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US GAO to Investigate EPA RFS Small Refinery Exemptions, "Hardship Waiver" Program (Ind. Report, Reg. & Leg.)
RFS,U.S. Government Accountability Office
Date: 2020-01-15
On Capitol Hill, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has replied in the affirmative to a request from bi-partisan group of U.S House members led by Rep. Abby Finkenauer, (D-Iowa) -- Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Rural Development, Agriculture, Trade, and Entrepreneurship Committee on Small Business House of Representative -- urging the agency to examine the review and approval of small refinery exemptions (SREs), including the DOE's viability of scores for the 40 compliance year 2018 SRE applications that had been reviewed as of that date.

In its Jan. 10 reply, the GAO accepted the request as being within the scope of its authority and assigned Mark E. Gaffigan, managing director of Natural Resources and Environment to begin the investigation shortly.

"Granting more than 80 small refinery exemption waivers isn't just something this administration can sweep under the rug," Finkenauer said in a statement announcing the GAO investigation.

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: Office of US Rep. Abby Finkenaur, 10 Jan., 2020) Contact: Office of US Rep. Abby Finkenaur , https://finkenauer.house.gov/sites/finkenauer.house.gov; U.S. Government Accountability Office, (202) 512-3000, contact@gao.gov, www.gao.gov

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


Suncor Challenges EPA RFS Waiver Denial (Ind. Report, Reg & Leg)
Suncor Energy
Date: 2020-01-08
Denver-based Suncor Energy U.S.A. Inc., a unit of Calgary, Alberta-based Suncor Energy, reports it has filed an appeal of the US EPA's October 2019 decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. The agency recently finalized a rule designed to account for biofuel gallons waived from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

In its appeal, Suncor, which received waivers for what were previously two refineries in Commerce City, Colorado, argued the agency's action was "arbitrary, capricious, and not otherwise in accordance with law." The EPA reportedly rejected Suncor's petition because the refineries no longer meet EPA's definition of a small refinery, which produces 75,000 bpd or less. Suncor previously received waivers for what were two small refineries, one that produced nearly 33,000 bpd and another at nearly 67,000 in 2018. The refineries were among the original facilities to receive waivers in 2006.

According to the company's website, since 2006, Suncor has been making a significant impact in Canada's emerging biofuels industry. Suncor is using revenues from oil sands development to invest in biofuels, particularly ethanol produced from corn. Ethanol is a cleaner burning, renewable resource. The ethanol production industry is expanding in Canada and the United States. New government regulations require that a percentage of ethanol be blended into fuels to reduce the environmental impacts of vehicle emissions. Suncor operates Canada's largest ethanol facility -- the St. Clair Ethanol Plant in the Sarnia-Lambton region of Ontario. (Source: Suncor Energy, DTN, 6 Jan., 2019) Contact: Suncor Energy USA, 303-793-8000, www.suncor.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Suncor Energy ,  RFS,  "Hardship Waiver",  


Valero, AFPM Seek "Point of Obligation" Clarification (Reg & Leg)
Valero Energy ,American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers
Date: 2020-01-08
San Antonio-headquartered Valero Energy Corp., the second-largest U.S. oil processor by capacity, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers organization have filed a court petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether the U.S. EPA is required to consider petitions to change the "point of obligation" under the Clean Air Act's Renewable Fuel Standard.

The petition notes: "The Clean Air Act's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program requires EPA to undertake annual notice-and-comment rule making to determine a 'renewable fuel obligation' for the nation's transportation fuel supply. The first of three annual 'required elements' is to determine the point of obligation -- i.e., to ensure that the obligation shall be applicable to refineries, blenders, and importers, as appropriate. EPA admits that it initially placed the point of obligation on refineries and importers, but not blenders, for reasons of administrative convenience. EPA has repeatedly refused to re-examine that placement in annual rule making, and it denied petitions for rule making seeking reconsideration out-side the statutorily-mandated annual assessment."

The petition specifically questions: whether the requirement that EPA "shall" make a "calendar year" determination of the "appropriate" point of obligation requires EPA to consider in each annual rule whether the point of obligation remains appropriate.The petition also questions whether EPA can evade the annual duty by partitioning the point of obligation into a one-time collateral proceeding that ignores key evidence,relies primarily on the agency's own convenience, and claims more deference from a reviewing court than an annual rule would receive. (Source: AFPM Website, Valero Energy, Ethanol Producer, 6 May, 2019) Contact: American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, www.afpm.org; Valero Renewable Fuels, Joe Gorder, Pres., (800) 324-8464, www.valero.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers ,  RFS,  Point of Obligation,  Valero Energy ,  


USDA Adv. Biofuel Payment Program Final Rule Released (Ind. Report)
USDA
Date: 2020-01-03
The USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service has released a final rule for the Advanced Biofuel Payment Program. The program provides quarterly payments to producers of eligible advanced biofuels. To be eligible for payments, the advanced biofuels produced must be derived from renewable biomass other than corn kernel starch at a biorefinery located in the U.S.

Download the full Advanced Biofuel Payment Program HERE (Source: USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service, USDA, 27 Dec., 2019) Contact: Rural Business-Cooperative Service, Bette Brand, Admin., (202) 690-4730, 202-690-4737 - fax., www.rd.usda.gov

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


NBB Survey Finds Strong Support for Biodiesel Industry (Ind. Report)
National Biodiesel Board
Date: 2020-01-03
Each year the NBB conducts online surveys of U.S. voters to track trends and gauge awareness of biodiesel. This year the poll gathered responses from 1,064 registered voters nationwide and showed consistent results with prior polling from 2017 and 2018. Among this years survey findings:
  • 54 pct of 2019 respondents had a positive impressions of biodiese, 44 pct had no impression and 3 pct negative;

  • 57 pct of respondents agreed that federal policy should encourage use of biodiesel and renewable diesel; Nearly 80 pct expressed support for existing federal programs that encourage increased production and use of advanced biofuels;

  • 78 pct of respondents support the federal tax incentive for biodiesel, 79 pct support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), 79 pct of respondents would encourage local communities and governments to promote use of biodiesel.

