the Court added.

  • Inadequate Domestic Supply Waiver -- The court also shot down the refiners' claim that a waiver of 2019 RFS requirements would have been justified due to an "inadequate domestic supply" of renewable fuels to meet the standards. "EPA adequately explained its refusal to exercise the inadequate domestic supply waiver," the judges wrote.

  • Point of Obligation -- Refiners also argued that EPA should have used the 2019 RFS rule-making to change the point of obligation for RFS compliance from refiners and importers to fuel blenders. The court discarded that argument stating "Refiners have repeatedly but unsuccessfully urged EPA to include blenders in the point of obligation. EPA's decision not to undertake another reassessment in the 2019 rule-making was not an abuse of discretion."

  • Exported Renewable Fuel -- The Court similarly rejected refiner arguments that exported renewable fuels should count toward RFS compliance. "EPA at no point suggested that it was substantively reconsidering its longstanding policy concerning the treatment of exported renewable fuel, and it reasonably refused to consider obligated parties' arguments for changing that policy," the court ruled. (Source: Renewable Fuels Assoc., Website PR, 16 July, 2021) Contact: RFA, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  RFS Waiver,  


  • Growth Energy Calls for Congressional Biofuel Support (Ind. Report)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2021-07-23
    Growth Energy has launched a new online digital ad campaign urging President Biden and leaders in Congress to stop oil industry handouts and uphold their commitments to reduce carbon emissions, support low carbon biofuels and strong Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    According to Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor, "It's time for leaders in Washington to make good on their commitments to clean, renewable energy and put a stop to Big Oil's efforts to restore its monopoly over the US fuel mix. The evidence is clear. Congress and the administration cannot decarbonise transportation without a growing role for low-carbon biofuels, which are vital to our climate, working families, and the economy. The last thing we can afford are more handouts to the oil industry. Policymakers must act swiftly to ensure uninterrupted, year-round access to E15 and set ambitious biofuel blending levels, including a statutory minimum of 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel, under annual targets." (Source: Growth Energy, Website PR, 22 July, 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  Renewable Fuels,  


    EIA Expects Biodiesel Production Increase in 2022 (Ind. Report)
    Energy Information Administration
    Date: 2021-07-09
    In Washington, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is predicting that biodiesel production will increase by 10 pct in 2022 following a slight decline in 2021, while biomass-based diesel net are imports are expected to rise in both years.

    According to the EIA, U.S. biodiesel production increased by approximately 5 pct from 2019 to 2020, averaging an estimated 118,000 bpd last year. The agency expects biodiesel to fall slightly to 117,000 bpd this year, before increasing by 10 pct to 129,000 bpd in 2022, due in part to biodiesel's role in meeting multiple Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) targets and the biodiesel production tax credit through 2022.

    The EIA also noted that despite high renewable identification number (RIN) prices, record-high feedstock costs are expected to limit biodiesel production growth over the forecast period.

    The EIA expects net imports to increase to an average of 29,000 bpd in 2021 and 44,000 bpd in 2022. (Source: EIA, July, 2021) Contact: EIA, www.eia.gov/outlooks/aeo

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Information Administration,  Biodiesel ,  


    Growth Energy Warns Against More RFS Waivers (Opinions & Asides)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2021-06-30
    Addressing a recent U.S. Senate Ag subcommittee meeting, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor noted there's both a practical and a political downside if the US EPA lets small oil refiners off the hook in blending ethanol or buying biofuel credits.

    "In 2019, President Biden said in Iowa, and I quote, 'Those waivers are a gigantic mistake. We should not be exempting, we should be insisting that these major oil companies meet the criteria that are set,' end quote. We wholeheartedly agree. Lowering, waving, caping, or any backtracking on the promise of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) damages our ability to decarbonize our vehicle fleet, threatens large agricultural markets, and jeopardizes hundreds of thousands of jobs supported by the biofuel industry."

    According to Skor, a new study shows switching to E15 with incentives pending in Congress would add $18 billion to the economy, $10 billion to household income and 183,000 jobs. (Source: Growth Energy, DRG News, 29 June, 2021). (Source: Growth Energy , Website PR, 25 May, 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  RFS,  Hardship Waivers,  Biofuel,  Ethanol,  


    Growth Energy Applauds Senate Push for RFS Transparency (Ind. Report, Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2021-05-28
    In Washington, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor has thanked U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), who reintroduced the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Integrity Act. A companion to House legislation introduced in February, the bipartisan proposal would bring greater transparency to the U.S. EPA small refinery exemption (SRE) process and ensure refiners apply for exemptions in a timely manner.

    "This legislation provides long-overdue transparency for requests to avoid blending more low carbon renewable fuels that are key to America's low-carbon future. We applaud Senators Fischer and Duckworth for working to protect the integrity of the RFS so that farmers and biofuel producers, as well as the entire fuel supply chain, across the nation can count on stable demand and continue providing cleaner and more affordable fuel choices at the pump, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said."

    "By arming the public with greater information on biofuel exemptions, we can keep oil refineries accountable to following the law and ensure uninterrupted progress toward achieving cleaner air and a healthier climate," Skor added.

    Currently, EPA does not provide a deadline for refiners submitting a request for an SRE. The bipartisan Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act explicitly sets a June 1st deadline the year prior to the biofuel targets going into effect the following year. This will allow EPA to account for any exempted gallons in the following year's Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) as required by the Clean Air Act and ensure that the RVOs are met. Additionally, the legislation increases transparency into the SRE application process, allowing the public greater insight into which companies are receiving exemptions and why, according to the release. (Source: Growth Energy , Website PR, 25 May, 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Grwoth Energy,  RFS,  


    CABBI Investigates RFS Biofuel Mandates, Incentives (Ind. Report)
    CABBI
    Date: 2021-05-03
    New studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI) have found the need to adopt more targeted policies that value the environmental and ecosystem benefits of perennial bioenergy crops over cheaper options -- and provide financial incentives for farmers to grow them.

    In particular, the study calculated the net economic and environmental costs of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandates and found that maintaining the corn ethanol mandate would lead to a cumulative net cost to society of nearly $200 billion from 2016 to 2030 compared to having no RFS. The social cost of nitrogen damage from corn ethanol production substantially offsets the social benefits from GHG savings, the report notes.On the otherhand, the additional cellulosic mandate could provide substantial economic and environmental benefits with technological innovations that lower the costs of converting biomass to cellulosic ethanol and policies that place a high monetized value for GHG mitigation benefits. The study notes that maintaining the corn ethanol mandate pushes more land into corn production which increases the market price of other agricultural commodities. While producers might benefit from higher market prices.

