" This is absolutely ridiculous that multi-billion dollar corporations would be given a free pass to use renewable fuels because of somehow twisting up an economic hardship to blend a fuel (ethanol) that today is $1.25 a gallon into gasoline that is still, wholesale, well over $1.50. It is just capital cronyism at it's best.
"Three years in a row, under president Trump's leadership, he's decimated this program and I just think it is so disingenuous that he would come out to Iowa and brag about how he loves ethanol and he's for the farmer -- and then to go back and do this. People wanted to give him some room and say that was his EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and he fired him. But now clearly, clearly in the last week president Trump was personally involved and made this decision and it's very, very discouraging for everybody in agriculture." -- Nick Bowdish, CEO, Elite Octane, www.eliteoctane.com.(Source: Atlantic News Telegraph, Aug., 2019)
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, "Hardship" Waiver, Ethanol, , Trump,
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,
Hallador and Pruitt are urging the Indiana republican controlled legislature to include language in the budget bill that would prohibit the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission from considering Obama-era regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the commission's decisions about rates and other issues that could impact the future of coal-generated electricity in the state.
Hallador claims Obama clean air regulations are the reason coal costs more than wind, solar and natural gas. They also claim that once President Trump and current EPA head and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler are finished gutting the Obama clean air regulations, the price of coal will drop. According to U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA) US coal consumption has plummeted to its lowest levels in nearly 40 years and more coal-fired power plants closed in the first two years of the Trump administration than during President Obama's entire first term.
As readers may recall, Pruitt resigned from the EPA in July 2018 after an 18-month tenure best remembered for the seemingly mass handout of Renewable Fuel Standard "hardship" waivers to refineries, spending and ethical scandals. As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance.
(Source: Hallador Energy Company, The Environmental Working Group, 23 April, 20190 Contact: Hallador Energy Company, (303) 839-5504, www.halladorenergy.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Scott Pruitt, Coal,
"We believe it is time for the EPA to address this threat to the Renewable Fuel Standard," Naig said, adding that over the last two years, the agency has granted waivers accounting for 2.6 billion gallons of ethanol or about 1 billion bushels of corn. "This happens at a time when our farmers and rural America can least afford it" he said adding there are currently 39 small-refinery exemption applications before the EPA. Refiners with a capacity of less than 75,000 bpd can receive a waiver as long as they can prove that complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard would cause "disproportionate economic harm."
According to Shaw, the nearly 40 exemptions out there could "rip the heart out"of the Renewable Fuel Standard. "If you can justify granting a small-refinery exemption under today's circumstances -- where you can buy a Renewable Identification Number (RIN) for 8 cents, then what the EPA would really be saying is that it's always going to grant small-refinery exemptions, and the hope of ever having a true 15 billion-gallon RFS is dead," Shaw said.
The Renewable Fuels Association noted overall U.S. ethanol consumption declined last year.
The association also noted 48 small refinery exemptions approved last year by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt as a main factor for the drop in ethanol use. (Source: Iowa RFA, PR, The Courier, 21 April, 2019)
Contact: IRFA, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., info@IowaRFA.org, (515) 252-6249, www.iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Monte Shaw, RFA, IRFA, RFS, "Hardship" Exemption,
" As the Senate proceeds to consider the nomination of Andrew Wheeler to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), I write to encourage you to secure tangible documentation from Mr. Wheeler that EPA will resolve two critically important issues before casting your confirmation vote: finalizing a legally -defensible Reid vapor pressure (RVP) rule to allow E15 use year-round before June 1, and reallocating ethanol blending obligations waived for 2016 and 2017 through the Small Refinery Exemption (SRE) provision of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
"I urge you hold Acting Administrator Wheeler to this high standard because of the harm done to renewable fuels by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Prior to his confirmation by the Senate, Mr. Pruitt pledged to support the RFS as the law of the land and the President's commitment to expanding ethanol use. However, while leading EPA, he undermined the RFS through an unprecedented number of backdoor refinery waivers which erased more than 2 billion gallons of ethanol blending obligations between 2016 and 2017. Furthermore, he refused to reallocate those blending obligations to other refiners, as called for under the law, and failed to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round despite the fact it is a priority for the President. EPA's broken promises and abuse of the RFS compel Acting Administrator Wheeler to repair the damage by reallocating the blending obligations and finalizing a legally-defensible rule to allow E15 use year-round before June 1.
