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Congress Reinstates Obama Era Methane Rule (Reg & Leg)
Methane
Date: 2021-06-28
On Friday in Washington, in a vote of 229-191, the House gave final legislative approval to a resolution that would reverse a Trump-era environmental rule that relaxed requirements of a 2016 Obama administration rule targeting methane emissions leaks and flares from oil and gas wells.

The resolution reinstating rules aimed at limiting climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas drilling now goes to the White House for President Joe Biden's signature.

Action on methane was one of just three Trump-era rules targeted by the Democratic-controlled Congress under the review law, a sharp contrast to 14 Obama-era rules repealed by congressional Republicans in the first year of the Trump administration. (Source: AP, Various Media, 26 June, 2021)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  


Obama's Methane Emissions Regulations Reinstated (Reg. & Leg.)
Obama Methane
Date: 2021-04-30
On Wed., the US Senate voted 52-42 to reinstate the Obama administration's 2019 federal limits on methane emission leaks from new and modified wells in 2016. Since 2016, Colorado and California have enacted more stringent methane emissions regulations.

The Clean Air Task Force, the Environmental Defense Fund and other environmental organizations have called on the Biden administration to pledge a 40 pct or more reduction in U.S. methane emissions by the end of the decade as part of its recommitment to the Paris Climate agreement.

On Oct. 1, 2019 we reported: The U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI) has announced its decision to ease Obama-era , 2016, regulations on methane leaks which the Trump administration describes as "burdensome on the private sector" restrictions on oil and gas industry."

Under the Waste Prevention Rule, oil and gas producing companies were required to inspect their wells twice yearly and repair reported leaks within 30 days. The rollback of the regulation means companies are no longer obliged to check their wells and equipment more often than annually and have 60 days instead of 30 to complete repairs.

Though not as long-lived as CO2, methane prevents as much as 80 pct more heat from escaping in the first 20 years of its release. Methane leaks are the largest drawback of the otherwise environmentally friendly switch from coal to natural gas as a source of energy. Natural gas releases half as much carbon dioxide when burnt.

The rationale behind Trump's rollback on methane leaks restrictions was largely economic. It is estimated that drillers would save $734 million to $1 billion over the next 10 years. (Source: Various Media, ICN, 29 Apr., 2021)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama ,  Methane Emissions,  


Apple's Green Bonds Support Renewable Energy (Ind. Report)
Apple, Green Bond
Date: 2021-03-19
IT giant Apple reports it funded 17 Green Bond renewable energy projects that avoided an average of 921,000 metric tpy of carbon emissions in 2020 as part of its planned $4.7 billion Green Bond spend. The projects will generate 1.2 GW of renewable energy globally, with Apple adding over 350 MW of newly installed renewable energy over the last year in Nevada, Illinois, Virginia, and Denmark.

In February 2016, Apple issued its first $1.5 billion Green Bond, following up with its second round of $1 billion in June 2017 after the Trump administration announcement of its intention to withdraw from the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement . In November 2019, Apple issued its third set of Green Bonds and its first in Europe, with two bonds each at €1 billion ($2.2 billion US).

Apple has invsted roughly $2.8 billion in projects that address carbon emissions. (Source: Apple, PR, Mar., 2021) Contact: Apple, www.apple com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Apple,  Renewable Energy,  Green Bond,  Carbon Emissions,  


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

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

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance (Source: US EPA, 22 Feb., 2021)Contact: RFA, www.ethanolrfa.org

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


EPA changes stand, sides with ethanol industry
EPA
Date: 2021-02-23
DES MOINES — The federal government announced Monday that it will support the ethanol industry in a lawsuit over biofuel waivers granted to oil refineries under President Donald Trump’s administration. The Environmental Protection Agency said it is reversing course and will support a January 2020 decision by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a lawsuit filed by the Renewable Fuels Association and farm groups. The lawsuit is headed to arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this spring. The appeals court concluded the EPA improperly granted exemptions to refineries that didn’t qualify. The EPA under Trump issued 85 retroactive small refinery exemptions for the 2016-2018 compliance years, undercutting the renewable fuel volumes by a total of 4 billion gallons, (15.1 billion liters) according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Roughly a month after President Joe Biden took office, his EPA reversed the federal government’s stand, saying the EPA agrees with the appeals court that the exemption was intended to operate as a temporary measure. (Source: US EPA, 22 Feb., 2021)


DOI Ordered to Consider Social Cost of Carbon (Reg & Leg)
Coal
Date: 2021-02-08
In Montana, U.S. District Judge Susan Watters has ruled the former Trump administration Dept. of Interior (DOI) put economic benefits of the 2-square-mile expansion of Spring Creek coal operation unreasonably ahead of the the "social cost of carbon" -- a dollar value on every ton of greenhouse gasses emitted -- from burning coal. The Spring Creek mine produced over 9 million tonnes of coal in 2020.