    The study notes the cellulosic ethanol mandate could provide an overall benefit with the right policies. Supporting research and development to lower the cost of converting biomass to cellulosic ethanol would substantially reduce production costs and increase social benefits, and a high monetized value for GHG mitigation could offset all other costs.

    CABBI researchers hope performance-based policies -- including the low carbon fuel standard, carbon and nitrogen leakage taxes, or limits on crop-residue harvest -- can be implemented to supplement the RFS mandates after 2022.

    CABBI aims to integrate recent advances in agronomics, genomics, and synthetic and computational biology to increase the value of energy crops -- using a "plants as factories" approach to grow fuels and chemicals in plant stems, an automated foundry to convert biomass into valuable chemicals, and ensuring that its products are ecologically and economically sustainable. This holistic approach will help reduce fossil fuels dependence, according to the CABBI website. (Source: CABBI, PR, 27 Apr., 2021) Contact: CABBI, Evan DeLuc1a, (217)244-1586, cabbi-bio@illinois.edu, www.cabbi.bio

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CABBI,  Biofuel,  RFS,  Corn Ethanol,  


    RINs Hit Highs as High Court Deliberates RFS Waivers (Ind. Report)
    RFS, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2021-04-28
    Reuters is reporting U.S. renewable fuel standard credits (RINs) jumped Tuesday to record highs as costs for soybean oil pushed up both renewable fuel and biomass-based credits.

    Renewable fuel (D6) credits for 2021 traded up from $1.44 to $1.50 each and biomass-based (D4) credits traded at $1.58 each, up from $1.52 previously -- highest since Reuters began reporting data for renewable fuel credits in 2013 and biomass-based credits in 2014.

    The credits, known as RINs, rose at the same time that the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday was hearing oral arguments for a case involving the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires refiners to blend biofuels into their fuel mix each year or buy RINs from those that do. The Supreme Court's decision around the case will likely heavily influence the future of the RFS.

    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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: Various Media, Reuters, 27 Apr., 2021)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Standard,  


    National Academies to Study Low-Carbon Transport Fuels (Ind Report)
    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
    Date: 2021-03-01
    In the nation's capitol, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (National Academies) reports it is forming a committee to study the current methods for life cycle analyses (LCA) of low-carbon transportation fuels in the U.S.

    Low carbon fuel standards, such as the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), are major US programs for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation fuels. These standards rely on life cycle assessment (LCA) as a tool to estimate fuel GHG emissions.

    The National Academies aims to develop a reliable and coherent approach for applying LCA to low-carbon fuel standards via a methodological assessment to identify the general characteristics and capabilities of GHG emissions estimation methods commonly needed across various types of low-carbon fuels programs applied at a national level. The committee will include the following considerations:

  • Direct GHG emissions over the entire lifecycle of a given transportation fuel, including feedstock generation or extraction, feedstock conversion to a finished fuel or blendstock, distribution, storage, delivery, and use of the fuel in vehicles.

  • Potentially significant indirect GHG emissions, such as those associated with indirect land use changes attributed to biofuels production.

  • Key assumptions, input parameters, and data quality and quantity for application of lifecycle GHG emission models for different regions of the U.S.

  • Needs for additional data, methods for data collection, standardized inputs for lifecycle analyses, and model improvements.

    The National Academies is seeking approximately 14 members with expertise in the fields of: life cycle analysis (LCA); fuel production and use (including fossil fuels, biofuels, and electricity); economics; greenhouse gas (GHG) emission modeling; uncertainty analysis; terrestrial ecosystems; and environmental policy decision-making.

    Details HERE (Source: National Academies. PR, 1 Mar., 2021) Contact: National Academiers, 202-334-2000, www.nationalacademies.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Low-Carbon Fuel,  Biofuel,  RFS,  GHGs,  


  • EPA Changes Course on RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg.)
    EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2021-02-24
    In Washington, the US EPA reports it will support a January 2020 decision by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and farm groups lawsuit over "improperly granted" renewable fuel standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers granted to oil refineries under the Trump administration. The lawsuit is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this spring.

    The EPA under Trump issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4 billion gallons, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA)

    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: US EPA, 22 Feb., 2021)Contact: RFA, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  "Hardship Waiver",  Ethanol Blend,  


    U.S. Ethanol Production Drops (Ind. Report)
    US EIA
    Date: 2021-02-22
    According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), during the week ending on February 12, ethanol production fell to its lowest level in five months -- 911,000 bpd, down from 937,000 bpd during the prior week -- while stockpiles grew.

    A Successful Farming report notes the U.S. Midwest, which produces more ethanol than any other region in the country, saw its production drop to 868,000 bpd from day from 895,000 bpd from the previous week and the lowest output level since late September. The East Coast and Gulf Coast regions stayed at an average of 12,000 bpd while the Rocky Mountain and West Coast production levels were unchanged at 9,000 bpd, on average, according to the EIA. Stockpiles increased to 24.297 million barrels in the seven days ending on February 12.

    In other ethanol industry news, the US EPA has announced all 16 "hardship waiver" exemption petitions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) from 2020 are still pending. In total, 66 petitions that date back as far as 2011 are still pending.

    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: US EIA, Ag Central News, 20 Feb., 2021) Contact: US EIA, www.eia.gov

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


    Growth Energy Calls for EPA to Reject RFS Compliance Extension Deadlines (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Growth Energy
    Date: 2021-02-12
    In Washington, in testimony at the EPA virtual hearing on the proposal to extend the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance deadlines for the 2019 and 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), Growth Energy's Senior VP of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley called on the agency to reject calls to delay RFS compliance and instead take immediate steps to restore integrity to the RFS and restore lost biofuel demand.

    "The intent of the RFS is to blend more biofuels into our nation's transportation fuel supply. Period. It is not meant to have oil companies use questionable legal tactics to avoid blending biofuels and then demanding that the agency further delay compliance," Bliley said.

    Bliley also reminded EPA about the benefits of biofuels as America works toward its clean climate goals, stating that "With recent research showing that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46 pct lower than gasoline, it makes no sense why EPA should continue to exempt oil companies and further delay them from complying with their blending obligations."

    EPA's proposal would extend the RFS compliance deadline for the 2019 compliance year to November 30, 2021 and extend the RFS compliance deadline for the 2020 compliance year to January 31, 2022. (Source: Growth Energy, PR, Website, 9 Feb., 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Chris Bliley, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  RFS,  


    Ethanol Ind. Leaders Comment on EPA's Last Minute RFA "Hardship" Waivers (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFS Waivers
    Date: 2021-02-01
    On Jan 19, the Trump administration's Andrew Wheeler-led EPA approved three small refinery "hardship" waivers to reverse one denial from 2018 and granting two for the 2019 compliance year. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) was quick to respond with a petition for review and an emergency motion to stay EPA's action.