  • 83 pct of respondents agreed that the government should "stand with American workers, manufacturers, rural economies and businesses" to support a clean fuels industry and "follow the law to implement an existing mandate that creates jobs and economic development across the country." (Source: National Biodiesel Board, 31 Dec., 2019) Contact: NBB, Kaleb Little, Dir. Communications, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  Biodiesel,  


  • The finalized rule incorporates the Wheeler plan

    Date: 2019-12-31
    that merely estimates future small refinery waivers based on DOE recommendations, according to Iowa Corn Growers Association. ICGA supports a simple, mathematical solution by averaging the past three years of actual waivers granted, then adding those gallons back into the RFS. ICGA’s supported resolution would have created market certainty, so as not to rely on the EPA or DOE Administrators for their annual decisions. “Apparently President Trump doesn’t care about his promise to Iowa’s farmers. He had the opportunity to tell his EPA to stick to the deal that was made on Oct. 4,” said ICGA President Jim Greif. “I can say for certain that ICGA pushed for a positive outcome, and we didn’t go down without a fight.” “The Environmental Protection Agency seems to be more concerned with politics than cleaner-burning, healthy air with renewable fuels. It was as simple as following the original Oct. 4 agreement with our elected officials and here we are with empty promises and no market certainty,” said Kelly Nieuwenhuis, ICGA member from Primghar and Chair of the Iowa Corn Industrial Usage and U.S. Production committee. During the comment period for the supplemental rule, ICGA sent out two calls to action with one directed at the EPA and the other at the President. Altogether the calls to action gathered over 1,000 farmer comments. Additionally, ICGA held a press conference along with other biofuels groups, worked with our entire delegation of public leaders, as well as attended roundtables, townhall meetings and EPA’s public hearing in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The final push was a meeting by ICGA with the director of the U.S. National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, at the White House earlier this week. (Source: High Plains Journal, 29 Dec. 2019)


    Wheeler Disappoints Corn Growers, RFS Advocates (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Volume Obligations
    Date: 2019-12-30
    The High Plains Journal is reporting corn growers and renewable fuel standard (RFS) advocates were more then a little disappointed by the recent EPA Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) rule as signed on Dec. 19 by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

    "I'm disappointed the EPA chose to ignore the concerns voiced by renewable fuels producers, farmers and consumers. The flawed formula used to account for waived gallons creates unnecessary uncertainty in our markets, detrimental to so many across rural America. We must continue to work together to hold the EPA accountable for ensuring the 15 billion gallons mandated by the RFS are met. We must also continue to invest in infrastructure that builds demand and increases the availability of higher blends of biodiesel and ethanol across the state of Iowa."-- Mike Naig, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

    The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship administers the Iowa Renewable Fuel Infrastructure program, which offers cost-share grants to help fuel retailers install infrastructure to increase the availability of ethanol and biodiesel. To date, the program has distributed or obligated over $33 million with $200 million added in private economic activity. (Source: Iowa Department of Agriculture, High Plains Journal, 29 Dec. 2019) Contact: Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Mike Naig, Sec., 515-281-5321, www.iowaagriculture.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News ANdrew Wheeler,  Renewable Volume Obligations,  RVO,   RFS,  "Hardship" Waiver,  Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,  EIA,  


    IFB Comments on RFS 2020 Ruling (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Illinois Farm Bureau
    Date: 2019-12-23
    "Illinois farmers expected more than what EPA managed to deliver in its final supplemental rule. More than 1,600 Farm Bureau members told the agency in person and in writing that maintaining the integrity of the RFS only occurs by replacing each and every gallon in the annual Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) that is waived for the benefit of small oil refiners. The EPA seems to be missing a real opportunity to rebuild trust with farmers and the biofuels industry.

    "IFB also urges USDA to move quickly on an infrastructure package to accommodate higher blend levels."

    The Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) represents 75 pct of the state's farmers with membership of more than 386,291 and a voting membership of 79,159. Illinois is the nation's third-largest producer of ethanol with roughly 75 pct of it corn production being converted into ethanol. (Source: Illinois Farm Bureau, 21 Dec., 2019) Contact: Illinois Farm Bureau , t Richard Guebert, Jr, Pres. www.ilfb.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  USDA,  US DOE,  Renewable Volume Obligation ,  


    Trump Breaks Promise With RVOs, says NFU (Ind. Report)
    RFS,EPA,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2019-12-23
    In Washington, the US EPA's just released final renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020 is already drawing flak.

    As outlined, RVOs will account for a portion of the 4 billion gallons of demand for biofuels eliminated over the past three years due to the rampant misappropriation of small refinery "financial hardship" sexemptions (SREs). Rather than determine relief using an actual three-year average of exempted gallons, the agency has instead used much lower values recommended by the DOE The former would have increased the amount of biofuels in the transportation sector by approximately 1.35 billion gpy, while the latter will increase it by just 770 million gpy.

    National Farmers Union (NFU), a strong proponent of biofuels and the RFS, reports it was disappointed with EPA's proposal when it was first released and urged the agency to account for all 4 billion gallons worth of demand in the final rule. In a statement, NFU Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew restated the organization's mounting frustration with the administration's destructive approach to biofuels policy.

    The NFU NFU represents more then 200,000 family farmers, fishers and ranchers across the country, with formally organized divisions in 33 states. (Source: National Farmers Union, Aberdeen News, 20 Dec., 2019) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  EPA,  National Farmers Union,  


    White House Confirms 2020 Biofuel RVO Plan (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-12-20
    Reuters is reporting the Trump administration plans to stick with its proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) biofuel blending requirements as proposed in October, despite the farming sector's complaint that the plan does too little for corn growers.

    Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) oil refiners are required to blend some 15 billion gpy of corn-based ethanol into their gasoline, but small facilities can be exempted if compliance would hurt them financially.

    The October proposal was intended to placate corn growers and compensate the biofuel industry for the administration's expanded use of refinery exemptions, but which the industry has largely panned as insufficient, according to Reuters. The EPA's October plan would raise the biofuels volumes that some refineries must blend in 2020 based on DOE recommendations for volumes that should be exempted.

