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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,  


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,  


  • 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,  


    EPA Considering RFS Blending Compliance Delay (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2020-04-03
    Reuters is reporting US EPA chief Andrew Wheeler is considering delaying the deadline for oil refineries to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) biofuel blending regulation past March 31 to help the industry cope with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Since the pandemic's onset, the oil industry has asked for broad regulatory relief to help it survive sharply reduced global demand for fuel and to lower related costs. (Source: US EPA, Reuters, 27 Mar., 2020) Contact: US EPA, Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epas-acting-administrator

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


    Renewable Fuels Coalition Urges EPA to NOT Appeal Court "Hardship" Waiver Decision (Ind. Report, Reg. & Leg.)
    American Coalition for Ethanol
    Date: 2020-03-20
    With the need for a decision only days away, the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union -- the coalition that scored a unanimous court decision against the U.S. EPA -- is now calling for the agency to not appeal the decision.

    The coalition took the EPA to court and won over several "hardship" exemptions the EPA granted to small refineries, releasing them from their renewable fuel obligations in 2016 and 2017. The Trump Administration sought and secured an extension of the appeal deadline until Tuesday, March 24, this year.

    "With the renewable fuels industry reeling from coronavirus, trade disputes and small refinery exemptions, now is certainly not the time for the Trump administration to take any action that would cause further pain for ethanol producers or the farmers that supply them. The best thing they could do to support our industry and keep ethanol plants open is to announce immediately that they will not appeal," the coalition wrote.

    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: American Coalition for Ethanol , Various Trade Media, 18 March 2020) Contact: 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; American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381 ext. 3389, www.ethanol.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol,  RFS,  "Hardship Wiver",  Renewable Fuel ,  


    US Renewable Fuel Prices Up With RFS "Hardship Waiver" Program Announcement (Ind. Report)
    Renewable Fuel
    Date: 2020-02-28
    Reuters is reporting U.S. renewable fuel prices were up by 25 pct the week following a Bloomberg reports that the Trump administration has decided to cut back on "hardship waiver" exemptions for oil refineries from the renewable fuel standard biofuel blending laws.

    Following the Bloomberg report, renewable fuel credits for 2019 traded at 35 cents each , up 7 cents while credits for 2020 traded at 40 cents each.

    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, Successful Farming, Reuters, 26 Feb., 2020)

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


    "New USDA Mandate for Biofuels Should be Withdrawn" (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    USDA
    Date: 2020-02-24
    "When the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its 'innovation agenda' to align USDA's resources, programs, and research to help the agriculture industry meet the 'climate demands of the future' the first reaction at Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) is that this looks and sounds far too much like more taxpayers subsidies for programs that already exist. According to an April 30, 2018 Government Accountability Office report, the Office of Management and Budget found $13.2 billion in climate change funding across 19 agencies in 2017. The GAO reviewed six agencies and found that 94 pct of their reported climate change funding went to programs that touch on, but aren't dedicated to climate change, such as nuclear energy research. The government should determine whether those are effective and consolidate or terminate ones that are not before creating costly new mandates and programs.

    "The plan to reach 30 pct for biofuels in 2050 is especially troubling. The USDA's historic approach to 'market-driven blend rates' has been to aggressively pursue unachievable biofuel mandates that put manufacturing jobs at risk, result in more emissions and create a reliance on foreign fuels. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline and does not need a mandate. If the USDA is truly interested in 'market driven' approaches, it should advocate eliminating the renewable fuel standard (RFS) so that renewable energy can economically compete on its own, rather than trying to promote mandates that drive quantities of ethanol-laced fuels that consumers may not want, while putting jobs at risk and raising costs at the pump. In fact, the blend rate is gradually increasing despite falling renewable identification numbers and small refinery exemptions. This shows that ethanol is economic on its own and that markets, not mandates, should determine our nation's fuel mix.