    "Based on empirical evidence from SREs improperly granted in other compliance years, the new 2018-2019 SREs will likely have a sudden, negative impact on both ethanol sales volumes and prices. This would be devastating to America's ethanol producers, many of which are already on the brink of closure due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This action by EPA is completely without legal merit," RFA Pres. and CEO Geoff Cooper Noted:

    "This midnight-hour attempt by the Trump administration to damage the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and sabotage the ethanol industry's recovery from the COVID pandemic simply cannot be allowed to prevail. With just hours remaining in his shameful term as EPA administrator, Wheeler couldn't stop himself from doling out a few more Clean Air Act compliance exemptions to his well-connected friends. But the fact remains that this action by EPA is completely without legal merit. It flouts both the statute and recent court decisions that clearly limit EPA's authority and ability to grant these exemptions. And while this action comes as one last sucker punch from the Trump administration, we are confident it will be a hollow victory for the politically connected oil companies receiving today's waivers, as the new Biden administration will most certainly act quickly to restore the volumes erased by these waivers," RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper said.

    "Farm families and biofuel workers across the country have worked tirelessly to make a living over the past few months despite a global pandemic. And yet, the Trump administration's SRE abuse has piled on to the uncertainty and difficulty that rural Americans are facing every day," according to Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

    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: RFA, Growth Energy, AgriNews, 30January, 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org; RFA, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  Biofuel,  Biofuel Blend,  RFA,  Growth Energy,  RFS,  "Hardship" Waivers,  ,  


    EPA Proposes Extension of RFS Deadlines (Ind. Report)
    EPA, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2021-01-18
    In its just published draft rulemaking, the EPA proposed extending the deadline for refineries to prove compliance with federal renewable fuel standard (RFS) blending mandates in 2019.

    The agency proposed a new 2019 compliance deadline of 30 November 2021, with a 1 June 2022 deadline for refineries processing less than 75,000 b/d of crude a year. The 2020 mandates would have deadlines of 31 January 2022 and 1 June 2022 for small refineries, under the proposal. Deadlines to prove compliance for the 2019 mandates were last March, and for the 2020 compliance year March of this 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. (Source: EPA, PR, 14 Jan., 2021)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  ,  Hardship Waiver,  Biofuel Blending,  


    Supreme Court to Review RFS Biofuel Waivers (Reg. & Leg.)
    RFS Waivers
    Date: 2021-01-11
    The US Supreme Court will review the ability of oil refineries to win exemptions from federal biofuel-blending quotas under Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) legislation.

    Under the January 2020 ruling that the Supreme Court will now review, the EPA was found to have wrongly waived three refineries from the renewable fuel requirements. A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit also said that refineries are only eligible for relief if they have received uninterrupted, continuous extensions of the exemptions -- an exclusion that means only a handful nationwide will qualify.

    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: Various Trade Media, 8 Jan., 2021)

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


    CVR Energy Advancing OK Renewable Diesel Project (Ind. Report)
    CVR Energy
    Date: 2020-12-23
    Sugarland, Texas-based CVR Energy Inc is reporting Board approval to advance work on a $110-million renewable diesel plant in Wynnewood, Oklahoma.

    When commissioned and fully operational, the facility will produce almost 100 million gpy of renewable diesel and roughly 6 million gpy of renewable naphth and significantly lower the company's annual Renewable Identification Number (RIN) exposure under the Clean Air Act's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    The use of RNG as a transportation fuel has reportedly increased 291 pct over the past 5 years, displacing close to 7.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). That is the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of driving 18.6 trillion miles in a typical passenger cat. It is the CO2 emissions equivalent of consuming 842 million gallons of gasoline. This equates to the total amount of fuel used by 63,171 transit buses every year, according to trade data(Source: CVR Energy, PR, 22 Dec., 2020) Contact: CVR Energy Inc., David Lamp., CEO, (281) 207-3200, www.cvrenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RINs,  CVR Energy,  Renewable Diesel,  


    Biofuels Coalition Challenges 2018 RFS Hardship Waivers (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-12-09
    A coalition of the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, and National Farmers Union have filed a brief to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals challenging EPA's August 2019 decision to exempt 31 small refineries from their obligations to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in 2018.

    The filing argues the EPA was not authorized to issue the exemptions and that it acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner in its decision.

    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.

    Download the coalition's brief HERE. (Source: Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, National Corn Growers Association, National Biodiesel Board, American Coalition for Ethanol, National Farmers Union, 8 Dec., 2020) Contact: National Farmers Union, Rob Larew, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Hardship Waiver,  Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  National Farmers Union,  


    EPA Misses 2021 RFS RVO Announcement (Opinions & Asides)
    Renewable Fuels Association,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2020-12-02
    Commenting on the US EPA's again missing the annual statutory deadline for the release of the RVOs, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said:

    "It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that EPA is missing its statutory deadline for publishing the final rule for 2021 RVOs, given that we still haven't even seen a proposed rule. And even if a proposed rule was released today, it would be next to impossible to have a final rule done by the end of the calendar year, or even by inauguration day.

    "At this point, it likely makes more sense to let the new administration handle the 2021 RVO rulemaking process entirely. President-elect Biden has correctly noted that the RFS waivers granted by the current EPA have severely cut ethanol production, costing farmers income and ethanol plant workers their jobs. Thus, we are confident that the new EPA administrator, whoever that may end up being, will stop doing secret favors for oil refiners and ensure the RFS is implemented in a way that is consistent with the law and Congressional intent. We know it may take a few months for the new administration to get a final 2021 RVO rule done, but in the meantime, the statute is crystal clear that refiners must blend at least 15 billion gallons of conventional renewable fuel in 2021.

    "So, while there may be some uncertainty around where the final advanced and cellulosic volume requirements may end up, the marketplace should be able to enter 2021 with some level of confidence around the conventional renewable fuel and biomass-based diesel requirements."

    National Farmers Union President Rob Larew added, "By punting a decision on 2021's RVOS to the next administration, EPA is introducing yet more uncertainty to the biofuels industry -- uncertainty that most farmers and biofuels producers can't afford right now. Despite promising again and again to uphold RFS, the Trump administration has consistently undermined the program with its misappropriation of small refinery exemptions, preferential treatment of oil corporations, and disregard for its legal responsibility to restore lost demand, all of which has cost America's farmers and biofuel producers dearly. To add insult to injury, fuel use -- and, consequently, ethanol use -- has dropped significantly during the pandemic, cutting deeply into profits.

