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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  RFS,  


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,  


DOE Invests $56Mn in Coal Technology Projects (R&D, Funding)
US DOE,DOE Office of Fossil Energy
Date: 2019-09-23
The U.S. DOE is announcing 32 winners for $56.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared R&D projects for advanced coal technologies and research under six separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The projects further the (Trump) Administration's commitment to strengthening clean coal technologies and cover a range of topics, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage; rare earth element recovery; coal to products; crosscutting coal R&D; steam turbine efficiency; and advanced materials. The awards are as follows:
  • $10 million for ten projects under DE-FOA-0001992, Maximizing the Coal Value Chain. The projects will develop innovative uses of domestic coal for upgraded coal-based feedstocks used to produce power and make steel and for producing high-value products from coal or coal by-products.

  • $11.9 million under DE-FOA-0001996, Advancing Steam Turbines for Coal Boilers. The two projects selected under this FOA seek to improve the performance of steam-based power cycles, resulting in lower cost electricity with reduced emissions per megawatt-hour from coal fueled boilers.

  • $9.3 million for ten projects under DE-FOA-0002001, Crosscutting Research for Coal-Fueled Power Plants. This effort supports DOE's Crosscutting Research Program, which develops technologies that can be applied to a range of fossil energy uses.

  • $5 million under DE-FOA-0002002, Advanced Materials for High-Efficiency, Flexible and Reliable Coal-Fueled Power Plants. DOE selected five projects to support its Crosscutting Research program, which fosters the development and deployment of innovative systems for improving efficiency and environmental performance.

  • 3 projects will receive up to $15 million under DE-FOA-0002003, Process Scale-Up and Optimization/Efficiency Improvements for Rare Earth Elements (REE) and Critical Materials (CM) Recovery from United States Coal-Based Resources.

  • 2 projects will receive $5.3 million under DE-FOA-0001998, Transformational Sensing Systems for Monitoring the Deep Subsurface. This award seeks to reduce uncertainty of and enable real-time decision-making associated with subsurface carbon dioxide (CO2) storage. The selected projects support DOE's Carbon Storage Research Program by improving characterization and prediction of subsurface fluid movement and enhancing real-time measurement of critical subsurface properties.

    DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)will manage the selected projects. (Source: US DOE, 20 Sept., 2019) Contact: US DOE Office of Fossil Energy, www.energy.gov/fe; NETL, www.netl.doe.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Office of Fossil Energy,  NETL,  Coal,  Clean Coal,  US DOE,  


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

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


    Is China Scraping Its Ethanol Program (Int'l. Report)
    China Ethanol
    Date: 2019-09-20
    According to Agricensus, China's corn reserve is reportedly down from 211 million metric tonnes earlier this year to 56 million metric tonnes following its 4th consecutive annual auction to cut back on the overwhelming stocks and help regulate its domestic corn price.

    The sudden plunge is also spurring Trade floor rumors that China is planning to scrap its 2020 ethanol mandate because of the low stocks. The implication being that China won't be in the market for U.S. ethanol unless the Trump administration works out a trade deal and ends its trade war with China. (Source: RFD TV, 18 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  China Ethanol,  


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

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


    Utilities Coalition Challenging Trump's ACE Plan (Ind. Report)
    Power Companies Climate Coalition
    Date: 2019-09-18
    Reuters is reporting New York-based Con Edison and eight other U.S. utilities -- the Power Companies Climate Coalition -- have filed a legal challenge to the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Trump's plan replaces the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan that would have cut power plant carbon emissions by more than a third from 2005 levels by 2030 by virtually eliminating coal-fired power production.

    According to the filing, Trump's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule undermines efforts already under way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure and energy efficiency and other clean technologies.

    ACE allows states three years to devise their own plans to cut emissions mainly by encouraging coal-fired power plants to improve efficiency.