    "Calling for a 30 pct biofuels goal for 2050 is not something that should be coming out of the Trump administration. It sounds like an objective of the $93 trillion Green New Deal which President Trump and every free market and taxpayers group including CAGW has said is both unachievable and devastating to the economy. The USDA should withdraw its proposal and the RFS should be eliminated."(Source: The Waste Watcher - Against Government Waste , 21 Feb. 2020) Contact: The Waste Watcher -Against Government Waste www.cagw.org

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


    Court Disqualifies Recent RFS "Hardship" Waivers (Reg & Leg.)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2020-01-27
    It is being widely reported that a U.S. appeals court has ordered the EPA to reconsider three recently issued Renewable Fuel Standard small refinery "hardship waivers" on the grounds that the refineries did not qualify for the waivers and their issuance was "flawed."

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit dated Jan. 24 came after a coalition of biofuel industry groups had challenged the 2016 exemptions for Holly Frontier's Woods Cross and Cheyenne refineries, as well as CVR Energy's Wynewood refinery.

    The court ruled the EPA overstepped its authority and errored in granting the waivers because the refineries had not received exemptions in the previous year. The court said the RFS is worded in such a way that any exemption granted to a small refinery after 2010 must take the form of an "extension".

    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 (Source: Successful Farming, Various Media, Reuters, 25 Jan., 2020)

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


    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 ,  


    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,  


  • 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,  


    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,  


    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,  


    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,  


    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,  


    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,  


  • 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,  


    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,  


    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,  


    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,  


    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,  


    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,  


    "We've Had Enough!" -- NBB Comments on EPA's RFS Waivers (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    NBB
    Date: 2019-08-16
    "Here we go again. Last week, the U.S. EPA granted 31 out of 38 retroactive small refinery exemptions for 2018. I can't contain the frustration and utter disappointment I have with how this administration is handling its responsibility of administering the RFS.

    "Congress passed the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back in 2007, signed into law by George W. Bush -- a lifelong oil and gas guy. The law was passed to encourage investment in advanced biofuels like biodiesel, renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel. Biodiesel producers responded, making the investments and building an industry that today produces more than 2 billion gallons of transportation fuel each year. This market also provides added value to feedstocks such as soybean oil, used restaurant oil and animal fats.

    "The oil industry feverishly insists that the ethanol industry isn't harmed by small refinery exemptions because production has grown. But what about biodiesel? They never mention us because they know that small refinery exemptions disproportionately affect biodiesel because of the way the RFS is constructed.

    "We have said again and again -- biodiesel is very different from ethanol. The president (Trump) was instrumental in clearing the path for higher blends of ethanol year-round when he lifted the RVP waiver this summer, which we were supportive of. He and his EPA administrator have mentioned E15 when they have spoken about what they believe to be the minor impact of exempting RFS gallons. It's as though they think we are dumb enough to not understand that they are giving with one hand but taking away with the other.

    "Now, back to biodiesel. E15 does nothing to expand demand for biodiesel. Ethanol is not biodiesel. In fact, the RFS recognized this by establishing its own category for biodiesel, separate from ethanol, called biomass-based diesel. Policymakers at the time recognized the need to segment biodiesel and renewable diesel within the bigger RFS pool so that growth in those products could be differentiated in the overall program and we would see advancements of biofuels in both the gasoline and diesel sector.

    "Fast forward to 2019 and we now have an EPA that, two months ago, proposed a draft rule to hold the biomass-based diesel category flat for 2020, keeping it at 2.43 billion gallons for the second year in a row and then, just last week, the same EPA grants nearly one-half billion gallons of biomass-based diesel waivers. To highlight the hypocrisy in this action, while filing the draft rule two months ago, the EPA documented, in writing, the fact that they expected to grant zero (that's zero as in none, zilch, nada) gallons of small refinery waivers in 2020. And we're supposed to understand and accept that move?

    "Biodiesel and renewable diesel year after year fill more than 90 percent of the RFS volumes reserved for advanced biofuels. But EPA complains that advanced biofuels have not materialized quickly enough to meet the goals of the RFS. Now -- as seen last week -- the agency is holding its thumb on the industry and blocking growth. Not only blocking growth, but helping to reduce demand through small refinery exemptions.