    "Trump's EPA has almost invariably fallen short in its handling of biofuels, and today's decision, or lack thereof, is no different. We sincerely hope Biden's EPA learns from their mistakes and takes biofuels policy in a much more promising direction." (Source: National Farmers Union, Renewable Fuels Association, FencePost, 30 Nov., 2020) Contact: National Farmers Union, Rob Larew, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  RFS,  National Farmers Union ,  


    More Refiners Seeking RFS Biofuel Hardship Waivers (Ind. Report)
    EPA, RFS
    Date: 2020-11-20
    In Washington, the EPA is reporting over the past 30 days, US refiners added five requests for "hardship waiver" exemptions of 2020 renewable fuel blending requirements and one to exempt 2019 requirements . There are nine pending applications to waive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requirements for 2020 and 32 pending applications to waive 2019 requirements.

    EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler stated that the agency would not act on waiver requests for compliance years since 2019 until ongoing court challenges to prior decisions are settled.

    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.

    On Sept 18 we reported Trump had suggested he'd provide $300 million to oil refiners and that those funds would come out of the USDA Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) which is intended to provide farmers with Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments. Trump later denied suggesting cash payments to refineries whose waiver applications had been rejected. (Source: EPA, Various Media, 19 Nov., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  ,  Hardship Waiver,  Biofuel Blending,  


    Growth Energy Comments on Biofuel Production (Opinions & Asides)
    Growth Energy, USDA
    Date: 2020-11-02
    Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor recently submitted the following comments to the USDA's Agriculture Innovation Agenda regarding readily available technologies that enable our domestic agriculture sector to increase production while reducing its environmental footprint.

    In her comments, Skor argued that biofuels like ethanol play a critical role in achieving the USDA's goals and called for building on current investments to expand renewable fuels role in the nation's transportation infrastructure. "Supporting programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and initiatives to expand access to higher biofuel blends like E15, E30, and E85 can build on biofuels' environmental progress and expand the market for American agriculture,", said Skor. "USDA's Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) is a prime example how the agency can support the productivity of our farmers, while decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and encouraging further adoption of sustainable farming practices across our agriculture sector."

    Skor also notes the biofuels industry's continued advancements to capture CO2 and the plant-based fuel's ability to replace harmful toxics and improve air quality. "We have a better option in ethanol, the single most affordable and abundant alternative to petroleum-based fuel additives that threaten air quality in communities across the globe. To expand on these benefits, USDA should continue to promote programs that boost biofuels access and use throughout the country.

    As the department works to streamline programs and seek opportunities to improve sustainable farming across the country, Skor encouraged USDA to continue exploring the strong link between U.S. agriculture and our biofuels industry, and promote the increased use of biofuels so our nation's farmers can continue to rely on these markets as we work to reduce the environmental impact of the agriculture sector.

    The organizations have asked the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to order the following: EPA should not withhold the name of the company submitting an application for an SRE nor the name and location of the refinery for which relief is requested; EPA should immediately produce the information that was unlawfully withheld for Renewable Fuel Standard compliance years 2015, 2016, and 2017, and; EPA should not withhold any of the five data elements identified in the proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) rule (Source: Growth Energy, Website PR , 28 Oct., 2020) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  USDA,  RFS,  Biofuel,  


    Growth Energy Touts Biofuels' Advantage to Meet Ag Innovation Goals (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Growth Energy, USDA
    Date: 2020-10-30
    In Washington, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor submitted comments to the USDA as part of the agency's Agriculture Innovation Agenda, regarding readily available technologies that enable the U.S. domestic agriculture sector to increase biofuel production while reducing its environmental footprint.

    In her comments, Skor argued that biofuels play a critical role in achieving the department's goals and called for building on current investments to expand renewables fuels' role in the nation's transportation infrastructure.

    "Supporting programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and initiatives to expand access to higher biofuel blends can build on biofuels' environmental progress and expand the market for American agriculture. USDA's Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP) is a prime example of how the agency can support the productivity of our farmers while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging further adoption of sustainable farming practices across our agriculture sector," Skor noted.

    Growth Energy is the world's largest association of biofuel producers representing 89 U.S. plants that produce more than 7.5 billion gpy of renewable fuel, 96 businesses associated with the production process, and tens of thousands of biofuel supporters across the country, according to its website.

    Download Skorr's full comments HERE. (Source: Growth Energy, Website PR, 28 Oct., 2020) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Growth Energy,  Biofuel,  USDA,  RFS,  Biofuel Blends,  HBIIP,  


    Powerfuel Proposes UK Carbon Neutral Waste-to-Energy Plant (Int'l.)
    Powerfuel Portland
    Date: 2020-10-12
    In the UK, Dorset-headquartered waste recycling and waste-to-energy firm Powerfuel Portland reports it has submitted a planning application to develop a Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) facility to generate 15MW of electricity using up to 202,000 tpy of largely combustible organic, household and commercial municipal solid waste as fuel.

    The proposed Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) will use the latest technologies and best available techniques to safely and efficiently produce low carbon energy from non-recyclable waste. The facility could also feature a local heat network to provide sustainable heat for local services, businesses and housing projects.

    Modern ERFs are strictly monitored by the Environment Agency and subject applicable legislation including the control of emissions. ERFs can only operate with an Environmental Permit from the Environment Agency (EA) under the Pollution Prevention and Control regulations and operators must monitor and report emissions from the plant. A large proportion of the plant is devoted to cleaning emissions.

    Powerfuel's commitment is that the Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from the ERF operation will be offset, making the project "carbon neutral", according to the company website. (Source: Powerfuel Portland, Website, PR, HUB4, 10 Oct., 2020) Contact: Powerfuel Portland, Steve McNab, Director, info@powerfuelportland.co.uk, www.powerfuelportland.co.uk

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Waste-to-Energy news,  


    MN Dem. Calls for EPA, RFS Waiver Transparency (Reg & Leg)
    RFS Waivers
    Date: 2020-09-18
    In Washington, Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson (D), chair of the House Agriculture Committee, has introduced legislation that would set a deadline for refiners to request exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and require the EPA to publicly release the name of refiners requesting a waiver, the number of gallons requested to be waived and the number of gallons of biofuel that won't be blended as result of the waiver.

    Peterson is calling for transparency to be achieved before the 2021 oil refinery renewable volume obligations are released by the EPA. (Source: Office of Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson, WNAX, Sept., 2020) Contact: Office of Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson, (507) 637-2270, collinpeterson.house.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Refinery Waivers,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Could Trump Use USDA Funds for RFS Waiver Payoffs? (Ind. Report)
    RFS Waivers
    Date: 2020-09-18
    Further to our 16 Sept. coverage, the Trump EPA denied 54 of the pending 99 small refinery exemption (SRE) requests from oil refiners to blend less ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). However, EPA still hasn't acted on 44 waivers, 14 of which are also gap-year waivers and 31 of which are for the 2019 and 2020 blending requirements.