"During his recent confirmation hearing, Acting Administrator Wheeler assured Environment and Public Works committee members that EPA is 'still on schedule to issue a final rule allowing year-round E15 sales' but added there 'may be a slight delay' due to the recent government shutdown. The shutdown is not a credible excuse for a delay in the E15 rulemaking. In fact, recent history proves the Trump Administration can expedite high-priority rulemakings.
"Take for example the USDA newly-proposed work requirements for recipients of supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits. In December, as Congress was negotiating the Farm Bill, the Senate insisted that House conferees drop new food stamp work requirements from the final legislation. In response, to secure enough Republican votes in the House of Representatives to pass the Farm Bill conference report, USDA put forward a rulemaking to impose the work requirements through executive action. The Farm Bill conference report was adopted by Congress on December 12. The President waited to sign the Farm Bill until December 20, the same day USDA published the SNAP work requirement rulemaking.
"In just eight days USDA was able to issue a rule at the direction of the President to fulfill a promise to Republicans in the House of Representatives. It has been more than 100 days since the President Directed EPA to initiate a rulemaking to allow E15 use year-round. What is taking EPA so long to act? There is no better way to guarantee the RVP rule and reallocation of refinery waivers are addressed than by insisting Mr. Wheeler provide tangible evidence of his intentions on these issues prior to voting to confirm him.
"The RVP rule is particularly time-sensitive. Under EPA's existing and outdated RVP regulations, E15 cannot be sold in most areas of the country from June 1 to September 15, leaving just four short months from today to complete the rulemaking process. Unfortunately, EPA needlessly
plans to combine the RVP rule with reforms to the way Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) are handled under the RFS. RIN reforms are highly-controversial among oil refiners so EPA's proposal will likely pit refiners against each other, causing a protracted dispute. If RIN reforms prevent EPA from finishing the RVP rule by June 1, it will result in another summer that E15 cannot be sold in many parts of the country when fuel demand is at its peak. Acting Administrator Wheeler should be encouraged to decouple RIN reforms from the RVP rule to ensure E15 can be offered for sale by June 1." (signed) Brian Jennings, CEO
American Coalition for Ethanol. (Source: ACE, 29 Jan., 2019)Contact: American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, Ron Lamberty, VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News ANdrew Wheeler, American Coalition for Ethanol, Andrew Wheeler, Ethanol.Ethanol Blend,
But environmentalists say that burning trees releases CO2 previously trapped inside the plant. And when forests are cleared to produce energy, it can take them decades to regrow, if they ever do. The result is a power source that can generate more carbon dioxide emissions than the coal it is sometimes meant to replace.
On the down side, the EPA's own science advisers have warned that assuming biomass emissions are carbon neutral "is inconsistent with the underlying science."
The federal agencies joint letter is in response to a provision Congress added to a spending bill directing federal agencies to establish policies that "reflect the carbon neutrality of forest biomass for energy production." Even before that directive, under former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency declared that it generally considered burning biomass for energy as carbon neutral.
The EPA has also proposed giving utilities credit for cutting carbon dioxide emissions when they replace some coal in power plants with biomass -- a substitution that would qualify as an efficiency upgrade under the EPA's proposed relaxation of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity.
(Source: HoumaToday, Herald, Various Media, Nov., 2018)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Neutral, Biomass, Woody Biomass,
The plan would have boosted the renewable fuel blending obligation from 10.88 pct to 11.76 pct to offset volumes lost under the waiver program, which has been expanded sharply under Scott Pruitt's tenure at the EPA.
The idea was apparently aimed at assuaging the U.S. corn lobby which has accused Trump's EPA of undermining the demand for biofuels like corn-based ethanol through the waiver program, but was scrapped amid intense protest from the refining industry, according to the Reuters report.
The "hardship" exemptions representing some 2.25 million gallons worth of biofuel were granted for 2017 and 2016, including waivers covering 1.46 million compliance credits (RINS). The EPA projected some 8.18 billion gallons of gasoline and 5.44 billion gallons of diesel produced by small refiners would be exempt from the requirements in 2019, according to the EPA.