The court ruled "Federal agencies cannot ignore more accurate scientific information when it is available and The agencies) failed to fully consider the social cost of carbon on every ton of greenhouse gasses emitted." In 2017, then President Trump ordered agencies not to use social cost of carbon estimates developed at the end of the Obama administration.

On his first day in office, Biden ordered government agencies to account for damages caused by increased greenhouse gas emissions. "An accurate social cost is essential for agencies to accurately determine the social benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions when conducting cost-benefit analyses," President Biden's order noted. (Source: Rocket Miner, Various Media, AP 6 Jan., 2021)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal,  Carbon Emissions,  Social Cost of Coal,  


Climate Change Notable Quote from Former ExxonMobil CEO
ExxonMobil
Date: 2021-02-05
"Whether or not anything we do will ultimately influence it (climate change) remains to be seen. One day we'll know the answer to that, but our ability to predict the answer to that is quite complicated." -- Rex Tillerson, Former ExxonMobil CEO, former Trump administration U.S. Sec. of State, Nov., 2020

More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil news,  Climate Change news,  


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

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

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

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

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: RFA, Growth Energy, AgriNews, 30January, 2021) Contact: Growth Energy, Emily Skor, (202) 545-4000, www.growthenergy.org; RFA, Geoff Cooper, Pres., CEO, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org

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


Keystone XL Commits Net-Zero Emissions by 2023 (Ind. Report)

Date: 2021-01-20
Houston-headquartered TC Energy Corporation is reporting a new sustainable energy initiative for the Keystone XL Project. The company will achieve net zero emissions across the project operations when it is placed into service in 2023 and has committed the operations will be fully powered by renewable energy sources no later than 2030. This announcement comes after an extensive period of study and analysis, and as part of the company's ongoing commitment to sustainability, thoughtfully finding innovative ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while providing communities with reliable energy needed today.

Implementation of the initiative is expected to eliminate more than 3 million tpy of CO2 from the pipeline project's operations -- equivalent of removing approximately 650,000 cars from the highway. TC Energy is expected to spur an investment of over $1.7 billion in communities along the Keystone XL footprint creating approximately 1.6 GW of renewable electric capacity, according to the release.

By implementing this initiative, Keystone XL will allow responsibly produced Canadian oil to be safely transported into the United States from many producers who have set their own net zero emissions goals. Canadian Oil Sands producers have cut emissions intensity by 21 pct in recent years and they are expected to fall another 27 pct by 2030.

Net zero emissions will be achieved when the pipeline is placed into service by purchasing renewable energy from electricity providers the purchase of renewable energy credits (REC) or carbon offsets.

The pipeline would carry heavy Canadian tar-sands oil from Alberta to refineries and ports on the Texas Gulf of Mexico via connections in the U.S. Midwest. Former President Barack Obama had killed the $8 billion Keystone XL project saying that it would cause emissions linked to climate change and do little for U.S. drivers. President Donald Trump resurrected the 830,000 barrels-per-day project two months after taking office in 2017. Incoming Pres. Jor Biden has indicated he will kill the project almost immediately upon entering the White House. (Source: Keystone XL, PR, 17 Jan., 2021) Contact: KeystoneXL, Richard Prior,, Pres., CEO, 866-717-7473, keystone@tcenergy.com, www.keystonexl.com


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Xi Calls for G-20 Paris Climate Agreement Implementation (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
G20
Date: 2020-11-23
Addressing the G-20 Leaders at the Riyadh Summit via video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping called on the G-20 countries to take the lead in tackling climate change, follow the guidance of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and push for the full and effective implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Xi also reaffirmed China's commitment to striving to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Xi noted "China has put in place the world's biggest clean energy system, and will pursue clean, low-carbon, safe and efficient use of energy and accelerate the growth of new energy and green industries to promote greener economic and social development in all respects."