    "As the agency continues to hand them out to every refiner that asks, the damage could reach $7.7 billion or 2.54 billion gallons, according to Scott Irwin, an agricultural economist from the University of Illinois. A 'small' oil refinery, by RFS definition -- one that processes 75,000 bpd of oil and produces nearly a billion gallons of fuel a year -- would have an RFS obligation to use just 20 million gallons of biodiesel or renewable diesel. Many U.S. biodiesel producers are smaller than that -- just one small refinery exemption would eliminate their entire market. And the EPA granted 31 of them.

    "President Trump vowed to protect and defend American farmers. In fact, he calls them patriots. But his actions will put the biodiesel producers those same farmers depend on for their market, out of business. It's already happening, and it's having a devastating impact on rural communities across the nation.

    "President Trump and EPA Administrator Wheeler should clearly know what this means to the workers, producers, farmers and investors in the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry -- their new round of unwarranted RFS exemptions just destroyed jobs and a valuable marketplace for hardworking Americans, including those patriotic soybean farmers who Trump has called on to be his willing allies in the trade dispute with China. If this is how the EPA administrator treats the president’s allies, I'd hate to see how he treats his enemies. (Source: NBB, 15 Aug., 2019) Contact: NBB, Donnell Rehagen, CEO, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NBB,  Biodiesel,  


    NEB Comments on Latest EPA "Hardship Waivers" -- Notable Quote
    RPA, Nebraska Ethanol Board
    Date: 2019-08-14
    "Over the past two years, the EPA has granted hardship waivers to refineries owned by companies like Exxon Mobil and Chevron. Their continued handouts to the oil industry comes during a time when heartland farmers are really struggling due to depressed commodity prices, flooding and trade wars. Securing access and demand for homegrown, cleaner-burning biofuels should be top priority from an economic and environmental standpoint, not destroying the marketplace program the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created for." -- Roger Berry, Administrator, Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB).

    Berry was speaking in Lincoln, Nebraska on the EPA's granting of an additional 31 small refinery biofuel waivers for 2018. This follows the 54 waivers the Trump Administration granted in 2016 and 2017, which caused 2.6 billion gallons of demand destruction. These new waivers add another loss of 1.4 billion gallons, for a total loss of 4 billion gallons. Contact: Nebraska Ethanol Board, Roger Berry, (402) 471-2941, ethanol.nebraska.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Nebraska Ethanol Board news,  Ethanol news,  EPA news,  "Hardship Waiver" news,  


    NBB Condemns EPA's Latest RFS "Hardship Waivers" (Ind Report)
    National Biodiesel Board
    Date: 2019-08-12
    "Less than two months after vowing to always protect and defend American farmers, President Trump is bowing to oil industry pressure and allowing his EPA to dismantle the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, force U.S. biodiesel producers out of business, and undermine the farm economy. EPA and administration personnel are well aware that the ongoing spree of big oil exemptions destroy demand for biodiesel and render the RFS program meaningless.

    "Biodiesel producers are already shutting down facilities and laying off workers, due to loss of demand. The ongoing demand destruction will undercut the industry's investments and choke off markets for surplus agricultural oils, adding to the economic hardship that farmers are facing. The Trump administration's action represents a fundamental betrayal of previous promises to farmers and the agricultural economy." (Source: National Biodiesel Board, 10 Aug., 2019) Contact: NBB, Kurt Kovarik, VP Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.biodiesel.org

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


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

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

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

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

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

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Various Media, AgPro, 9 Aug., 2019) Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org; Renewable Fuels Association, www.ethanolrfa.org; American Coalition of Ethanol, www.ethanol.org

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


    Pacific Ethanol Seeking Plant Purchasers, Partners (Ind. Report)
    Pacific Ethanol
    Date: 2019-08-07
    In the Golden State, Sacramento-based Pacific Ethanol, Inc. reports it is actively seeking new business partnerships or purchasers for some of its ethanol plants as it battles "negative margins".

    According to company president Paul Koehler, the industry continues to suffer from oversupply, a lack of trade with China and from small-refinery exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard that have reduced demand by about 2.6 billion ethanol-equivalent gallons since 2016. The company reported an operating loss of $2.7 million in Q2 this year, down from a $10.2 million loss in Q1, and is operating at roughly 80 pct capacity, according to a statement.