    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, Various Media, 19 Dec., 2019)

    For details see our Oct. 21 report as follows -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021. The Trump administration EPA has issued the attached supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    The notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

    Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the BOE, including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way it calculates renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation's fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

    Download the Renewable Fuel Standard Program -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 HERE. Contact: EPA Renewable Fuel Standard, 800-385-6164, www.epa.gov/fuels-registration-reporting-and-compliance-help/forms/fuels-program-helpdesk

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


    AEM Urges EPA to Support RFS and Corn Demand (Ind. Report)
    RFS
    Date: 2019-12-06
    Last week, The Milwaukee-based Association of Equipment Manufacturer (AEM) filed the following comments with the EPA urging them to support American agricultural equipment manufacturing jobs by reallocating Renewable Fuel Standard gallons lost through small refinery exemptions (SREs).

    "The current EPA proposal would base the number of reallocated gallons on Department of Energy (DOE) recommendations, not actual gallons waived. Basing the three-year average of waived gallons on DOE recommendations is an illogical approach that hurts our nation's farmers. Using the DOE recommendations results in 770 million gallons of reallocated biofuels. However, this is far short of the 1.36 billion three-year average when based on actual gallons lost -- a difference of 590 million gallons. Failure to reallocate real gallons lost would reduce corn demand in 2020 by 210 million bushels.

    "The current EPA proposal on gallon reallocation will hurt both farmers and equipment manufacturers. A modified proposal to properly reallocate gallons keeps the Administration's promise to our industries, and it also supports an environmentally friendly solution that strengthens our energy independence. Additionally, increased ethanol sales will benefit farmers, equipment manufacturers, and the greater U.S. economy. We encourage the EPA to base reallocated gallons on the real numbers, instead of a short-sighted, bureaucratic recommendation.

    "With commodity prices already low and the link between farm income and equipment sales well established, AEM strongly encourages the EPA to address our concerns." (Source: AEM, PR, 5 dec., 2019) (Source: AEM, Dennis Slater, Pres., Nick Tindall, (414) 272-0943 ntindall@aem.org, www.aem.org

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


    POET Temporarily Halting Project Liberty Biofuel Prod. (Ind. Report)
    POET, Poet-DSM
    Date: 2019-11-22
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based POET-DSM Advanced Biofuel reports it is temporarily halting production of cellulosic biofuels at its Emmetsburg, Iowa, facility due in part to the uncertainties surrounding the EPA's Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) policies.

    The company, a 50/50 joint venture between Royal DSM and POET, LLC., will now focus on R&D aimed at improving mechanical reliability, creating additional technological efficiencies and licensing technologies in countries that support the use of low carbon fuels from crop residue and other biomass, according to the company. (Source: Poet-DSM, Biofuels 20 Nov., 2019) Contact: POET-DSM Advanced Biofuels, Steve Hartig, General Manager, (630) 780-8171, steve.hartig@dsm.com, www.poetdsm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Project Liberty,  POET,  Poet-DSM,  Cellulosic Biofuel,  Advanced Biofuel,  


    ABA's EPA Biofuel Waivers Lawsuit Dismissed (Reg. & Leg.)
    Advanced Biofuels Association
    Date: 2019-11-15
    Following up on our 26th April coverage, the Washington, D.C., District Court of Appeals has dismissed the Advance Biofuels Association's (ABA) lawsuit challenging the EPA's use of small refinery exemptions on the grounds that the ABA failed to "identify a final agency action."

    In its suit, the ABA claimed the EPA was exceeding its authority when it granted a larger number of waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) to small oil refineries. The court did, however, note "the EPA's briefing and oral argument paint a troubling picture of intentionally shrouded and hidden agency law that could have left those troubled by the agency's actions without a viable avenue for judicial review."

    Since 2016, the EPA has granted a total of 85 waivers accounting for 4.04 billion gallons of biofuels that were not blended into the nation's fuel supply.

    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 Media, NAFB News Service, 13 Nov., 2019) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Association,  EPA RFS,  RFS Waiver ,  


    Notable Quote -- Sen. Chuck Grassley Comments on EPA, RFS
    Grassley,RFS
    Date: 2019-11-08
    "As the number one producer of corn, ethanol, biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, the renewable fuels industry is an important sector of Iowa's economy. It generates nearly $5 billion of Iowa's GDP, over $2.4 billion in household incomes and supports 47,000 jobs across Iowa.

    "President Trump made a commitment to Iowa and other biofuels producing states, and I look forward to seeing this promise fulfilled. The EPA shouldn't undercut President Trump's support of the Renewable Fuels Standard. I urge EPA to adjust the proposed supplemental rule to account for actual waived gallons using hard data from past practice to provide certainty to the marketplace." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in a letter to EPA Dir. Wheeler this week on the EPA's proposed supplemental rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley,  RFS,  Ethanol,  


    Growth Energy Calls on EPA to Fix Flawed RFS Proposal (Ind. Report)
    Growth Energy, EPA, RFS
    Date: 2019-11-01
    In testimony before the US EPA on the agency's proposed supplemental rule on 2020 biofuel targets under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor called on EPA to fix this flawed draft proposal and reverse the demand destruction that has shuttered biofuel plants across the heartland. "As drafted, EPA's plan fails to accurately account for lost gallons and betrays President Trump's promise to rural America. It cuts the fix we were promised in half, if not more, and destroys what may be our last chance to bring back the ethanol plants that have shut down and help ease the burden facing American farmers," Skor said.

    To begin repairing the damage, Skor called on the EPA to uphold the president's commitment to farmers and biofuel workers. "Midwestern lawmakers and governors have seen the damage firsthand and worked with the president to secure a deal that would start to undo the damage -- a deal that would honor this administration's commitments to farmers, biofuel producers, rural America, as well as small refineries. But instead, the EPA has undercut the president's promise and has yet again tilted the table in favor of the nation's largest oil companies -- all at the expense of the American farmer," Skor said.

    Skor urged regulators to use the rolling average of actual exempted volumes from the three most recently completed compliance years in the final rule, as promised by the administration. She also called on the agency to formally bind itself to the revised methodology for future years and expedite work to remove additional barriers to the sale of E15. "EPA must fix this rule immediately by properly accounting for exempted gallons and restoring lost demand. American biofuel producers and farmers cannot afford anything less," concluded Skor. (Source: growth Energy, PR, 30 Oct., 2019)Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Elizabeth Funderburk, (202) 545-4000, EFunderburk@GrowthEnergy.org, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Growth Energy,  


    Siouxland Energy Producing Ethanol at Half Capacity (Ind. Report)
    Siouxland Energy
    Date: 2019-11-01
    Following up on our 16th September coverage, Siouxland Energy Cooperative reports its 88 million gpy ethanol plant in Sioux Center, Iowa, is back in production at 50 pct capacity thanks to a carbon emissions-linked ratings system in California that put a greater premium on their product. As previously reported, the plant began a "hot idle" Sept. 9, the first such extended shutdown since it opened in 2000.