    In a blatant move to win support and placate the biofuels and refinery interests, Trump has suggested he'd provide $300 million to oil refiners and that those funds would come out of the USDA Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) which is intended to provide farmers with Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments.

    Commenting on Trump's possible cash payments to refiners scheme, former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he "strongly expects that no action will be taken on the remaining waivers until after the election." Vilsack was critical of the reports that the President indicated that he would offer $300 million through the CCC fund in lieu of the waiver approvals, as the CCC is designed specifically to be used by USDA for the purpose of helping farmers.

    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: EPA, Feedstuffs, 17 Sept., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  Refinery Waivers,  Biofuel Blend,  Tom Vilsack ,  


    54 Pending RFS Biofuel "Hardship" Waivers Denied! (Ind. Report)
    RFS Waivers
    Date: 2020-09-16
    In Washington, the Trump Administration's EPA has rejected 54 retroactive renewable fuel standard biofuel "hardship waiver" petitions that were pending review.

    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.

    Interestingly, it is being widely reported that Trump is suggesting cash payments to refineries that have had waiver applications rejected, thus placating the biofuels and oil industries in a thinly-veiled move to win re-election in Nov. (Source: Various Media, OilPrice, 14 Sept., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  Refinery Waivers,  Biofuel Blend,  


    RFA Offers EPA Advisory Committee Recommendations (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-09-11
    At a recent EPA Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee meeting Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Pres. and CEO Geoff Cooper suggested the following steps the EPA needs to take immediately to support U.S. ethanol producers and rural America:

  • adopt the recent Tenth Circuit Court decision (Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency) nationwide;

  • deny all pending so-called "gap year" small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions;

  • decide the 31 pending SRE petitions for 2019 and 2020 according to the Tenth Circuit Court criteria;

  • publish the proposed rule for 2021 renewable volume obligations (RVOs);

  • as ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in ACEI v. EPA, restore the 500 million-gallon conventional renewable fuel volume that was illegally waived from the 2016 RFS requirements, (Source: RFA, AgWired, Sept., 2020 Contact: Farm, Ranch and Rural Communities Advisory Committee, www.epa.gov/faca/farm-ranch-and-rural-communities-federal-advisory-committee-frrcc-membership; Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association,  Ethanol,  Renewable Fuel,  Geoff Cooper,  


  • Trump Reportedly Denies Retroactive RFS Waivers (Ind. Report)
    RFS
    Date: 2020-09-11
    Reuters is reporting U.S. Pres. Trump has instructed the EPA to deny dozens of oil refiner requests for retroactive "hardship waivers" under the Renewable Fuels Standard.

    The president's could be seen as an effort to shore up his support in the Corn Belt states.

    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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: Chronicle Herald, 10 Sept., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  Refinery Waivers,  Biofuel Blend,  


    NBB Launches RFS Support Ad Campaign (Ind. Report)
    National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2020-08-26
    The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) reports the launch of a two-week radio advertising campaign in six states including Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota urging Pres. Trump to direct the EPA to reject the gap small refiner waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard.

    NBB wants farmers to go to their website and complete a pre-written request to the President and EPA administrator to reject those gap small refiner waivers, 85 bof which have been issues over the past three years.

    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: NBB, WNAX 26 Aug., 2020) Contact: NBB, Paul Winters, Pres., Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.nbd.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  NBB,  RFS Waivers ,  


    EPA Admin. Wheeler Comments on RFS Waivers -- Notable Quotes
    RFS Waivers
    Date: 2020-08-26
    "I have talked personally with a number of small refiners all over the country -- (the agency is) working with them to see what we can do to help them during this time.

    "We have extraordinary circumstances this year and we are looking at what relief we can provide everyone -- the ethanol industry is hurting as well." -- U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, 20 May, 2020

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS Waivers news,  Andrew Wheeler news,  


    EPA Urged to Stop Penalizing Ethanol Blends ( Editorials & Asides)
    Urban Air Initiative,American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2020-08-17
    In Washington, the Urban Air Initiative (UAI) -- a coalition of state corn grower organizations -- along with the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and the Clean Fuels Development Coalition last Friday filed comments asking the EPA not to penalize ethanol's ability to reduce carbon emissions.

    The EPA is proposing to penalize the current Tier 3 test fuel that all automakers will use to meet CO2 emission standards because it contains 10 pct ethanol. This Tier 3 test fuel lowers CO2 emissions compared to the prior E0 test fuel from 1975. The EPA is creating this new penalty against ethanol by manipulating test procedures to inflate the tailpipe CO2 emissions of vehicles certified as using E10. Since the penalty would presumably increase with higher ethanol volumes, this rule would be a major disincentive for automakers to transition to higher ethanol blends.

    "Basically ethanol can't win. First EPA ignores ethanol's ability to reduce toxic aromatics, and now it wants to penalize ethanol for being a more efficient, lower-carbon fuel additive. The EPA is making this more complicated than it needs to be. It's creating rules based on older, non-representative fuels in its testing. Plus, EPA has no authority to penalize a particular fuel. Automakers can take advantage of high octane ethanol but not if they are penalized before they even start. In short, let the market work," Urban Air President Dave VanderGriend commented.

    "EPA's anti-ethanol bias is not limited to how it has badly mismanaged the Renewable Fuel Standard, it extends to the Agency's proposal to artificially inflate CO2 emissions from vehicles being tested on E10 blends for Tier 3 Test Fuel Procedures," ACE CEO Brian Jennings commented. (Source: Urban Air Initiative, PR, 17 Aug., 2020) Contact: Urban Air Initiative, Dave VanderGriend, Pres., www. fixourfuel.com; Clean Fuels Development Coalition, 301-718-0077, www.cleanfuelsdc.org; American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, (605) 334-3381, www.ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  American Coalition for Ethanol,  ACE,  Urban Air Initiative,  Ethanol,  Ethanol Blend,  


    RFA Report Details RFS Success (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFA
    Date: 2020-08-07
    Commemorating the 15th anniversary of Pres. George W. Bush's signing of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which created the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has released a report detailing how the industry has benefited the nation over the past decade and a half.

    "As you'll see in this report, the RFS has been a smashing success," said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. "In addition to decreasing reliance on imported petroleum, the RFS has reduced emissions of harmful tailpipe pollutants and greenhouse gases, lowered consumer fuel prices, supported hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural America, and boosted the agricultural economy by adding value to the crops produced by our nation's farmers." The report details how, since 2005:

  • Ethanol and co-product output has quadrupled, and the number of jobs supported by the industry has more than doubled;

  • Ethanol has contributed substantially to the agriculture sector, supporting corn prices and farm incomes;

  • Ethanol consumption has more than tripled, enhancing U.S. energy security while saving consumers money at the pump;

  • The use of ethanol has reduced greenhouse gas emissions and cleaned up air pollution;

  • "As ethanol production has increased, U.S. food price inflation has fallen and the number of people globally who are undernourished has declined.