    Pacific Ethanol operates plants in Illinois, Nebraska, Oregon, Idaho and California, with a production capacity of 605 million gpy.(Source: Pacific Ethanol, DTN, Ohio AgNet, 5 Aug., 2019) Contact: Pacific Ethanol, Paul Kohler, Pres., CEO, (916) 403-2790, investorrelations@pacificethanol.com, www.pacificethanol.com.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Pacific Ethanol ,  


    Ameresco Advocates for Renewable Natural Gas (Ind. Report)
    Ameresco
    Date: 2019-08-02
    In testimony at recent EPA hearings on 2020 Renewable Fuel Volume Standards and Renewable Natural Gas (RNG), Framingham, Mass.-based RBG developer and renewables and energy efficiency specialist Ameresco, Inc. Senior Project Manager Jeff Stander noted -- "We strongly encourage the EPA to set the 2020 cellulosic biofuel RVO to account for at least 650 million gallons of RNG."

    Stander led the 2018 development of Ameresco's RNG production facility at the Woodland Meadows Landfill in Canton, Michigan and was one of several industry experts representing the RNG Coalition at the EPA public hearing on July 31 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, for the EPA's proposed Renewable Fuel Standards for 2020, according to the release.

    Ameresco has developed 39 beneficial use projects involving biogas at wastewater treatment plants and landfills, including three RNG facilities in Arizona, Michigan and Texas that participate in the RFS program. The RNG facilities generate D3 Cellulosic Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) and provide transportation fuel that is injected into the natural gas pipeline grid.

    Since 2014, the EPA has recognized the use of RNG to meet fuel volume standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). RNG makes up more than 95 pct of the renewable fuel used to meet the RFS cellulosic biofuel requirement, according to the Ameresco release. (Source: Ameresco, PR, 31 July, 2019) Contact: Ameresco, Jeff Stander, Senior Project Developer, (508) 661-2288, www.ameresco.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ameresco,  RNG,  RFS,  


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

    In a response to an April 10 letter from Grassley, Energy Secretary Rick Perry indicated that EPA had, on at least one occasion, issued an exemption when his department recommended no exemption and ignored recommendations to grant only partial exemptions in other cases. Perry also noted that the agency has not changed how these analyses are applied or scored from the prior Obama Administration.

    Perry also noted that he was aware of instances in which DOE recommended a partial or even no exemption for certain refineries, yet EPA subsequently granted a full exemption. This contradicts former oil industry lobbyist and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's claim before Congress that EPA simply followed DOE's recommendations.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance Under Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was been denied. (Source: DOE, FeedStuff, 29 July, 2019)

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


    EPA Releases 2020 RVOs Proposal (Ind. Report, Reg & Leg)
    EPA, RVO
    Date: 2019-07-24
    The US EPA's recently proposed 2020 and 2012 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) require 91 billion litres of renewable fuels to be blended into the US fuel supply in 2020, up from 90.5bn litres in 2019 -- 23 billion litres of advanced biofuels, 11 billion litres of biomass-based diesel - which was set last year and is the same for 2021, and 2.4 billion litres of cellulosic biofuel -- up 545 million litres from the 2019 figure.

    The proposed RVO would require biofuels to make up 10.92 pct of US transportation fuel, including 2.75 pct advanced biofuels, 1.99 pct biomass-based diesel and 0.29 pct cellulosic biofuel.

    The rule making also proposed amendments to the RFS regulations including: clarification of diesel RVO calculations; pathway petition conditions; a biodiesel esterification pathway; distillers corn oil and distillers oil pathways; renewable fuel exporter provisions allowing the production of biomass-based diesel from separated food waste; flexibilities for renewable fuel blending for military use; heating oil used for cooling; RFS facility ownership changes; additional registration deactivation justifications; a new Renewable Identification Number (RIN) retirement; a new pathway for co-processing biomass with petroleum to produce cellulosic diesel, jet fuel and heating oil; public access to information; and other revisions. The amendments came as part of the as yet finalized Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support rule. (Source: EPA, Oils & Fats Int'l., 22 July, 2019)

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


    Small Refiners Threaten "Hardship Waivers" Legal Action (Ind. Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-07-19
    In Washington, Reuters is reporting a coalition of small U.S. refineries are planning on legal action against the the US EPA unless the agency issues issue its decisions on 2018 petitions for "hardship waivers" from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) within 60 days.