As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: EPA, Manitoba Co-oporator, Various Media, Reuters, 12 July, 2018)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel Blend, RFS, Pruitt, Renewable Fuel Standard, "Hardship" Waiver,
" It's time to turn the page on the disastrous demand destruction practices of Scott Pruitt and start a new chapter." -- Kyle Gilley, POET Snr. VP External Affairs , Communications
More Low-Carbon Energy News POET news, Pruitt news, E15 news,
" Your courage, steadfastness and resolute commitment to get results for the American people, both with regard to improved environmental outcomes as well as historical regulatory reform, is in fact occurring at an unprecedented pace and I thank you for the opportunity to serve you and the American people in helping achieve those ends.
That is why it is hard for me to advise you I am stepping down as Administrator of the EPA effective as of July 6. It is extremely difficult for me to cease serving you in this role first because I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity, but also, because of the transformative work that is occurring. However, the unrelenting attacks on me personally, my family, are unprecedented and have taken a sizable toll on all of us.
"My desire in service to you has always been to bless you as you make important decisions for the American people. I believe you are serving as President today because of God's providence. I believe that same providence brought me into your service. I pray as I have served you that I have blessed you and enabled you to effectively lead the American people. Thank you again Mr. President for the honor of serving you and I wish you Godspeed in all that you put your hand to.
in their action, the plaintiffs claim the federal agency, led by the increasingly controversial Trump appointee Scot Pruitt, awarded the waivers to two refineries owned by HollyFrontier Corp. and the Wynnewood Refining Co., a subsidiary of Carl Icahn's CVR Refining, without publishing the actions in the Federal Register and that the refineries were profitable and did not qualify for the waivers.
As previously reported, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance.
(Source: Various Media, NewsOK, 31 May, 2018)Contact: RFA, Bob Dinneen, Pres., (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; National Corn Growers Association, Kevin Skunes, Pres., (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Hardship Waiver, National Corn Growers Association, RFA, EPA Scott Pruitt, RFS,
Coleman says the RFS renewable fuel obligation rule for 2019 is expected out soon but if the waivers keep getting granted, then the numbers called for in that rule don't mean anything because refiners aren't held accountable to them. (Source: Advanced Biofuels Business Council, May, 2018) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Business Council, Brooke Coleman, Exec. Dir., www.advancedbiofuels.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Business Council , EPA, Pruitt, RFS,
"I'm done playing around. I've supported Pruitt but if he pushes changes to RFS that permanently cut ethanol by billions of gallons he will have broken Trump's promise and should step down and let someone else do the job of implementing Trump's (biofuel) agenda. Trump was elected with an agenda; Pruitt was not elected," Grassley said.
Grassley's position is in response to growing farm-state frustration with the EPA's management of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compelling refiners to use biofuel such as corn-based ethanol. Iowa is a top producer of both corn and ethanol.
(Source: Wallaces Farmer, Others, Bloomberg, 17 May, 2018)
Contact: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R), www.grassley.senate.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Grassley, Scott Pruitt, Biofuels,
"ABFA members are concerned that Administrator Scott Pruitt is granting these exemptions in an arbitrary and capricious manner to undisclosed parties behind closed doors with no accountability for its decision-making process," Michael McAdams, the head of the trade group, said in a statement.
(Source: Advanced Biofuels Association, Reuters, May, 2018) Contact: Advanced Biofuels Association, Michael McAdams, Pres., www.advancedbiofuelsassociation.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News Advanced Biofuels Association, RFS, Renewable Fuel Standard, Scott Pruitt,
The biofuels producers allege that EPA Administrator Pruitt has repeatedly and relentlessly sought ways to subvert Trump's RFS promises and to undermine, if not destroy, the RFS program. "His anti-RFS actions must be put to an end because today Scott Pruitt is essentially making a liar out of President Trump," the group said.
(Source: IRFA, Spokesman-Review, Various Media, 6 April, 2018)Contact: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Monte Shaw, Exec. Dir., (515) 252-6249, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://iowarfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Pruitt, Renewable Fuels, Biofuel, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, RFS, Ethanol, Biofuel,
The legal challenge includes New York State, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Vermont and Iowa, as well as the District of Columbia and the city of Chicago. (Source: Guam Daily Post, Reuters, Others, 6 April, 2018)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane, Methane Emissions, EPA, Pruitt,
"Apple is committed to leaving the world better than we found it. Part of our commitment is to reduce our own impact on climate change by using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in our products and facilities. However, we believe that governments, as well as industry leaders, must take a lead role in the global battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. For a number of reasons, EPA should not repeal the Clean Power Plan."