    The coalition members include: Con Edison, Exelon Corp, National Grid, PG&E Corp, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Seattle City Light, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and New York Power Authority. (Source: Con Edison, Guardian, Reuters, 16 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Power Companies Climate Coalition,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  Affordable Clean Energy Plan ,  


    Siouxland Energy Shuttering Iowa Ethanol Plant (Ind. Report)
    Siouxland Energy ,Plymouth Energy
    Date: 2019-09-16
    In the wake of Plymouth Energy's ethanol plant shutdown in August, Siouxland Energy, a farmer-owned cooperative in Sioux Center, Iowa, is reporting its board of directors has "decided to halt production."

    The shutdown is being blamed on the Trump Administration's waivers so ethanol doesn't have to be blended in gasoline produced at what the board said were "many large oil refineries." According to Siouxland Energy, the actions have "unfairly" benefited the oil industry at the expense of farmers and, "if not addressed soon, will impact the livelihoods of many." (Source: Siouxland Energy, Des Moines Register, 16 Sept., 2019)Contact: Siouxland Energy Cooperative, 712-722-4904, www.siouxlandenergy.com; Plymouth Energy, 712-938-2373, www.plymouth-energy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Siouxland Energy,  Plymouth Energy,  Ethanol,  


    Trump Expands on Light Bulb Standard Rollback (Notable Quote}
    Trump. EPA
    Date: 2019-09-16
    "The light bulb. People said what's with the light bulb. I said here's the story, and I looked at it. The bulb that we're being forced to use. Number one, to me, most importantly, the light's no good. I always look orange. And so do you. The light is the worst." -- Pres. Donald Trump.

    Commenting on the President's logic, Alex Young of Consequences of Sound Radio noted: "So to recap, we're killing the environment to suffice the fragile ego of a man who made himself orange because he used a garbage tanning bed and now he can't handle being called a Cheeto." (Source: Consequences of Sound Radio, 14 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  Light Bulb Efficiency Standard,  


    DOE Announces $110Mn Grant Funding for CCUS R&D (R&D Funding)
    US DOE,NETL
    Date: 2019-09-16
    The U.S. DOE Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced approximately $110 million in federal funding for cost-shared R&D projects under three funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). Approximately $75M is for awards selected under two FOAs announced earlier this fiscal year; $35M is for a new FOA.

    These FOAs further the (Trump) Administration's commitment to strengthening coal while protecting the environment. Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is increasingly becoming widely accepted as a viable option for coal-fired energy sources or gas-fired power plants and other industrial sources to lower their CO2 emissions.

    Under the first FOA award, Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) Studies for Carbon Capture Systems on Coal and Natural Gas Power Plants, DOE has selected nine projects to receive $55.4 million for cost-shared R&D. The selected projects will support FEED studies for commercial-scale carbon capture systems.

    Under the second FOA award, Regional Initiative to Accelerate CCUS Deployment, DOE selected four projects to receive up to $20 million for cost-shared R&D. The projects also advance existing R&D by addressing key technical challenges; facilitating data collection, sharing, and analysis; evaluating regional infrastructure; and promoting regional technology transfer.

    Under the new FOA, , DOE is announcing up to $35 million for cost-shared R&D projects that will accelerate wide-scale deployment of CCUS through assessing and verifying safe and cost-effective anthropogenic CO2 commercial-scale storage sites, and carbon capture and/or purification technologies. These types of projects have the potential to take advantage of the 45Q tax credit for each ton of CO2 sequestered or utilized. The credit was recently increased to $35/metric ton for enhanced oil recovery and $50/metric ton for geologic storage.

    Projects selected under this new FOA shall perform the following key activities: complete a detailed site characterization of a commercial-scale CO2 storage site (50 million metric tons of captured CO2 within a 30 year period); apply and obtain an underground injection control class VI permit to construct an injection well; complete a CO2capture assessment; and perform all work required to obtain a National Environmental Policy Act determination for the site.

    DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory NETL) will manage the selected projects. (Source: US DOE, Office of Fossil Energy, PR, 13 Sept., 2019)Contact: US DOE Office of Fossil Energy. www.energy.gov/fe/foa-2058-front-end-engineering-design-feed-studies-carbon-capture-systems-coal-and-natural-gas, www.energy.gov/fe; NETL, www.netl.doe.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News NETL,  CCS,  US DOE,  CCUS,  CO2,  Office of Fossil Energy,  


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

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

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Reuters, Various Media, 16 Sept., 2019)

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


    It's All About "The Donald" (Notable Quote)
    Trump
    Date: 2019-09-13
    (Because) "I look better in incandescent light." -- Pres. Donald Trump, 9 Sept. 2019, while speaking in Fayetteville, N.C. in answer to a question on why his administration is rolling back the Light Bulb Efficiency Standard .