    Earlier this week in Washington, Siouxland CEO Kelly Nieuwenhuis told a House panel that the "EPA's abuse of small refinery exemptions under the RFS is crippling rural America." (Source: Siouxland Energy Cooperative, Sioux City Journal, 30 Oct., 2019) Contact: Siouxland Energy Cooperative, Kelly Nieuwenhuis, CEO, 712-722-4904, www.siouxlandenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Siouxland Energy ,  Ethanol,  


    Permafrost Emits More CO2 Than Summer Plants Absorb (Ind. Report)
    Carbon Emissions
    Date: 2019-10-28
    According to a report in Airdrei Today, scientist have found Arctic soil has warmed to the point where it releases more carbon in winter than northern plants can absorb during the summer. The finding means the extensive belt of tundra around the globe -- a vast reserve of carbon that dwarfs what's held in the atmosphere -- is becoming a source of greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change.

    Until recently, scientists assumed the microbial processes that release methane and CO2 from permafrost came to a halt in the cold. With this study, scientist found CO2 emissions of about 1.7 billion tpy -- twice the previous estimates -- just over one 1 billion tpy of CO2 Arctic plants are thought to take in from the atmosphere during growing season. The net result is that Arctic soil around the globe is probably already releasing more than 600 million tpy of CO2.

    Under a business-as-usual scenario, emissions from northern soil would be likely to release 41 pct more carbon by the end of the century, even if significant mitigation efforts are made, those emissions will increase by 17 pct, said the report. (Source: Airdrie Today, Canadian Press, 22 Oct., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Biofuels Coalition Challenges EPA's "Hardship Waivers" (Ind Report)
    Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council,Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2019-10-25
    Previously this week in Washington, a coalition of the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and Renewable Fuels Association filed a petition with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging the process by which the U.S. EPA issue economic "hardship waivers" to over 30 small refineries from their respective Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending obligations for 2018.

    The coalition's brief noted, "Even as the Trump Administration indicates it is taking steps to account for future small refinery exemptions, the coalition remains concerned that EPA's abuse of the small refinery exemption program diverges from the spirit and letter of the Clean Air Act. From a substantive and procedural perspective, this is not the way for a federal agency to make such a momentous decision." (Source: Growth Energy, U.S. Grains Council, and Renewable Fuels Association , 23 Oct., 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Elizabeth Funderburk, (202) 545-4000, EFunderburk@GrowthEnergy.org, www.growthenergy.org; U.S. Grains Council, Tom Sleight, Pres., (202) 789-0789, (202) 898-0522, www.grains.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Growth Energy,  U.S. Grains Council,  Renewable Fuels Association,  


    RFS Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 (Ind. Report)
    EPA, Renewable fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-10-21
    The Trump administration EPA has issued the attached supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking seeking additional comment on the recently proposed rule to establish the cellulosic biofuel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes for 2020 and the biomass-based diesel volume for 2021 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.

    The notice does not change the proposed volumes for 2020 and 2021. Instead, it proposes and seeks comment on adjustments to the way that annual renewable fuel percentages are calculated. Annual renewable fuel percentage standards are used to calculate the number of gallons each obligated party is required to blend into their fuel or to otherwise obtain renewable identification numbers (RINs) to demonstrate compliance.

    Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on projecting the volume of gasoline and diesel that will be exempt in 2020 due to small refinery exemptions based on a three-year average of the relief recommended by the Department of Energy (DOE), including where DOE had recommended partial exemptions. The agency intends to grant partial exemptions in appropriate circumstances when adjudicating 2020 exemption petitions. The agency proposes to use this value to adjust the way we calculate renewable fuel percentages. The proposed adjustments would help ensure that the industry blends the final volumes of renewable fuel into the nation's fuel supply and that, in practice, the required volumes are not effectively reduced by future hardship exemptions for small refineries. Consistent with the statute, the supplemental notice seeks to balance the goal of the RFS of maximizing the use of renewables while following the law and sound process to provide relief to small refineries that demonstrate the need.

    Download the Renewable Fuel Standard Program -- Proposed Volumes for 2020 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021 HERE. Contact: EPA Renewable Fuel Standard, 800-385-6164, www.epa.gov/fuels-registration-reporting-and-compliance-help/forms/fuels-program-helpdesk

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


    More RFS Mandate Frustration -- Notable Quote
    RFS
    Date: 2019-10-21
    "All along, I've said what farmers and biofuels producers want is what was promised by Congress. And that's adhering to the biofuels blending targets in law. Ultimately, this will come down to trust and implementation at EPA. The ethanol and biodiesel industries have a lot of cause to distrust EPA and that is understandable. But President (Donald) Trump brokered this deal and any attempt to undermine it from EPA would represent a betrayal of the president. I expect EPA would not do that after all the work that's gone into this issue." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa) www.grassley.senate.gov

    "We're incredibly frustrated and very disappointed." -- Emily Skor, CEO, Growth Energy, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Chuck Grassley,  Emily Skor,  RFS,  


    Another "EPA Bait and Switch" (Opinions, Editorials & Aside)
    NATSO
    Date: 2019-10-16
    Alexandria, Virginia-based NATSO, representing America's travel plazas and truckstops, today issued the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to implement the RFS deal that President Trump negotiated less than two weeks ago:

    "Unfortunately, EPA's plan does not stay true to the President's promise to account for gallons that are waived as part of the RFS's small refinery exemption program.

    "Specifically, today's plan would provide accounting relief for just a fraction of the gallons that have actually been waived and base that relief on the far smaller number of gallons that the DOE recommended be waived.

    "When the deal was first announced on Oct. 4, many champions in the biofuels industry lauded the President because they thought that EPA received and understood the President's message. Apparently this is not the case.

    "In the deal President Trump negotiated, EPA was supposed to ensure that it would account for all of the gallons that are waived as part of the small refinery exemption process. Today's plan simply does not do that. It is another 'EPA bait and switch' where the White House announces a deal that, at a high level, is favorable for the biofuels community, and EPA later decides to bail out refiners at the expense of farmers. I've seen this movie before.