According to Apple, adopting the plan would help the US become a global leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Apple adds that its own efforts have shown that the CPP's targets are achievable without negatively impacting reliability or resiliency.
In 2016, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft filed a joint brief to the Supreme Court supporting the CPP and its goals. (Source: Apple, April, 2018)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,
"There's some things on the trading platform I think should happen no matter what. There seems to be a hoarding of RINs which inflates the price of RINs. Some have talked about limiting the participants who buy and sell, so you can get away from some of the speculation that's taking place," Pruitt told the Houston Chronicle.
Reforming the RINs program has been a top request of refiners and their allies in recent months, particularly after a major Philadelphia refiner declared bankruptcy in January, blaming RIN costs.
Pruitt also told the Houston Chronicle he supports letting fuel stations sell higher ethanol blends in the summer than they are currently allowed to, but only if such a change can withstand legal challenges. (Source: US EPA, Houston Chronicle, The Hill, 12 Mar., 2018)
Contact: EPA Scott Pruitt, www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt; www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-administrator
More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol, RINs, RFS, Scott Pruitt,
"Rural America supported President Trump last year, now we need the President to support rural America. Supporting policy changes that undermine the RFS will hurt farmers, renewable fuel plant workers, and rural America. Mismanagement of a single refinery should not be used as an excuse for undoing ten-years of sound policy," said National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) President Kevin Skunes in a statement.
The NCGA, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Wheat Growers Association, National Sorghum Growers Association and National Farmers Union all signed the letter which was also sent to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.
The letter notes that while some refiners, including the one that filed bankruptcy, say Renewable Identification Number's (RINs) cause financial hardship, last year the EPA investigated the issue and found they were "not causing economic harm to refiners." (Source: NCGA, AGPRO, 26 Feb., 2018) Contact: NCGA, (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, Trump, National Corn Growers Association, RINS,
"We need to get some accountability in the RIN market. There is a lot of speculation that goes on with respect to RINs, there are enforcement issues, fraud that occurs ... there is a lot to be done to get accountability and reform in the RIN market.
"Whether or not the EPA can take action to allow sales of E15 year-round. In the past, the EPA has said they could not issue a Reid Vapor Pressure, or the tool used to measure the evaporative emissions of fuel, for E15 for the summer months. Meaning, the fuel couldn't be sold during that time." -- US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt commenting on Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) associated costs and their impact on
a recent Philadelphia refinery bankruptcy.
More Low-Carbon Energy News Scott Pruitt, RFS, RINs, Ethanol, Biofuel,
Highlights of APCC communication include: " Climate change has emerged as the greatest environmental threat facing our (Cape Cod) region's natural resources, economy and human population. Cape Cod communities are already experiencing worsening impacts from sea level rise, coastal erosion and an increase in frequency and severity of coastal storms associated with a changing climate.
"Electrical power plants fired by fossil fuels are responsible for 31 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. -- the single largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the nation. Any effort to effectively reduce the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change must include a substantial reduction in power plant emissions levels. The Clean Power Plan would achieve that objective.
"Issuance of the Clean Power Plan by the EPA in 2015, with its requirement for significant reductions in CO2 pollution emissions from power plants, has been the most important step to date taken by the U.S. to address climate change. Implementation of the CPP would set our nation on the right track toward mitigating climate change and its impacts, and it would secure the U.S.'s position as a responsible global partner in the effort to control CO2 emissions.