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  Light Bulb Efficiency Standard,  


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


    Trump DOE Dumps Inefficient Bulbs Phase-Out (Ind. Report)
    US DOE
    Date: 2019-09-06
    The New York Times and other media are reporting the Trump administration DOE has released new rules that annul Bush-era requirements on energy-saving light bulbs. The Bush-era regulation was to come into force on Jan. 1, 2020.

    . The new rules could make less-efficient bulbs for certain fixtures more common, potentially contributing to man-made climate change by increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Politically, it's part of the Trump administration's efforts to roll back climate and other environmental regulations. Energy conservation groups are expected to mount challenges to the Trump administration's move that is widely thought to border on "senseless." (Source: US DOE, NYT, 4 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficient Light,  Energy Efficiency,  


    More Climate Change Take-Aways from "The Donald" -- Notable Quotes
    Trump
    Date: 2019-09-06
    "1. Which country has the largest carbon emission reduction? AMERICA!

    "2. Who has dumped the most carbon into the air? CHINA!

    "3. 91 pct of the world's population are exposed to air pollution above the World Health Organization's suggested level. NONE ARE IN THE U.S.A.!"

    "The Donald" was defending his administration's role in cleaning the country's air and reducing carbon emissions to address climate change which Trump, as expected, says is "fake news" and doesn't exist.

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


    Trump DOE Nixes Inefficient Bulbs Phase-Out (Ind. Report)
    DOE
    Date: 2019-09-04
    The New York Times and other media are reporting the Trump administration DOE has released new rules that annul Bush-era requirements on energy-saving light bulbs. The Bushera regulation was to come into force on Jan. 1, 2020.

    . The new rules could make less-efficient bulbs for certain fixtures more common, potentially contributing to man-made climate change by increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Politically, it's part of the Trump administration's efforts to roll back climate and other environmental regulations. Energy conservation groups are expected to mount challenges to the Trump administration's move that borders on senseless. (Source: US DOE, NYT, 4 Sept., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficient Light,  


    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,  


    Big Oil Opposes Trump's Proposed Methane Rule Rollback (Ind Report)
    EPA
    Date: 2019-08-30
    The Trump administration reports it will loosen Obama era federal rules on methane, a significant contributor to the world's greenhouse gas emissions. Although shorter-lived than CO2 and is not emitted in as large amounts, methane is roughly 80 times more damaging to the atmosphere than CO2.

    The proposed rule will reverse standards enacted under President Barack Obama that require oil and gas operations to install controls on their operations to curb the release of methane at the well head and in their transmission equipment, including pipelines, processing and storage facilities.

    Despite EPA estimates the proposed changes would save the oil and natural gas industry between $17 million and $19 million a year, Shell, Exxon, BP and other major fossil fuels players are opposing the proposed rollback and urging the current standards be kept in place. (Source: EPA, Various Media, Wash. Post, 29 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  EPA,  


    Trillium Quits Dubuque Landfill Gas Biofuel Agreement (Ind. Report)
    Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency
    Date: 2019-08-28
    In Iowa, the Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency reports Ankeny, Iowa-based Trillium, the company it contracted to capture and move CO2 from the city landfill, has pulled out of the agreement. The CO2 was to be processed into CNG for transportation fuel.