    The report also includes historical perspective from RFA Senior Strategic Advisor Bob Dinneen, who led RFA through this important policy change. "We've probably all seen the Schoolhouse Rock version of 'How a Bill Becomes a Law', Dinneen writes. "It does a great job of explaining the legislative process. But it cannot capture the circuitous adventure and machinations that occur before an idea materializes into legislative language. That is particularly true when it comes to the 2005 Energy Bill and the Renewable Fuel Standard." (Source: RFA, 6 Aug., 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  RFS.Ethanol,  Renewable Fuels,  


  • Meridiam, Sevana Bioenergy Partner on Biogas Project (Ind. Report)
    Sevana Bioenergy
    Date: 2020-07-24
    Paris headquartered global investment firm Meridiam and Larkspur, California-based Sevana Bioenergy are reporting an agreement to develop an existing 2011-vintage biodigester project in Twin Falls, Idaho. The plant presently produces renewable electricity through the anaerobic digestion of dairy manure that is delivered to the grid under a power purchase agreement with Idaho Power.

    Sevana Bioenergy will serve as the development partner, service provider, and long-term co-investor of the project, the second phase of which is expected to start in Q3 -- upgrading the facility to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) transportation fuel to be marketed under the renewable fuel standard ( RFS) programmes in the federal and California market.

    Meridiam is a global investor and asset manager specialized in developing, financing and managing long-term public infrastructure projects. Founded in 2005, Meridiam invests in public infrastructure in Europe, North America and Africa, according its website. (Source: Meridiam Website, July, 2020) Contact: Sevana Bioenergy, info@sevanabioenergy.com, www. sevanabioenergy.com; Meridiam ,+33 1 53 34 96 99, 212 798 8690 -- NY Office, www.meridiam.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RNG news,  Biogas news,  Sevana Bioenergy news,  


    EPA Considering Retroactive Small-Refinery Waivers (Ind. Report)
    EPA, RFS
    Date: 2020-07-17
    The EPA on Thursday posted six additional pending requests for retroactive small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to the agency dashboard, bringing the grand total to 58 such requests for waivers for compliance years 2011 through 2018.

    The agency now lists seven pending requests each for 2011 and 2012, 11 each for 2013 and 2015, 12 in 2014, eight in 2016 and two in 2018, as well as 27 listed for 2019 and one for 2020. The agency granted 85 waivers for the period 2016 to 2018.

    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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: EPA,DTN, 16 July, 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Hardship Waivers,  Biofuel Blend,  


    Yet Another Letter to the President -- S.D. Congressman Calls for RFS Waivers Action (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFs
    Date: 2020-07-15
    In a recent letter to the EPA. South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson (R) wrote: "President Trump has stood up for South Dakota's farmers, but the EPA is letting them down. For years, the EPA undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by granting waivers to big oil, essentially cutting billions of gallons of biofuels demand and cutting off a vital market to corn farmers.

    "My House colleagues and I have written President Trump twice recently, asking him to protect the RFS. This message is clear -- the EPA must follow the law and stop reducing the amount of renewable fuel in our fuel supply. Our farmers need this market. South Dakota's biofuels industry can produce more than 1 billion gallons annually, adding more than $980 million to the economy -- but this only happens if there is reliable market access. The EPA can get this done.

    "The nation's eyes were on South Dakota during President Trump's visit to Mount Rushmore. I'll continue to deliver agriculture's request that the EPA support clear, homegrown biofuels. The president supports farmers -- and it's time the EPA does, too." -- South Dakota congressman Dusty Johnson (R).

    Editor's Note: 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: Rep. Dusty Johnson , Mitchell Republic, 12 July, 2020) Contact: Rep. Dusty Johnson , (202) 225-2801, www.dustyjohnson.house.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US EPA,  Andrew Wheeler,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  RFS Waiver,  


    ACE says EPA Misses Chance To Fix The RFS (Opinions and Asides)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2020-07-08
    The Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) reports it is concerned that the EPA has missed important deadlines dealing with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    The EPA normally issues the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) petroleum companies must meet under the RFS by July 4, but have missed that deadline for 2021 and there's no indication when they may be released, according to ACE CEO Brian Jennings.

    EPA also has not responded to an April ACE request for an emergency interim final rule on RVOs to restore RFS volumes to help ethanol producers hurt by the pandemic. The EPA is also being inactive on dealing with small refinery waiver requests which they need to deny in accordance with a January court ruling that will likely will take Congressional intervention to enforce, Jennings added. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, July, 2020) Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381, www.ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol ,  Ethanol. RFS,  Renewable Fuels Standard,  


    NWF Supports Governors' Requests for RFS Relief (Ind. Report)
    AFPM
    Date: 2020-07-08
    According to a recent American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) blog posting, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has become the most recent US EPA petitioner seeking a general waiver to reduce 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance obligations.

    In a letter to the EPA' Administrator Andrew Wheeler, NWF President and CEO Collin O'Mara echoed the requests of six state governors and stressed the need for smaller biofuel mandates. In its letter, the AFPM noted:

  • "The RFS currently requires about 19 billion gal. of fuel derived from plants to be blended into gasoline. The overwhelming majority of that fuel is corn ethanol, and today 40 pct of the corn produced in the U.S. goes into our gas tanks."

  • "Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health."

  • "In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO."

    The NWF letter concludes: “"In short, the corn ethanol mandate has led to the loss of important wildlife habitat, particularly in regions critical for monarch butterflies, ducks and other ground-nesting birds, and many other species -- threatening outdoor recreation opportunities as well as the economy. The mandate has also resulted in deteriorated water quality and harmful algal blooms in important surface waters as a result of increased farm runoff. Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health. In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the Governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO." (Source: National Wildlife Federation, AFPM, Hydrocarbon Engineering, 7 July, 2020) Contact: National Wildlife Federation, Colin O'Mara, CEO, www.nwf.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Renewable Fuel Standard,  Ethanol,  


  • EPA Admin. Wheeler Comments on RFS Waivers -- Notable Quotes
    RFS Waiver
    Date: 2020-06-19
    "I have talked personally with a number of small refiners all over the country -- (the agency is) working with them to see what we can do to help them during this time.