"The EPA has a legal requirement under the Clean Air Act -- requirement that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court -- to regulate CO2 as a pollutant that endangers human health. Repeal of the CPP would be in direct conflict with the EPA's charge to protect the nation's environment and the health of its citizens, a responsibility entrusted to the agency since its establishment in 1970." (Source: Association to Preserve Cape Cod, CapeCodToday, 10 Jan., 2018) Contact: Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Andrew Gottlieb, Exec. Dir., (508) 619-3185, www.apcc.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan, EPA, Clean Power Plan, Pruitt,
"The increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect. Our ability to predict that effect is very limited." -- US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson
"I would not agree that [carbon dioxide] is a primary driver to the global warming that we see." -- US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
When asked whether carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate change: "No. Most likely the primary control knob is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in." (Climate change is) "one contrived phony mess." -- US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry
"We don't know definitively, in my opinion, what is causing climate change." -- US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue
"An invisible, harmless trace gas in the Earth's atmosphere, CO2 is a plant food." -- Kathleen Hartnett White, Trump Nominee to lead the Council on Environmental Quality
"I'm still open-minded. Nobody really knows. Look, I'm somebody that gets it, and nobody really knows. It's not something that's so hard and fast. I do know this: Other countries are eating our lunch." -- U.S. President-elect Donald Trump discussing climate change.
More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change, Donald Trump,
Obama's rule aimed to cut carbon levels 32 pct below 2005 levels by 2030. Under Trump, the EPA is expected to do little more than consider coal plant efficiency upgrades which would do little to curb emissions.
(Source: Politico, Twitter, 5 Jan., 2018) Contact: EPA Scott Pruitt, www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt; www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-administrator
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA, Scott Pruitt, , Obama Clean Power Plan, Carbon Emissions,
The proposed changes were widely opposed by farm-state legislators and ethanol producers.
The EPA's formal declaration satisfies EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's pledge to retain the current structure of the RFS requiring refiners and importers to blend biofuels into petroleum transportation fuels.
Refiners are reportedly affected unevenly by the current mandate -- those without sufficient infrastructure to blend in biofuels themselves must instead buy credits to comply while other companies that blend transportation fuels, but do not own refineries and therefore are not required to satisfy annual biofuel quotas, can sell those tradable credits.
(Source: EPA, Industry Week, Bloomberg, 23 Nov., 2017)
Contact: Valero Energy, (800) 324-8464, www.valero.com; EPA Scott Pruitt, www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt; www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-administrator
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, EPA, Scott Pruitt, Valero, Point of Obligation,
"The cost of compliance to this regulation puts at risk these energy-sector jobs in our region. In addition, these high costs also contribute to the cost of gasoline for residents and consumers," the legislators claim.
The legislators note the EPA has legal authority under the Clean Air Act to waive the renewable obligations “should they present a harm to a state or regional economy."
(Source: NJ Spotlight, Various Media, 17 Nov., 2017)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard, Ethanol Blend, RINs, Ethanol,
According to the Sierra Club complaint, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is not submitting the required reports on the environmental and resource conservation impacts of the Energy Independence and Security Act's Renewable Fuel Standard program and has failed to complete the required "anti-backsliding" study to determine whether vehicle and engine air pollutant emissions changes, resulting from the Program's renewable fuel volumes, adversely impact air quality". the complaint says.
The Sierra Club says it sent a letter to Pruitt on February 23, informing him that he wasn't performing his duty in regard to the RFS program.
The Sierra Club seeks a declaration that Pruitt and the EPA have violated federal law, and an order compelling them to file the overdue reports.
(Source: Sierra Club, 20 Oct., 2017) Contact: Sierra Club, Devorah Ancel, Oakland, California Office, www.sierraclub.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, Biofuel Blend, Scott Pruitt, Sierra Club, ,
reportedly said "The administration essentially had no choice but to relent because Iowa senators were threatening to hold nominees hostage until they got their way," Stephen Brown, Head of federal affairs for petroleum refining company Andeaver, reportedly said. According to Iowa senator Chuck Grassley (R), was a matter of the president keeping his campaign promise.
(Source: Bloomberg, Various Media, AXIOS, 19 Oct., 2017)
More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA , Scott Pruitt, RFS, Ethanol Blend, Ethanol,
Editor's Note In broad strokes, it may be worth noting that fossil fuels -- coal, natural gas and oil -- receive approximately $7.40 for every $1.00 in subsidies paid to the renewables -- wind,solar, bioenergy -- sector, according to the U.S Office of Management and Budget. So where's the unfair edge?
(Source: Scott Pruitt, Various Media, ZME Science, 10 Oct., 2017)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy SubsidiesRenewables, Wind, Solar, Bioenergy, Scott Pruitt,
"Gutting biodiesel under the Renewable Fuel Standard would bring an Iowa manufacturing success story to its knees, deal a blow to an already struggling farm economy, and shake the state economy. This is a major issue for the Midwest and U.S. agriculture, and we implore President Trump to stop his EPA administrator (Scott Pruitt) from forsaking this driver of American jobs, all in an apparent move to appease the oil industry.