    The Trump administration EPA has more than quadrupled the number of waivers it has granted to refinerswhile at the same time raising the ire of the corn industry who claim the move threatens ethanol demand.

    The small refinery coalition's letter to the EPA said the "EPA is required to act on a petition within 90 days after receipt" and that it also failed to issue decisions on the outstanding 40 petitions for 2018 by March 31, 2019, which the letter said was the compliance deadline.

    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. In 2017, the number of small refineries filing for exemptions retroactively for 2016 jumped from 14 the previous year to 20. The rate in which EPA granted these petitions also increased dramatically from 53 pct to 95 pct. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 18 July, 2019)

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


    EPA's RFS Obligations Another Setback for American Farmers, says NFU (Ind. Report)
    NFU,EPA,RFS
    Date: 2019-07-19
    The US EPA's recently proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020 would set required biofuel use at 20.04 billion gallons next year, a marginal increase over this year's 19.92 billion gallons. The difference is primarily attributable to an expansion of cellulosic biofuel, from 420 million to 540 million gallons. The rule maintains the current 15-million-gallon target for corn ethanol, according to a NFU release.

    In the face of the EPA's proposal, the National Farmers Union (NFU) has expressed its disappointment in the almost unlimited issuance of RFS refinery "hardship waivers", the newly released RVO's and the that the agency's failure not only to factor the lost demand into its proposed RVOs but to increase biofuel use at all. "At every turn, EPA and this (Trump) administration have undermined the intent of RFS and destroyed demand for billions of gallons of ethanol", NFU President Roger Johnson added. (Source: The Cattle Site, National Farmers Union, PR, July, 2019) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS news,  NFU news,  National Farmers Union news,  "Hardship Waiver" news,  


    Notable Quote from the Hawkeye State
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-07-17
    "I am incredibly disappointed to see that the EPA has failed to reallocate the millions of lost gallons due to their brazen and unprecedented use of small refinery exemption ("hardship") waivers. A robust RFS (renewable fuel standard) is essential to a healthy ag economy in Iowa and across the country." -- Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), July, 2019 Contact: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, 515-281-5211, www.governor.iowa.gov/contact

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


    Neb. Gov., Ethanol Board Slam EPA's RFS RVO Proposal (Ind Report)
    Nebraska Ethanol Board
    Date: 2019-07-10
    The Nebraska Ethanol Board and the Cornhusker States Governor Peter Ricketts (R) have expressed their disappointment with the US EPA's recently proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

    "While Nebraska appreciates the EPA's timely release of renewable volume obligations, this proposal does not reflect the agency's legal duty to enforce a robust RFS or the president's commitment to our farmers," Governor Ricketts said while urging the EPA to "reallocate waived gallons and ensure that the agency is giving our farmers and ethanol producers the predictability they need, especially during tough times for agriculture."

    Nebraska Ethanol Board Administrator Roger Berry said the "Nebraska Ethanol Board is "extremely disappointed in the proposed Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) numbers released by the EPA. The fact that EPA did not account for any of the lost gallons due to Small Refiner Exemptions directly undermines demand for the quality fuel produced by our hard-working farmers and the 1,400 Nebraskans employed in the ethanol industry."

    Nebraska is the second-largest ethanol producer in the U.S. with over 2 billion gallons production capacity from 25 ethanol plants processing over 700 million bpy of corn for a $5 billion per year economic impact in the state. (Source: Nebraska Ethanol Board, The Independent, 9July, 2019) Contact: Office of Gov. Pete Ricketts, www.governor.nebraska.gov; Nebraska Ethanol Board, Roger Berry, Administrator, (402) 471-2941, www.ne-ethanol.org

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

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