    "We have extraordinary circumstances this year and we are looking at what relief we can provide everyone -- the ethanol industry is hurting as well." -- U.S. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, 20 May, 2020

    More Low-Carbon Energy News FRS Waiver,  Andrew Wheeler,  


    SD Senator Introduces RFS Pathway Biofuels Legislation (Re g & Leg)
    Biofuel
    Date: 2020-06-19
    South Dakota Senator John Thune (R) has introduced bipartisan legislation that would help approve certain Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) pathway applications like corn fiber. The measure would compel the EPA to move forward on advanced biofuel applications rather than letting them sit idled at the agency awaiting action refinery applications for waivers move through the system, according to the Senator's release. (Soure: WNAX, 19 June, 2020) Contact: Senator John Thune, (202) 224-2321, (605) 348-7551, www.thune.senate.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  


    Biodiesel Board Urges EPA to Reject RFS "Gap" Waivers (Ind. Report)
    National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2020-06-19
    The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) is urging EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to immediately reject the flood of 52 small refinery exemption petitions for previous years going back to 2011.

    "EPA's consideration of small refinery exemption petitions going back to 2011 flies in the face of the recent 10th Circuit decision. By rolling back the clock, there appears to be no length EPA won't go to help refiners undermine the RFS. Make no mistake -- this handout to the oil industry comes at the expense of biodiesel producers and soybean farmers across the country, and particularly the Midwest. Allowing these gap filings renders the program completely unpredictable for renewable fuel producers. The agency must immediately reject these petitions to restore confidence that it will abide by the law in administering the RFS." NBB VP for Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik said.

    NBB sent a June 1 letter to Administrator Wheeler saying, "EPA's first step upon receiving any petition for a small refinery exemption should be to evaluate its timeliness and validity before transmitting it to the Department of Energy." The letter makes the case that "gap" petitions or re-submissions of previously rejected petitions are inconsistent with the 10th Circuit's ruling. (Source: National Biodiesel Board, PR, NBB Website, 18 June, 2020) Contact: NBB, Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.nbd.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  RFS,  RFS Waiver,  EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler ,  


    U.S. Gain Completes Testa Produce NG Fueling Station (Ind. Report)
    U.S. Gain
    Date: 2020-06-17
    Appleton, Wisconsin based U.S. Gain is reporting completion of a private natural gas fueling station at Testa Produce Inc's headquarters in Chicago. The new modular station will supply alternative fuel for the company's fleet of 40 natural gas delivery vehicles.

    The use of natural gas as an alternative fuel significantly reduces transportation-related emissions, improves air quality, and delivers economic savings, according to the release.

    U.S. Gain is a leader in development, procurement and distribution of alternative fuel and renewable energy for the transportation and energy markets. Over the past 10 years, U.S. Gain has diversified throughout the renewable natural gas (RNG) supply chain -- investing in and managing development projects at farms, landfills and wastewater treatment plants; generating, trading and monetizing clean fuel credits under the RFS, LCFS and CFP programs; designing, building and operating alternative fueling stations, both private and a public GAIN Clean Fuel network. (Source: U.S. Gain, PR, 15 June, 2020) Contact: Testa Produce, www.testaproduce.com; U.S. Gain, Ross Finlan, Business Development Manager, Bryan Nudelbacher, Dir. RNG Business Development, 920.381.2190; Stephanie Lowney, Director of Marketing & Innovation, slowney@usgain.com, www.usgain.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Gain,  RNG,  Natural Gas,  Alternative Fuel,  


    RFA Urges Trump to Reject Refinery Waivers (Ind. Report)
    RFA
    Date: 2020-06-12
    "One year ago today, you visited Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs to join us in celebrating a monumental achievement. At your direction, EPA had just completed regulatory changes finally allowing year-round sales of gasoline containing 15 pct ethanol (E15).

    "This long-awaited move unlocked the door to future demand growth for ethanol and corn. It also meant consumers would have increased access to cleaner and more affordable fuel options at the pump.

    "Just as expected, the marketplace responded quickly. In the year since the red-tape barrier was removed, E15 sales are up 50pct.

    "But E15 growth would have been exponentially larger if not for your EPA continuing to excuse oil refiners from their legal obligations to blend renewable fuels. As we told you a year ago, EPA's refinery waivers have caused devastating demand losses for ethanol and corn, and they under mine the expansion of E15.

    "Even after a federal court overturned some refinery waivers in January, your EPA continues to receive dozens of exemption requests from oil companies. EPA is now even considering giving retroactive waivers for years that pre-date your administration.

    "This needs to stop. It is hurting farmers, costing consumers, and derailing progress on energy and environmental security.

    "The economic pain in farm country caused by these refinery waivers was compounded this spring—first by the Saudi-Russia oil price war, and then by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this 'perfect tsunami,' half of the ethanol industry was recently shut down, leading to layoffs across rural America. The ethanol industry and farmers are hurting like never before.

    Mr. President, we need your help. We ask that you stand up for the Renewable Fuel Standard. Please direct your EPA to abide by the January court ruling and end the abuse of the refinery waiver loophole.

    "You stood by us, farmers, and consumers when you directed EPA to allow year-round E15. Now, we humbly ask that you stand with us again and ensure ethanol demand is not eroded by illegal refinery waivers. Thank you,"

    Geoff Cooper, Pres. & CEO Renewable Fuels Associationwww.EthanolRFA.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS news,  Refinery Waivers news,  Biofuel Blend news,  RFA news,  


    Biofuel Leaders Question Retroactive RFS Exemptions (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2020-06-10
    In a 9 June letter to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, the Renewable Fuels Assoc. wrote:

    "We are writing to request further information about petitions reportedly received by the U.S. EPA from small refiners seeking exemption from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for past compliance years.

    "The petitions in question were discussed during your testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on May 20, 2020. On the same day, U.S. DOE Under Secretary Mark Menezes confirmed that EPA is 'send[ing] over' past-year petitions for DOE review. Mr. Menezes described the petitions as 'gap filings' intended to reconstitute after-the-fact a continuous string of exemptions for select oil companies 'to be consistent with the Tenth Circuit decision.'

    "This attempt to circumvent the courts and the RFS should be rejected out of hand. Even if EPA granted retroactive 'gap' exemptions without simultaneously returning the number of RINs associated with the exemption to the petitioner, such exemptions would be inconsistent with EPA's own policies and regulations, legal precedent, and Congressional intent.