"The market is already reacting to this impending blow. Commodity prices crashed on the news of EPA's indicated plans to cut biodiesel. We were already in the midst of a downturn in the ag economy, with many farmers in the red for the fourth year in a row. We have excess feedstock capacity due to a surplus of corn and soybeans on the market, which has lowered commodity prices. Gutting the RFS would exacerbate farmer struggles and could push us deeper into an agriculture recession. It could also cost thousands of Iowans their jobs as plants are forced to make cutbacks and even shutter their doors. We do not believe this is what President Trump wants for rural communities.
"Here in Iowa, many of us feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football as Lucy pulls it away. We have stood on the edge of expansion. Many of our plants have already spent millions of dollars on expansion, based on the promise of a growing RFS, and others have had further growth planned. This would mean more jobs, more dollars circulating through Iowa's communities, and more American manufacturing. We have the capacity to achieve this, but it is at a standstill."
(Source: Iowa Biodiesel Board, 2 Oct., 2017) Contact: Iowa Biodiesel Board, Grant Kimberley, Director, (866) 683-4172, www.iowabiodiesel.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Iowa Biodiesel Board , RFS, EPA,
According to the ASA, "The EPA and the administration are missing an easy opportunity to help the agriculture and rural economy. …An increase of biomass-based diesel volume requirements to 2.5 billion gallons in 2019 and the advanced biofuels volumes to 4.75 billion gallons in 2018 is achievable and warranted.
"Since 1980 U.S. soybean farmers have increased production by 96 pct while using 8 pct less energy, land use per ton of soybean production has decreased by 35 pct and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 41 pct per ton," the ASA added.
According to ASA modeling, additional soybean supplies will support the increased biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels volume levels while feedstock prices will be less than their five-year average.
(Source: American Soybean Association , Sept., 2017)
Contact: American Soybean Association, Ron Moore, Pres., (314) 576-1770, www.soygrowers.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News American Soybean Association , Biodiesel,
The EPA fuel waiver will make it easier for gasoline and diesel supplies to be distributed by relaxing Clean Air Act regulations that require special blends be made available to meet state-specific emission requirements.
Current EPA emission rules don't allow for E15 to be blended in the summer because of its high fuel volatility and pressure rating. The new waiver relaxes those requirements for reformulated gasoline and low volatility gasoline through Sept. 15, opening up an opportunity to sell more E15 from the Gulf Coast to the Mid-Atlantic.
(Source: RFA, Washington Examiner, 30 Aug., 2017)
Contact: RFA, Geoff Cooper, Snr. VP, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News E15, Ethanol Blend, RFA, Fuel Emissions , EPA, Scott Pruitt,
"While EPA's August 26 waiver of certain reformulated gasoline (RFG) and Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) requirements was a welcome step, it is not delivering meaningful relief from escalating gasoline prices in Texas and across the rest of the country. Specifically, RFA is asking EPA to relax the RVP limits to 10 psi for all finished gasoline blended with ethanol in conventional and RFG areas nationwide, through Sept. 15. In effect, this could be achieved by specifying that gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol by volume qualifies for the "special provisions for alcohol blends" found in 40 C.F.R. 80.27(d) (i.e., the 1.0 psi "waiver" for 9 -- 10 pct ethanol blends.
"In the days since EPA issued the August 26 fuel waiver, market conditions have worsened and supply shortages are expected to be more severe than previously thought. Gasoline futures prices have surged nearly 10 percent since August 24, 2017, the day before Hurricane Harvey made landfall.
"It is being broadly reported that at least 10 percent of the nation's refining capacity has been shuttered as a result of the hurricane, and analysts now expect further price surges in the wake of hurricane-related refinery and terminal outages. In addition, both offshore and onshore drilling rigs have been idled, leading to lower crude oil production and tighter supplies for refineries in the weeks ahead.