    "The math here is simple. In 2016, EPA waived 790 million gallons under the small refinery exemption program. In 2017, it waived 1.82 billion gallons, and in 2018 it waived 1.43 billion gallons. This averages out to 1.346 billion gallons waived per year over the past three years. To provide the accounting relief that President Trump negotiated in his deal just two weeks ago, EPA would need to ensure that 1.346 billion gallons are added to the 2020 renewable fuel obligations.

    "Instead, the proposal EPA Administrator Wheeler issued today would provide accounting relief for just 580 million to 770 million gallons -- far less than the 1.346 billion gallons that President Trump promised. The irony in all of this is that by basing accounting relief on DOE's recommendations, rather than the actual volume waived, this proposal shines a bright light on the damage that EPA has directly inflicted on the biofuels community in recent years by disregarding DOE's recommendations and waiving more gallons than was recommended. It will undoubtedly generate the same level of opposition that the most recent round of small refinery exemption announcements generated, at a time when this Administration has enough on its plate already."

    NATSO is the trade association of America's travel plaza and truckstop industry. Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate. (Source: NATSO, PR, 15 Oct., 2019) Contact: NATSO, David Fialkov, VP Gov. Affairs, Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, (703) 739-8578, www.natso.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  NATSO,  Trump,  


    IRFA Dumps on Trump EPA's RFS Proposal (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2019-10-16
    "The (Trump EPA) proposal today essentially asks Iowa farmers and biofuels producers to trust that EPA will do the right thing on SREs in 2021 when they have spent the last two years weaponizing SREs to unfairly undermine the RFS.

    "It is unreasonable and counter productive to expect Iowans to put their faith in EPA to fix the SRE problem when they (EPA) were the ones who created the crisis in the first place." -- Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

    Last week Shaw commented: "We welcome the (Trump RFS) proposal to restore integrity to the RFS. We will work with our champions and the White House to make sure the EPA's final rules ensure that a 15 billion-gallon RFS will actually be a 15 billion-gallon RFS. If that is accomplished, the integrity of the RFS will have been restored and President Trump's promise to protect and uphold the RFS will have been redeemed." Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Trump,  Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  


    Scania Inks Australian Biodiesel Distribution Agreement (Int'l.)
    Scania,Refuelling Solutions
    Date: 2019-10-11
    In the Land Down Under, Scania Australia reports the inking of a biodiesel distribution Memorandum of Understanding Under the terms of the MOU, Refuelling Solutions will support Scania's effort to expand sales of trucks, buses and industrial and marine engines that can run on biofuels.

    The company has similar agreements with Just Biodiesel, Ecotech Biodiesel, ethanol fuel supplier Wilmar Bioethanol Australia, and biogas infrastructure suppliers and consultantsthe ENGV Group.

    Refuelling Solutions is a 30-year-old Australian-owned and run business that began supplying fuel through its Mini-Tankers operation to onsite equipment in 1987. (Source: Scania Australia, Fleet Owners Network, 10 Oct., 2019) Contact: Scania Australia, +61 3 9217 3300 www.scania.com; Refueling Solutions, www.rfs.com.au

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Scania,  Biodiesel,  


    NBB Poll Finds Voter Support for RFS and Biodiesel (Ind. Report)
    National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-10-11
    According to a recently released National Biodiesel Board (NBB) poll of registered U.S. voters, 81 pct of respondents indicated that a candidate's position on renewable fuels is important, 86 pct said a candidate's position on clean energy is important or very important and 85 pct agreed that it is important that Pres. Trump keep his promises on the RFS.

    Nearly 80 pct expressed support for existing federal advanced biofuels programs, 78 pct support the federal tax incentive for biodiesel, and 79 pct support the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) while 79 pct would encourage local communities and governments to promote use of biodiesel. (Source: NBB,Oct., 2019) Contact: NBB, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News National Biodiesel Board,  RFS,  Biodiesel,  Ethanol,  Biofuel ,  


    Trump administration reaches regulatory deal on Renewable Fuel Standard
    EPA,RFS
    Date: 2019-10-09
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that President Donald Trump is promoting a new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Under the agreement, the following actions will be undertaken by EPA and USDA. In a forthcoming supplemental notice building off the recently proposed 2020 Renewable Volume Standards and the Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2021, EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020. EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries; the EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year. In the most recent compliance year, EPA granted 31 small refinery exemptions. Building on the president’s earlier decision to allow year-round sales of E15, EPA will initiate a rule making process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15; EPA will continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform; and USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends. (Source: Talk Business & Politics , 7 Oct., 2019)

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


    GEVO CEO Comments on RFS Announcement (Opinions & Asides)
    Gevo
    Date: 2019-10-09
    "Friday's (renewable fuels standard) announcement by the EPA is a step in the right direction and will hopefully put the RFS back on track after 31 oil refineries received exemptions back in August. I'm glad President Trump supported this step. A robust renewable fuel standard is important for our farmers, the biofuel industry, and reducing greenhouse gases. Every drop of biofuel we get into the market is a win and helps to change the conversation about what is possible from low carbon, sustainable biofuels.

    "With Gevo it is possible, for example, to replace an entire gallon of transportation fuel with fuels that are renewable with net zero, or even carry a negative, GHG profile. That is a game changer. Good for farmers, good for consumers, good for the environment." -- Patrick Gruber, CEO, Gevo, 8 Oct., 2019 Contact: Gevo, Patrick Gruber, CEO, 303-858-8358, pgruber@gevo.com, www.gevo.com

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


    EPA, USDA Agree to 15Bn Gal. Ethanol Blend Minimum (Ind. Report)
    US EPA, USDA, Renewable Duel Standard
    Date: 2019-10-07
    On Friday in Washington, the Trump administration U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a long awaited agreement on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and will now request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.

    The agreement will ensure the blending of 15 billion gallons of ethanol with fuel supplies starting in 2020 and will also ensure the biomass-based diesel volume is met. EPA will also start the process for streamlining labeling and removal of other barriers for the sale of E15 fuel.