    Under the 2018 agreement, Trillium would have constructed a compression system at the landfill and paid $300,000 annually in royalties to the agency. Although several companies reportedly bid on the project, Trillium's willingness to make a capital investment was apparently a major consideration in the contract award.In withdrawing from the contract, Trillium claimed the project is "no longer economically feasible" and cited the Trump EPA's policies as the prime culprit. (Source: Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, PR, 26 Aug., 2019) Contact: Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency, 563-557-8220, www.dmaswa.org; Trillium, www.linkedin.com/company/trillium-cng?trk=guest_job_details_topcard_org_name


    More from "The Donald" -- Notable Quote
    Donald Trump
    Date: 2019-08-28
    "We're the No. 1 energy producer in the world. I'm not going to lose that wealth on dreams, on windmills, which, frankly are not working all that well." -- U.S. Pres. Donald Trump speaking at the G7 in Biarritz, France.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind,  Trump,  


    Navy Sinks Climate Change Task Force (Ind. Report)
    U.S. Navy
    Date: 2019-08-28
    The Navy Times is reporting the U.S. Navy scuttled its Obama-era Navy Task Force Climate Change in March. The task force was designed to prepare naval leadership for global shifts in sea levels, melting ice sheets and ocean temperatures. Navy officials have been quoted as saying the task force's mission was "no longer needed" (under the Trump administration?).

    While Trump downplayed, denied and generally ignored climate change, his Pentagon continued to follow a the task force's "climate change adaptation roadmap" to protect against catastrophic storms that put coastal bases at tremendous risk. For example, Naval Station Norfolk, in Virginia -- headquarters of the Atlantic Fleet -- sea levels have risen nearly 15 inches since World War I. The facility floods about 10 times annually, a number estimated to rise to 280 events per yearby the year 2100, according to a report by The Union of Concerned Scientists.

    Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and retired Marine Corp General and Trump Sec. of Defense James Mattis have warned against the possible catastrophic effects of climate change and the need to address it, relative to the military, but apparently to no avail. (Source: Navy Times, 27 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News U.S. Navy,  Climate Change,  


    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,  


    Climate Action Network Questions G7 Climate Commitment (Int'l)
    Climate Change,Climate Action Network Canada
    Date: 2019-08-26
    In its report on the recent G7 meeting, the Ottawa-based Climate Action Network, a global association of more than 1,300 climate groups, notes that the world's wealthiest countries -- including Canada -- are lagging instead of leading and need to do more in the fight against global warming.

    The report also notes Canada's current policies are consistent with global warming exceeding 4 C compared to pre-industrial levels, more than twice the stated goal of the Paris agreement of staying as close to 1.5 C as possible. The U.S. and Japan are also both in the 4 C category, while France, Italy, Germany and the UK -- the other four G7 members -- have policies consistent with more than 3 C in warming.

    The Climate Action Network ranks Canada's climate plan as having the same impact on global warming as the policies of the United States, where President Donald Trump has rejected the Paris agreement. Even so, the report applauds Canada's plan to eliminate coal as a source of electricity by 2030, the national price on pollution and the goal to stop selling combustion-engine cars by 2040. But it says all of the government plans "remain insufficient to meet Canada's targets and the Paris Agreement." Canada's current targets call for cutting emissions 30 pct of 2005 levels by 2030. (Source: Climate Action Network, Canadian Press, 24 Aug., 2019) Contact: Catherine Abreu,Exec. Dir., (855) 254-6638, nhattan@climateactionnetwork.ca, www.climateactionnetwork.ca

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Action Network,  Climate Change,  Canada Climate Change,  


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

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

    As previously noted, "hardship" waivers were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Bloomberg, 26 Aug., 2019)

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


    Trump Dumps on Auto Giants for Backing Stricter Vehicle Emissions Regulations (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Trump
    Date: 2019-08-23
    Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford would be "very disappointed if he saw his modern-day descendants wanting to build a much more expensive car, that is far less safe and doesn't work as well, because execs don't want to fight California regulators" (over vehicle emissions legislation).

    "The Legendary Henry Ford and Alfred P. Sloan, the Founders of Ford Motor Company and General Motors, are 'rolling over' at the weakness of current car company executives willing to spend more money on a car that is not as safe or good, and cost $3,000 more to consumers. Crazy! -- President "The Donald" Trump, Aug., 2019.

    Ford, GM, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen -- which interestingly was recently paid a more than $10 billion fine for deliberately skewering their vehicle emissions tests and cheating on excessive emissions levels -- have all struck a voluntary deal with California on emissions rules, defying Trump's bid to strip the state of its right to fight climate change by setting its own standards. According to California attorney general Xavier Becerra, Trump's proposed rules would create an extra 540 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gases. (Scource: City A.A., 22 Aug., 2019)

    Editor's Note: It's hard not to ask -- "When will the Trump circus end?"