"The action we are requesting would significantly enhance flexibility for blenders and refiners and help alleviate the logistical challenges and shortfalls that are causing gas prices to spike. Relaxing RVP requirements to 10.0 psi nationwide would immediately allow gasoline blenders to produce fuel that complies with EPA regulations using any available gasoline blendstock on the market. It would also immediately allow blenders to use up to 15 percent ethanol by volume in all finished gasoline in all areas of the country, proving a badly needed source of additional supply and helping to offset gasoline shortfalls resulting from refinery and terminal outages.
"While the waiver issued August 26, 2017, allows gasoline with less than 9 pct ethanol by volume to qualify for the
special provisions for alcohol blends requirement (i.e., the 1 psi waiver for E10), it
did not allow blends containing up to 15 percent to qualify for the provision. Extending this temporary waiver to 15 percent ethanol blends would greatly assist in alleviating current price spikes and
supply crunches." (Source: RFA, 28 Aug., 2017) Contact: RFA, Bob Dinneen, Pres., CEO,(202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Association, RFS, Ethanol Blend,
The letter calls for EPA Administrator Pruitt to reverse course on a proposal that would undercut "the next American manufacturing wave" by "looking backwards" in setting 2018 goals and issuing waiver credits that suppress demand for cellulosic fuels.
Download the letter
HERE. (Source: Biotechnology Innovation Organization, 22 Aug., 2017) Contact: Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Bret Erikson, VP, Paul Winters, 202-962-9237, www.bio.org, www.biotech-now.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuels Standard, Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Biofuel, ,
In June, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought a two-year pause on the new methane rule so the agency could "look broadly" at regulations and "review their impact" with the end view of abolishing the Obama era legislation.
"Today's issuance of the mandate by the full D.C. Circuit protects families and communities across America under clean air safeguards that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt sought to unlawfully tear down," said Peter Zalzal, lead attorney for the Environmental Defense Fund, one of the groups that challenged the EPA.
(Source: Newsmax, EDF, Various Others, , EPA, 1 Aug., 2017)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane, Scott Pruitt, Methane Emissions,
The proposal would require refiners use 19.24 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2018, down from the 19.28 billion gallons required in 2017 and about 25 pct lower than the target Congress outlined in 2007. The RFS statue envisions blending 26 billion gallons of biofuel into the fuel supply in 2018. EPA's proposal maintains the 2017 blending requirements for both conventional, corn-based ethanol and biomass diesel but lowers targets for cellulosic and advanced biofuels.
According to an agency statement, its proposed volumes for 2018 are "consistent with market realities."
Biofuel groups generally support the EPA's 2018 target for corn-based ethanol, but call for the mandate for other biofuels to be increased.
(Source: EPA, The Hill, Various Others, 5 July, 2017)
More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Fuel Standard , Biofuel, Biofuel Blend, EPA, Scott Pruitt,
The coalition's notice to the EPA cited the agency's failure to fulfill its obligation under the Clean Air Act to control methane emissions from existing oil and natural gas sources and for "unreasonably delaying" the issuance of such controls. It also argues that EPA's failure to act since September 2015 to issue controls on methane emissions from existing sources in the oil and gas industry violates the EPA's non-discretionary duty under the Clean Air Act and is an unreasonable delay in setting such controls.
Last week, a coalition of 14 states filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against EPA's actions halting regulation of methane emissions from new sources in the oil and gas industry. In February, a coalition of seven attorneys general and two environmental agencies urged U.S. Senate leadership to oppose a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal a rule regulating methane emissions from oil and gas operations on public lands.
Illinois AG Madigan has also condemned federal executive's attempt to eliminate the Clean Power Plan and opposed the drastic budget cuts proposed for the EPA. (Source: Office of Illinois Attorney General, 29 June, 2017) Contact: Office of Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, (312) 814-3400, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane, Clean Power Plan,
"Today, in most parts of the country, retailers are now allowed to sell E-15 in the summer months. That's because EPA has refused to update a regulation regarding evaporative emissions for fuel. E-15 is the cleanest fuel approved for most cars on the road today. We all know we're sitting on surplus stocks of corn today and low corn prices. So at the end of the day, this is about increasing demand for corn and providing a valuable market for farmers," says ACE.
Brian Jennings, Executive VP of the coalition, says the top priority for his group is having the EPA revise emissions standards to allow E-15 and higher ethanol blends to be sold year round. Jennings says the EPA should also update the life cycle analysis of corn ethanol, reevaluate the EPA's interpretation of the Clean Air Act and streamline the approval process for higher octane fuel blends.