    "These 'gap filings' appear to be little more than the latest in a string of oil industry tactics designed to subvert the law and sidestep a court order to uphold the RFS. Read the full letter HERE. (Source: Renewable Fuels Assoc., 9 June, 2020) Contact: RFA, www.fuelsamerica.org

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


    HollyFrontier Refinery Re-purposing to Renewable Diesel (Ind. Report)
    HollyFrontier
    Date: 2020-06-03
    Dallas-based independent petroleum refiner and marketer HollyFrontier Corporation reports it will spend between $125 million to $175 million to re-purpose its Cheyenne, Wyoming petroleum refinery to produce roughly 90 million gpy of renewable diesel by Q1, 2022. With the move, the Cheyenne refinery is effectively shedding its Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending obligation to produce saleable renewable diesel and compliance credits.

    "Demand for renewable diesel, as well as other lower carbon fuels, is growing and taking market share based on both consumer preferences and support from substantial federal and state government incentive programs," according to a statement from HollyFrontier CEO Mike Jennings. (Source: HollyFrontier, PR, Bloomberg, 3 June, 2020) Contact: HoolyFrontier, Craig Biery, Inv. Relations, 214-954-6510, www.hollyfrontier.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News HollyFrontier,  Renewable Diesel,  Biouel Blending,  RFS,  


    Trump Urged to Reject Waiver Requests (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    EPA,Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2020-05-11
    In the nation's capitol, a bipartisan group of 24 U.S. senators -- including Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Tina Smith(D-Minn) Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) have written the following to the White House:

    "We are writing to urge you to uphold the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and immediately reject the requests for a waiver of the RFS under Section 211(o)(7) of the Clean Air Act recently received by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) from five state governors.

    "Across our states, biofuels lower fuel prices, create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the new energy economy, many of which are in rural areas, provide an important market for farmers, cut our reliance on foreign oil, reduce emissions and harmful air pollutants, and provide critical inputs to our food supply.

    "Our nation is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the global health pandemic caused by COVID-19, with the impacts being felt across all of society. Waiving the RFS would cause further harm to the U.S.economy, especially our most vulnerable rural communities. It would also exacerbate the effects experienced by the biofuel sector as a result of COVID-19, causing far-reaching detrimental impacts on employment, farmers, food security, fuel prices, and the environment. The resiliency of America's renewable fuel industry has already suffered as a result of the EPA's drastic expansion of the small refinery waiver program in recent years.

    "The U.S. Department of Homeland Security identified the biofuels sector as an essential critical infrastructure workforce during the COVID-19 response. However, as motor fuel demand has plummeted, prices have slumped to record lows and producers are suffering heavy losses. At this point more than 70 ethanol facilities with an annual production capacity of 6.1 billion gallons have been fully idled, and approximately 70 more plants have reduced their operating rates by a combined amount of 1.9 billion gallons annualized. At least 46 pct of the ethanol industry's total production capacity is now idled, and eight biodiesel and renewable diesel facilities remain offline. Highly-skilled jobs across the country are being lost at an alarming rate.

    "Biofuel plant closures have ripple effects through the U.S. economy. Farm income is directly linked to the health of the renewable fuel industry. Plant shutdowns are causing commercial CO2 supply shortages and inhibiting the ability of meat packers and other food sectors to refrigerate, preserve,and supply food and beverages at current, affordable rates. Ethanol plants also produce low cost, high-protein animal feed (distillers grains). Supply shortages as a result of biofuel plant closures are impacting livestock feed procurement, rations, and prices. Biodiesel producers provide value to surplus and waste oils, fats and greases from food, feed and other biofuel production. Without the biodiesel industry, excess feedstocks will clog the supply chain, causing livestock producers to potentially raise prices for consumers. Removing biofuels from gasoline and diesel will also lead to an increase of greenhouse gas emissions, particulate matter, and toxics-causing degradation to our air quality.

    "Recent requests for a waiver of the RFS are unjustified and clearly do not satisfy the rigorous requirements necessary for EPA consideration. RFS waivers can only be granted by EPA if there is a demonstration of 'severe harm' to the economy or environment of a state, region or the United States that is directly caused by the RFS. None of these standards are met today and the following reasons clearly demonstrate the case for rejecting the waiver requests:

  • Challenging market conditions in the oil sector are the directresult of oversupply from international competitors combined with falling gasoline, diesel and jet fuel demand as a result of the COVID-19, not the RFS.

  • The RFS already accommodates demand reductions and provides flexibility to reflect the reality of motor fuel demand. EPA translates the annual RFS requirements into a percentage share of gasoline and diesel. Thus, the existing structure of the RFS regulations already results in an oil refiner's renewable volume obligations being proportionally reduced if overall motor fuel demand drops over the year

  • EPA has repeatedly found that RIN prices do not negatively impact refiners, a position reinforced by the 10th Circuit court in January 200. In addition, a record-large supply of RINs is available to refiners today, largely as a consequence of EPA's abusive expansion of the small refinery exemption program, so the threat of high RIN prices is currently non-existent.

    "We urge you to direct the EPA to reject all calls to waive the RFS. The RFS is more important now than ever as farmers, the biofuel sector, and rural America struggle to remain operational during the COVID-19 crisis." (Source: US Senate, 8 May, 2020)

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


  • Bankrupt Philly Refiner Offered Cap on RFS Obligation (Ind Report)
    Philadelphia Energy Solutions
    Date: 2020-05-11
    The Trump administration has offered to place a $10 million cap on bankrupt Philadelphia Energy Solutions' biofuel blending obligations, effectively cutting the refiner's regulatory liability by more than 70 pct and freeing more cash for the company's creditors. Under the deal PES will either surrender 161.8 million biofuel blending credits (RINs) valued at roughly $35 million or pay up to $10 million to meet its RFS obligations, according to Reuters.

    The Trump EPA previously waived $350 million in biofuels compliance costs for PES after its initial bankruptcy in 2018.

    As reported in Jan., Philadelphia-headquartered bioenergy developer SG Preston dropped its previously expressed interest in redeveloping the shut-down fire-damaged 335,000 bpd Philadelphia refinery, which is now being sold by creditors for $252 million and redeveloped under a bankruptcy court approved plan. (Source: Various Media,Reuters, May, 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Philadelphia Energy Solutions,  RFS,  Biofuel Blend,  RINs,  


    Governors Seeking RFS Refinery "Hardship" Waivers (Ind. Report)
    EPS, Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2020-04-27
    ICIS is reporting the governors of Louisiana (D), Texas (R), Oklahoma (R), Utah (R) and Wyoming (R) have written to the US EPA asking for "hardship" waivers for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for refiners in their states. In their appeal, the governors noted plunging fuel demand as the reason for the request.

    According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) the states currently under the COVID-19 pandemic "stay at home orders" account for 95 pct of US fuel demand. Meanwhile, ethanol market producers and players say that it is a "convenient reason for them (oil refiners) to escape a US law", and that doing so would further harm ethanol demand.

    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.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress.(Source: Various Trade Media, ICIS, 17 April, 2020)

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

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