    Among other changes, the EPA will begin to account for projected numbers of gallons exempted when coming up with Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for refiners, which means greater certainty for farmers and producers. It will ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol are blended into the nation's fuel supply starting in 2020. Additionally, the USDA will invest in infrastructure projects to facilitate higher blends of biofuel, such as E85. (Source: US EPA, McDonough County Voice, Various Other Media, 4 Oct., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  USDA,  US DOE,  


    Notable Quotes on Trump's RFS Action
    RFS,Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,
    Date: 2019-10-07
    "We welcome the (Trump RFS) proposal to restore integrity to the RFS. We will work with our champions and the White House to make sure the EPA's final rules ensure that a 15 billion-gallon RFS will actually be a 15 billion-gallon RFS. If that is accomplished, the integrity of the RFS will have been restored and President Trump's promise to protect and uphold the RFS will have been redeemed." - Monte Shaw, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, (Source: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, 5 Oct., 2019)Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org

    "It's up to each individual entity, but the innovation of taking advantage of low-carbon markets. I think if we can differentiate ourselves within the state of North Dakota, to take advantage of those and be long survivors in this industry." - Gerald Bachmeier, CEO, Red Trail Energy (Source: Red Trail Energy, West Dakota Fox, 5 Oct., 2019) Contact: Red Trail Energy, 701-974-3308, www.redtrailenergy.com

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


    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,  


  • Are the Farmers Happy Yet? (Notable Quotes)
    RFS, Trump
    Date: 2019-10-02
    "The farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for ethanol, not even including the E-15, year around, which is already done. It will be a giant package, get ready!

    "At the same time I was able to save the small refineries from certain closing. Great for all!" -- Pres. "The Donald" Trump's Aug. 11 Twitter update of ongoing RFS Policy Change Negotiations which have now been stalled.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  


    Diamond Green Diesel Plans $1.1Bn Expansion (Ind. Report)
    Diamond Green Diesel
    Date: 2019-10-02
    Honeywell is reporting the Valero Energy and Darling Ingredients joint venture Diamond Green Diesel facility in Norco, Louisiana, will invest $1.1 billion to expand its annual production capacity of renewable diesel using Honeywell UOP's Ecofining™ process technology to meet growing demand for renewable fuels in North America and Europe.

    Producing 275 million gpy of Honeywell Green Diesel™, Diamond Green Diesel is the largest commercial advanced biofuel facility in the US. The expansion, which will increase the facility's annual production by nearly 150 pct to 675 million gpy, will also produce about 60 million gpy of renewable naphtha when completed and operational in late 2021.

    Diamond Green Diesel's product is a qualified Advanced Biofuel under the US EPA Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). (Source: Honeywell, Hydrocarbon Engineering, Oct., 2019) Contact: Diamond Green Diesel, sales@diamondgreendiesel.com, www.diamondgreendiesel.com; Valero Renewable Fuels, Joe Gorder, Pres., (800) 324-8464, www.valero.com; Darling Ingedients, Melissa A. Gaither, VP IR , (972) 281-4478, mgaither@darlingii.com, www.darlingii.com; Honeywell UOP, Bryan Glover, VP Petrochemicals & Refining Technologies, www,uop.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Honeywell UOP,  Diamond Green Diesel,  Renewable Diesel,  Valero,  Green Diesel,  Darling Ingedients,  


    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,  


    W2 Fuels Shutters Iowa, Michigan Biodiesel Plants (Ind. Report)
    W2 Fuel
    Date: 2019-09-30
    In the Hawkeye State, Crawfordsville-based biodiesel producer W2 Fuel LLC reports the shutdown of its 10 million gpy biodiesel plant in Crawfordsville in southeast Iowa, along with a plant in Michigan.

    The company cited RFS "hardship" waiver uncertainty and growing losses for the move. (Source: W2 Fuel, Des Moines Register, 25 Sept., 2019) Contact: W2 Fuel, Roy Strom, CEO, 319-658-2003, www.w2fuel.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  W2 Fuel,  Biofuel,  Renewable Fuel,  


    Corn Growers Praise, Plead Trump for RFS Action (Ind. Report)
    Trump
    Date: 2019-09-30
    In a recent letter to Pres. Donald Trump, corn grower organizations in 23 states called on the President to direct his administration's EPA to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule and to simply uphold the law.

    "Dear President Trump,

    "We are writing on behalf of the more than 300,000 corn farmers across the country who are being negatively impacted by a perfect storm of challenges in rural America. The 31 new Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waivers to big oil companies, recently approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and bringing total waivers issued under your Administration to 85, could not have come at a worse time for agriculture.

    "Ethanol plants in several states, including Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota and Mississippi have closed or idled. These closures have cost 2,700 rural jobs and impacted demand for more than 300 million bushels of corn. Corn farmers are beginning harvest and continuing to lose markets to deliver their corn. Frustration in the countryside is growing.

    "Corn farmers are not asking for a special deal. We are simply asking, as we have been for the past two years, that your EPA uphold the law. To effectively stop the harm caused by RFS waivers, EPA needs to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule. Accounting for waivers in the annual RFS volume process restores integrity to the RFS. It also allows your Administration to continue granting waivers, as allowed by the law, while keeping the RFS whole."

    "While adding gallons and improving market access for higher blends of ethanol are all policies farmers appreciate and support, future waivers will continue to minimize the RFS, unless your Administration acts to account for waivers beginning this coming year first.

    "We were pleased to see press reports indicating that, following a meeting with farm-state lawmakers, an agreement had been reached to address the harm caused by waivers. With more than 4 billion gallons waived out of the RFS, we appreciate you listening to our elected representatives about what is needed to restore meaning to the RFS. Farmers across the country are anxiously awaiting the release of more details about this agreement. Ethanol plants will continue to close if you don't act soon, creating a rippling effect throughout the rural economy.

    "Corn farmers are appreciative of your past support for agriculture and ethanol. We especially appreciate your efforts to remove the barrier to year-round sales of E15, but EPA's current use of waivers undermines growth potential for higher blends of ethanol, reduces demand, lowers the value of our crop, and puts the outlook for the rural economy in jeopardy.