Read the complete ACE comments
HERE. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol, April 12, 2017) Contact: ACE, Brian Jennings, Exec. VP, (605) 334-3381, https://ethanol.org
More Low-Carbon Energy News American Coalition for Ethanol , Ethanol,
Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt) responds to Pruitt:
"I wish I could come up with another word -- it is pathetic, that that is the position of the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
You have the head of the Environmental Protection Agency who denies ... reality in face of overwhelming scientific evidence. Not only is it sad, it is a real threat to the well-being of this country and the world." -- Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt) responds to Pruitt
More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions, Climate Change,
President Trump has said he supports the RFS, and his EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, has committed to enforcing it. Pruitt previously expressed his concern about the impact of a high-volume mandate.
Notable quote from Scott Pruitt:
"The American People are tired of seeing billions of dollars drained from our economy due to unnecessary EPA regulations, and I intend to run this agency in a way that fosters both responsible protection of the environment and freedom for American businesses."
(Source: The Hill Blog, Various Media, 1 Mar., 2017)
More Low-Carbon Energy News US EPA, Scott Pruitt, RFS, Ethanol, Biofuel, ,
"We congratulate Pruitt on his confirmation as Administrator of the EPA. We look forward to working with him to carry out President Trump's strong commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the issues crucial to the success of the American ethanol industry.
"America's ethanol producers and supporters were instrumental in helping bring President Trump into the White House and are counting on his leadership to protect home-grown domestic energy security.
"We are confident that Administrator Pruitt and his team recognize the important role the ethanol industry plays in supporting American jobs, fostering a vibrant rural economy, and giving American consumers access to 21st Century fuels for their 21st Century vehicles." (Source: Growth Energy, 20 Feb., 2017) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, CEO, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org
LC Energy Editor's Note: Pruitt is widely reported to have close links to the oil industry and has sued the EPA 14 times on behalf of oil and gas interests based in his state. He has also issued more than 50 press releases celebrating lawsuits to overturn EPA standards.
A 2014 investigation by the New York Times found that energy lobbyists drafted letters for then Oklahoma Attorney General Pruitt to sign and send, on state stationery, to the EPA opposing the agency's environmental rules. Many of the coal, oil and gas companies represented by those lobbyists were also among Pruitt's largest campaign contributors.
At Pruitt's confirmation hearings earlier this month, he conceded he could not think of a single EPA regulation he supported. According to Ken Cook, Environmental Working Group, "There has never been a nominee for EPA administrator opposed so strongly by environmental and public health advocates, scientists, and hundreds of current and former EPA officials."
"The USDA has had little contact with Trump's transition team since the election, which is concerning since the USDA employs around 95,000 people, has 3,000 offices, a $155 billion budget and worldwide impact. There has been one person, one person, coming to USDA, and he lasted about an hour. I had already started my own briefing by now. I had massive three-ring binders, reading about the programs," Vilsak said.
"So to date, there has been no transition team. No groups of people up on that fifth floor looking at all this stuff, making sure they understand what they're getting into," Vilsack added. (Source: US Sec. of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, Des Moines Register, 23 Dec., 2016) Contact: USDA, Tom Vilsack, www.usda.gov
More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA, Tom Vilsack, RFS,
Pruitt, a lawyer and former Oklahoma state senator (R), is thought to have "oil connections" is an outspoken critic of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and supported the EPA's 2013 decision to lower renewable volume obligations in the RFS. He also led a number of states in filing one of many lawsuits against EPA challenging the WOTUS rule as an unconstitutional power grab.
Pruitt apparently beat-out another Republican, Myron Ebell, for the top EPA slot, as reported on November 11th. Ebell is known for his position that human-activity related global warming is "modest" and could actually be "beneficial."
Mr. Ebell, although carrying no science credentials, is a graduate of the London School of Economics. He is also Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Washington-headquartered Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian advocacy group.
(Source: DTN, Various Media, 7 Dec., 2016)
Contact: E. Scott Pruitt, (405) 521-3921, www.ok.gov/oag/Contact_the_AG/; President-elect Donald Trump, (212) 832-2000, twitter.com/realDonaldTrump, www.facebook.com/DonaldTrump, www.trump.com
More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS, EPA, Donald Trump,