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Vehicle Emissions,  Trump,  


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    "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,  


    Notable Quote -- The Donald's "Do Nothing" ACE Rule
    ACE, Affordable Clean Energy Rule
    Date: 2019-08-14
    "Without significant course correction, we are careening toward a climate disaster. (the coalition of) States and cities will fight back against this unlawful, do-nothing (Affordable Clean Energy) rule." -- Letitia James , New York Attorney General

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump,  Affordable Clean Energy Rule,  


    States, Cities Coalition Tackle Trump's ACE Rule (Ind. Report)
    Trump.Obama Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2019-08-14
    Reuters is reporting New York and California, along with 20 other states and seven cities on Tuesday sued to challenge the Trump administration EPA's replacement of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

    The suit claims the Trump Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule will prolong the country's reliance on coal power, hinder states that pursue cleaner electricity generation, will not curb rising power plant carbon emissions and will prolong the operation of dirtier coal plants. (Source: HPMG News, Various Media, Reuters 13 Aug., 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Affordable Clean Energy ruke,  ACE Rule,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  Trump,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  


    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,  ,  


    Community Responds to Climate Ready Miami Strategy (Ind Report)
    Miami Office of Resilience and Sustainability
    Date: 2019-08-05
    In the Sunshine State, the City of Miami Resilience and Sustainability Department is reporting the launch of the Climate Ready Miami strategy, a multi-year plan to address the risks of climate change, including flooding, storms, health and rising temperatures. Following a series of public meetings, the plan is expected to be released this fall.

    The public meetings are meant to educate residents and gather information the community's climate change related concerns which will be considered in determining the strategy's programs and funding priorities.

    In its initial meetings, a desire for more community education about climate change impacts and the role citizens can play in dealing with those impacts, were among the most often expressed concerns. The next seven meetings will be held over the next two months, supported with a grant from the Funders Network for Smart Growth and the Miami Foundation.

    This past May, the cities of Miami and Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County, in partnership with The Miami Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities, released Resilient305, a regional plan with more than 50 actions covering environment, infrastructure and economic prosperity. Along with Climate Ready Miami, that will give the region a path for protecting citizens from the threats of climate change, a responsibility which the Trump administration has to date seemingly downplayed and ignored. (Source: City of Miami, Various Media, Utility Dive, 1 Aug., 2019) Contact: City of Miami Office of Resilience and Sustainability, Alissa Farina, Programs Manager, www.miamigov.com/Government/Departments.../Resilience-and-Sustainability, www.miamidade.gov/planning/resilience.asp

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Climate Change Mitigation,  


    Backlash on Proposed RFS RVOs (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Renewable Fuel Standard
    Date: 2019-07-24
    "By neglecting to prospectively reallocate small refinery exemptions and blatantly ignoring a court order to restore improperly waived gallons, the EPA's proposed 2020 RVOs completely betray President [Donald] Trump's commitment to uphold the integrity of the RFS.

    "EPA's stubborn refusal to obey a court order to restore lost demand is yet another kick in the teeth to U.S. renewable fuel producers and farmers already facing the worst market conditions in a generation. EPA's suggestion that following the court's directive would place an 'additional burden' on obligated parties is an insult and an affront to the farmers and ethanol producers who trusted this administration would follow the law." -- Renewable Fuel Association (RFA), Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    "We are frustrated the EPA did not account for potential waived gallons going forward in the proposed rule. If the EPA continues to grant retroactive waivers, the RVO numbers are meaningless and the EPA is not following the law. Farmers are facing a very tough economic environment and the continued waiver abuse chips away at farmers' bottom line." -- Lynn Chrisp, Pres., National Corn Growers Association, (202) 326-0644, www.ncga.com (Source: RFA, NCGA, Various Media, EHS, 23 July, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  RVO,  RFS,  NCGA,  "Hardship Waiver",  


    Notable Quotes -- New UK PM Boris Johnson Talks Climate Change
    Climate Change
    Date: 2019-07-24
    "I can't stand this December heat, but it has nothing to do with global warming: We may all be sweating in the winter air, but remember, we humans have always put ourselves at the centre of cosmic events."