    "Mr. President, we firmly ask that you uphold your commitment to America's farmers and the RFS." (Source: Ag Ohio, Various Trade Media, Sept., 2019)

    Editor's Note: For our reader's convenience, we have underlined the few lines that actually call on Trump to honestly do his job and uphold the RFS. The remaining five paragraph's are, in our opinion, little more than flattery to the White House.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  "Hardship" Waivers,  Corn Ethanol,  


    W2 Fuel Iowa Biodiesel Plant Closed Amid RFS Uncertainty (Ind Report)
    W2 Fuel,Iowa Renewable Fuels Association
    Date: 2019-09-27
    In the Hawkeye State, Radio Iowa is reporting W2 Fuel LLC has temporarily shuttered its 10-million gpy biodiesel plant in in Crawfordsville due to market conditions and uncertainties swirling around the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    According to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, the Crawfordsville facility is one of 12 biodiesel plants in Iowa. Last year, 365 million gallons of biodiesel was produced in Iowa -- roughly 20 pct of all the biodiesel made in the U.S. (Source: RadioIowa, 25 Sept., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org; W2 Fuel LLC, Roy Strom, CEO, (319) 658-2003, www.w2fuel.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  W2 Fuel,  Iowa Renewable Fuels Association,  


    More from "The Donald" -- Notable Quote
    RFS
    Date: 2019-09-23
    "More difficult than dealing with the Taliban." -- Pres. Donald Trump commenting on negotiations with ethanol producers and refineries on the RFS blending mandate "hardship waiver" negotiations

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump news,  RFS news,  RFS "hardship waivers" news,  


    Grassley Comments on EPA "Hardship" Waivers -- Notable Quote
    EPA,Chuck Gressley
    Date: 2019-09-18
    "We want 15 billion gallons to be 15 billion gallons -- so that means basically you can waive all you want to waive for small refineries, just make sure we get 15 billion gallons." -- Sen. Chuck Grassley (R--Iowa) commenting of the Trump EPA's RFS "hardship" waivers. (Source: Iowa Radio, EnergyAg Wired, 18 Sept., 2019) Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley, www.grassley.senate.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Chuck Grassley,  RFS,  "Hardship" waivers,  Ethanol,  


    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,  


    Trump Asked to Honor RFS Pledge (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    NBB,National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-09-11
    "DearMr.President,

    "We are writing to express dismay at your recent decision to grant 31 waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. Plainly stated, that decision is putting U.S.biodiesel producers out of business and worsening the year's outlook for soy farmers. And while you have expressed concern to save small petroleum refineries, you should also understand that small U.S. biodiesel producers need a positive signal.

    "Within a week of your decision on the 31 waivers, one U.S. biodiesel producer announced plans to close three plants -- in Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Mississippi. Other producers have announced closings and laid off workers. More than 200 million gallons of domestic biodiesel production has been idled this year, due to instability in federal policy. We anticipate that additional facilities will close over the next several months if you do not take quick action to restore RFS volumes for biodiesel and renewable diesel.

    "Every small refinery waiver issued by the EPA has the potential to put a U.S.biodiesel producer out of business. A small oil refiner processing 75,000 barrels of oil per day can produce nearly 1 billion gallons of fuel in a year. The RFS program requires that oil refiner blend about 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel during the year -- a very small fraction of overall fuel production. However, there are dozens of biodiesel producers who produce 20 million gallons of fuel or less each year; three-fifths of U.S. producers are small, non-integrated facilities.

    Small refinery waivers destroy demand for all biofuels across the board, with a significant impact on domestic biodiesel and renewable diesel producers. According to University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin, the exemptions especially harm biodiesel and renewable diesel producers because of the way the RFS is constructed. The 1.4 billion gallons of renewable fuel eliminated from the 2018 RFS through the 31 waivers includes hundreds of millions of gallons of biodiesel and renewable diesel in the biomass-based diesel, advanced and overall volumes.

    "The small refinery exemptions are compounding the policy headwinds our industry is facing. Biodiesel producers have waited more than 20 months for Congress to address expired tax incentives. Additionally, your U.S. Department of Commerce is proposing to virtually eliminate countervailing duties on unfairly subsidized Argentine biodiesel. Those duties were put in place to counteract years' worth of unfair trade practices by Argentina. Soy farmers have faced closed markets, depressed crop prices, and weather-related challenges. Those forces have reduced soy planting by 15 percent for the current marketing year. Biodiesel is a value-added market driver for America's soybeans, at a time when markets have been shut or diminished.

    "The biodiesel industry continues to rely on the RFS to incentivize growth. Biodiesel and renewable diesel can be used in any existing diesel engine without special equipment for blending or dispensing. Producers therefore rely on a positive signal and support from federal programs to continue opening the transportation market to higher volumes.

    "Biodiesel producers and soy farmers rely on the RFS program. Growth in the biodiesel market is the only way to keep domestic producers operating and protect U.S. workers' jobs. Unfortunately, EPA is proposing zero growth for biomass-based diesel. We have asked the agency to do two things: first, properly account for the small refinery exemptions handed out over the past few years and going forward; and second, provide growth in the biomass-based diesel market for 2020 and 2021.

    "We ask that you continue to support the RFS and save small biodiesel producers. (signed) National Biodiesel Board (NBB)" (Source: NBB, 9 Sept., 2019) Contact: NBB, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  


    RFS "Hardship Waiver" Update from "The Donald" (Notable Quote)
    RFS, Trump
    Date: 2019-09-11
    "The Farmers are going to be so happy when they see what we are doing for Ethanol, not even including the E-15, year around, which is already done. It will be a giant package, get ready! At the same time I was able to save the small refineries from certain closing. Great for all!" -- Pres. Donald Trump's Twitter update of ongoing RFS Policy Change Negotiations.

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


    NBB's EPA RFS "Hardship" Waivers Challenge Nixed (Reg & Leg)
    NBB,National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-09-09
    In the nation's capitol, the US Court of Appeals has announced it will not review the Trump administration US EPA's refusal to account for its granting of numerous retroactive Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers, as challenged by the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

    The Court nixed the NBB's appeal on the grounds that the biofuel industry did not comment on the topic or give the EPA sufficient opportunity to address those comments. (Source: NBB, Biofuels News, 9 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  RFS,  "hardship" Waivers,  


    GEVO Touts New No Particulate Renewable Diesel (Ind. Report)
    GEVO
    Date: 2019-09-06
    Englewood, Colorado-based renewable fuels and chemicals manufacturer GEVO reports the development of a proprietary, breakthrough processes that converts

    either low-carbon isobutanol or low-value "fusel oils" -- a mixture of alcohols that are byproducts from fermentation processes -- into renewable diesel. This new renewable diesel is expected to compete head-to-head on price with natural and petroleum-based equivalents while reducing particulates and CO2 emissions.