    "It is fantastic news that the world has agreed to cut pollution and help people save money, but I am sure that those global leaders were driven by a primitive fear that the present ambient warm weather is somehow caused by humanity; and that fear -- as far as I understand the science -- is equally without foundation. There may be all kinds of reasons why I was sweating at ping-pong [in December] -- but they don't include global warming."

    "As a species, we human beings have become so blind with conceit and self-love that we genuinely believe that the fate of the planet is in our hands -- when the reality is that everything, or almost everything, depends on the behaviour and caprice of the gigantic thermonuclear fireball (the sun) around which we revolve."

    "I am all for theories about climate change, and would not for a moment dispute the wisdom or good intentions of the vast majority of scientists. But I am also an empiricist; and I observe that something appears to be up with our winter weather, and to call it 'warming' is obviously to strain the language."

    "I wish I knew more about what is going on, and why. It is time to consult once again the learned astrophysicist, Piers Corbyn. Now Piers has a very good record of forecasting the weather. He has been bang on about these cold winters. Like JMW Turner and the Aztecs he thinks we should be paying more attention to the Sun. According to Piers, global temperature depends not on concentrations of CO2 but on the mood of our celestial orb." (Source: Various Media, Left Foot Forward, July, 2019)

    Editor's Note: Why do Johnson's comments sound familiar -- almost like "the Donald" Trump and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott who will be long remembered for his comment that "The science of human-caused climate change is 'CRAP."

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Tony Abbott,  


    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,  


    Politicians Prodded to Address 'Killer Heat' (Opinions & Asides)
    Climate Change,Global Warming
    Date: 2019-07-19
    Killer Heat in the United States, a recently released report from the Union of Concerned Scientist predicts a lot more days of extreme heat -- so much that they're being called "killer heat" days. The study was released in part to spur action on the part of both politicians and business leaders.

    According to the report, "The United States federal government needs to continue with the (Obama) Clean Power Plan and not dismantle it, as the current (Trump) administration is attempting to do, to significantly reduce emissions from the power sector, which accounts for roughly 40 pct of the U.S. emissions footprint."

    The UCS scientists are asking the federal government to not only wean the nation off of fossil fuels, but develop plans for people to adapt to extreme heat. "The clock is ticking to reduce emissions. If nothing is done, we may have to get ready for an unrecognizably hot future" the report says.

    To make the needed deep emissions cuts, the reports recommends the U.S. implement a suite of federal and state policies, including: an economy wide price on carbon; policies to cut transportation sector emissions, including increasing fuel economy and heat-trapping emissions standards for vehicles; increased investment in low-carbon public transportation; policies to cut buildings and industrial sector emissions; policies to increase carbon storage in vegetation and soils, including through climate-friendly agricultural and forest management practices; increased investment in emissions and climate change related R&D; measures to cut methane, nitrus oxide, and other major non-CO2 heat-trapping emissions; and policies to help a rapid transition to low-carbon economies.

    Download the Killer Heat in the United States -Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days report HERE (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, wusf Public Media, 18 July, 2019) Contact: Union of Concerned Scientists, Ken Kimmell, Pres., (617) 547-5552,

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Union of Concerned Scientists,  Climate Change,  


    Notable Quote -- Obama Clean Power Plan v.s. Trump Affordable Clean Energy Plan
    Obama Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2019-07-12
    "You can see just with that comparison (with the Obama Clean Energy Plan) that the Trump (Affordable Clean Energy) plan is actually designed to do almost nothing to deal with carbon pollution from the electric power sector.

    "It's very interesting that a rule that purports to be trying to reduce pollution -- by their own projection -- might increase it. There is a part of the proposal that would allow coal plants to update, allowing them to run longer without putting any pollution controls on. That's kind of a life extension project for coal plants.

    "So a policy that says that it's supposed to be reducing pollution actually increases it under certain projections. And I think a court might have a hard time with that and say how could this be defended as a rational plan." -- Jody Freeman, Former Obama White House Counselor for Energy and Climate Change; founder of the Harvard University Environment and Energy Law Program (Source: NPR News, 12 July, 2019)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plam news,  Trump Afordable Clean Energy Plan news,  


    Are EPA's Proposed RFS 'Obligations' Actually Just Suggestions?" asks RFA (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    RFA, RFS
    Date: 2019-07-08
    By neglecting to prospectively reallocate small refinery exemptions and blatantly ignoring a court order to restore improperly waived gallons, the U.S. EPA's proposed 2020 renewable volume obligations (RVOs) completely betrays President Trump's commitment to uphold the integrity of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

    "As long as EPA continues to dole out compliance exemptions to oil refiners without reallocating the lost volume, the agency may as well start referring to the annual RFS levels as 'renewable volume suggestions' rather than renewable volume 'obligations'. It is a complete misnomer to call these blending volumes 'obligations' when EPA's small refinery bailouts have essentially transformed the RFS into a voluntary program for nearly one-third of the nation's oil refineries.

    "In its announcement today, EPA has proposed a total renewable fuel volume of 20.04 billion gallons, of which 5.04 billion gallons are advanced biofuel, including 540 million gallons of cellulosic biofuel. That leaves, on paper, a 15-billion-gallon requirement for conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol, unchanged from 2019.

    "Most notably, EPA failed to prospectively account for any expected small refinery exemptions in the 2020 proposal, even though it is almost a foregone conclusion at this point that the Agency will continue to grant more exemptions.

    "Congress gave EPA the direction and tools necessary to ensure that the statutory RFS volumes are enforced, and that includes prospectively reallocating exempted volumes to non-exempt parties. Instead, EPA has chosen to continue its demand destruction campaign that has been crippling to both ethanol producers and the farmers who supply our industry. Enough is enough.

    "EPA approved 54 exemptions for 2016 and 2017 and an additional 38 requests for 2018 exemptions are pending. Not a single exemption request has been denied by EPA since 2015. The exemptions effectively lowered the total RFS requirement for 2017 by 1.82 billion gallons and cut the 2016 requirement by nearly 800 million gallons.

    "Making matters worse, EPA's proposal continues to flout the D.C. Circuit Court's 2017 order requiring the Agency to restore 500 million gallons of renewable fuel obligations that it inappropriately and illegally waived from the 2016 RVO. Unbelievably, the Agency is proposing to snub the court's ruling by refusing to restore the 500 million gallons remanded volume. EPA's stubborn refusal to obey a court order to restore lost demand is yet another kick in the teeth to U.S. renewable fuel producers and farmers already facing the worst market conditions in a generation. EPA's suggestion that following the court's directive would place an 'additional burden' on obligated parties is an insult and an affront to the farmers and ethanol producers who trusted this administration would follow the law. The RFS wasn't intended to make oil refiners comfortable; it was intended to change the status quo by guaranteeing renewable fuels would have access to a marketplace otherwise closed to competition.

    "EPA appears to be selling out to oil refiners -- again -- at the expense of rural America. The court found in favor of renewable fuel producers in 2017 because it was clear our industry had been harmed by EPA's illegal use of a general waiver -- now EPA is doubling down on that harm to the ethanol industry and farmers.

    "Today's proposal undermines the pledge President Trump made to farmers and renewable fuel producers that his administration would enforce the statutory RFS volumes. By failing to prospectively reallocate, failing to commit to a more judicious and restrained approach to refinery waivers, and failing to follow a court's order to restore lost demand, EPA is blatantly undercutting President Trump's commitment to ethanol, which he restated less than a month ago when he visited the Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy ethanol plant. We urge the President to resolve the disconnect between the oval office and EPA and get the RFS back on track." (Source: RFA, PR, 8 July, 2019) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFA,  RFS,  


    EPA's RFS Obligations Another Setback for American Farmers, says NFU (Ind. Report)
    RFS,EPA,National Farmers Union
    Date: 2019-07-08
    Last Friday, the EPA released its proposed renewable volume obligations (RVOs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for the year 2020. The proposal 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.

    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, 8 July, 2019) Contact: National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News "Hardship Waiver",  RFS,  National Farmers Union,  Biofuel,  Ethanol Blend,  

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