    Low-carbon renewable diesel is biomass-derived transportation fuel suitable for use in diesel engines and has increased in demand since the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard came into effect. Additionally, the marine sector will have to reduce sulphur emissions to meet new international water regulations beginning in 2020. (Source: GEVO, PR, 4 Sept., 2019)Contact: GEVO, Patrick Gruber, CEO, 303-858-8358, pgruber@gevo.com, www.gevo.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News GEVO,  Renewable Diesel,  isobutanol,  


    Notable Quote
    POET, EPA
    Date: 2019-08-30
    "The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was designed to increase the use of clean, renewable biofuels and generate grain demand for farmers. Our industry invested billions of dollars based on the belief that oil could not restrict access to the market and EPA would stand behind the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Unfortunately, the oil industry is manipulating the EPA and is now using the RFS to destroy demand for biofuels, reducing the price of commodities and gutting rural economies in the process." -- Jeff Broin, CEO, POET Contact: POET, Jeff Broin, CEO., (605) 965-2200, www.poet.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News POET,  EPA,  "Hardship" Waivers,  RFS,  


    POET Idling Cloverdale Corn Ethanol plant (Ind. Report)
    POET, EPA
    Date: 2019-08-30
    Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based ethanol producer POET reports it is idling its Clverdale, Indiana bioprocessing facility due the EPA's policies on RFS "hardship" waivers. The shutdown will take several weeks after which time the plant, which normally processes 30 million bpy, will stop processing corn for ethanol production.

    POET already has cut production at half of its biorefineries with the biggest impact being felt at its Iowa and Ohio plants where corn processing will drop by an additional 100 million bushels. (Source: POET, The Messenger, 29 Aug., 2019) Contact: POET, Jeff Broin, CEO, (605) 965-2200, www.poet.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News POET,  EPA,  "Hardship" Waivers,  RFS,  


    Sonny Says Trump Will Take Action on Ethanol Waivers -- Whatever That Means? (Ind. Report)
    RFS,Sonny Perdue
    Date: 2019-08-30
    Speaking Wednesday in Decatur, Illinois -- corn country -- U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said President Trump will "take action to soften the effects of oil refinery exceptions for blending corn-based ethanol in motor fuel." It is "disappointing" that the Trump EPA granted the waivers, Sec. Perdue added.

    Perdue either couldn't or wouldn't say what action the president will or might take, but noted that Trump believes the EPA waivers were "way overdone." Ethanol advocates contend that oil refinery waivers have reduced ethanol production by 2.6 billion gallons since Trump moved into the White House.

    When grilled on the Trump administration's biofuels, trade and Renewable Fuel Standard and related policies Perdue replied "EPA will continue to consult with our federal partners on the best path forward to ensure stability in the Renewable Fuel Standard. The president will always seek to engage with stakeholders to achieve wins for the agriculture and energy sectors." So sayeth Sonny!(Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, CBS, Various Media, 28 Aug., 2019) Contact: Office of US Sec of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, (202) 720-2791, feedback@oc.usda.gov, www.usda.gov, twitter.com/SecretarySonny

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  "Hardship" Waivers,  Ethanol,  Sonny Perdue,  Trump,  


    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,  


    More RFS "Hardship" Waivers! (Ind. Report)
    EPA,American Soybean Association
    Date: 2019-08-26
    On Friday the 23rd, the EPA announced it was granting 31 more Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) "hardship" waivers -- a whopping 31 of 38 total Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) applications for the 2018 compliance year.

    In July, EPA announced biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volumes for 2021 will remain stagnant but again failed to account for the significant gallons lost because of SRE, which makes the proposed volume, in effect, a reduction for biofuels.

    The waivers announced Friday evening combined with those issued for 2016 and 2017 RFS volumes brings the total number to more than 80 retroactive waivers, which significantly reduces biodiesel demand and results in billions of dollars in economic harm to the U.S. biodiesel industry, including soybean farmers.

    Kentucky soybean grower and American Soybean Association (ASA) president Davie Stephens responded to the latest round saying "Of course ASA is unhappy. These exemptions undermine President Trump's pledge to support the RFS and undermine the Administration's efforts to support farmers who are already bearing the brunt of trade disruptions. EPA's decision is another blow to yet another market for soybean farmers." (Source: American Soybean Association, Daily American, Various Media, 26 Aug., 2019) Contact: American Soybean Association, Dave Stephens, Pres., (314) 576-1770, www.soygrowers.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  "Hardship" Waivers,  American Soybean Association,  


    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,  


    Growth Energy CEO Rebuts EPA Zero Demand Destruction Claim (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Growth Energy, RFS, EPA
    Date: 2019-08-21
    In response to the EPA's recent claim -- "There is zero evidence that EPA's congressionally mandated small refinery exemption program has had any negative impact on domestic corn ethanol producers" -- Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor issued the following statement.

    "The latest reports say President Trump 'felt misled' about the EPA's most recent batch of small refinery exemptions. That's hardly a surprise. The EPA spent months trying to paper over the devastating impact these refinery (waiver) handouts have had on farm communities and rural workers in America's biofuel sector. They can't hide the simple fact that dozens of biofuel plants have cut production, and ethanol consumption fell for the first time in 20 years in the wake of these exemptions. Closures in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Florida, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska are only the beginning.

    "Just today, the world's largest ethanol producer closed a major plant in Indiana and cut production across seven states. Hundreds of millions of gallons of production are offline, and hundreds of millions of bushels of grain are falling in value, just as farmers face the worst economic conditions in a generation.

    "The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) creates an incentive that opens the market to biofuel blends, including the E15 that President Trump personally embraced. These exemptions destroy that incentive, pure and simple. You cannot carve billions of gallons from America's biofuel targets and still keep this administration's promises to farm families. EPA needs to account for these lost gallons immediately and start repairing the damage before more rural communities lose hope for a comeback."

    Growth Energy represents producers and supporters of ethanol working to bring consumers better choices at the fuel pump, grow America's economy and improve the environment. (Source: Growth Energy, 21 Aug., 2019) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, Elizabeth Funderburk, (202) 545-4000, EFunderburk@GrowthEnergy.org, www.growthenergy.org

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


    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,  

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