Xi added China supports deepening G-20 cooperation in reducing land degradation, conserving coral reefs, and cleaning up plastic from the ocean.

While 19 of the G20 member country leaders were listening to Xi, the soon-to-be former U.S. President Donald Trump was tweeting and playing golf! Enough is Enough. (Source: G20, MINT, Various Media, 23 Nov., 2020)Contact: G20, www.g20.org; UNFCCC, Monique Nardi, mnardi@unfccc.int, www.unfccc.int

More Low-Carbon Energy News G20,  Climate Change,  Paris Climate Agreement,  UNFCCC,  


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

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

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

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

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


DOE Sued Over Energy Efficiency Standards Changes (Ind. Report)
NRDC, US DOE
Date: 2020-10-19
The NYC-headquartered Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports it has again sued the Trump administration DOE for altering its energy efficiency standards-setting process to make it more difficult to set rigorous energy-saving levels for America's appliances and equipment.

NRDC was joined by three other environmental groups and 13 states in this suit, which is closely related to an ongoing lawsuit regarding DOE's "Process Rule."

At issue is how the DOE determines whether a new energy efficiency standard is "economically justified" -- meaning that its benefits, such as consumer savings from lower utility bills, exceed its costs.

DOE is looking for ways to set weaker standards, or no standards at all as part of an ongoing pattern to weaken a critically important program. And it's illegal. Without strong efficiency standards, purchasers can't be sure the appliances they buy are not wasting energy, which can substantially increase their energy bills.

According to NRDC, these changes represent yet more attacks on the nation's highly successful energy efficiency standards program that has been saving U.S. households, on average $500 every year and will deliver $2 trillion in savings to consumers and businesses as well as help avoid 3 billion tonnes of CO2 pollution by by 2030.

This is the 130th lawsuit NRDC has filed against the Trump administration's rollbacks and efforts to undermine environmental safeguards. To date, NRDC has prevailed in 73 of the 81 cases resolved thus far. This latest lawsuit related to the Process Rule also marks the fourth time in 11 months that NRDC and other environmental and consumer groups have sued DOE over energy efficiency standards.

Meanwhile, DOE has repeatedly failed to meet its statutory requirements to update standards for appliances and equipment, having now missed 26 deadlines -- the most of any administration, according to the NRDC release. (Source: NRDC, Blog, 17 Oct., 2020) Contact: Natural Resource Defense Council, 212.727.2700, www.nrdc.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News NRDC,  Energy Efficiency,  Appliance Energy EfficiencyAppliance Energy Efficiency,  


Climate Change Notable Quote from Former ExxonMobil CEO
ExxonMobil
Date: 2020-10-07
"Whether or not anything we do will ultimately influence it (climate change) remains to be seen. One day we'll know the answer to that, but our ability to predict the answer to that is quite complicated." -- Rex Tillerson, Former ExxonMobil CEO, former Trump administration U.S. Sec. of State

More Low-Carbon Energy News ExxonMobil news,  Climate Change news,  


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

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

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

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. (Source: EPA, Feedstuffs, 17 Sept., 2020)

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


Climate Science Denier Appointed to NOAA Post (Ind. Report)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Date: 2020-09-16
The Trump administration has appointed long-time climate change skeptic David Legates to help run the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the federal agency charged with producing "much of the climate research funded" by the government.

David Russell Legates is an American climatologist and professor of geography at the University of Delaware. He is the former Director of the Center for Climatic Research at the same university and a former Delaware state climatologist. He is also known for suggesting "an outcome of burning fossil fuels would be a more habitable planet for humans" and similar comments.

Legates is affiliated with the Heartland Institute, a partially fossil fuel industry funded free-market think tank that claims human-caused climate change is not a serious threat. (Source: NPR, Various Media, NOAA, 14 Sept., 2020) Contact: NOAA, David Legates, (301) 713-1208, david.legates@noaa.gov, www.noaa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ,  


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

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

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

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


"The Donald" Tweets for Ethanol Ind. Votes -- Notable Quote
Trump
Date: 2020-09-14
"Subject only to State approval, our important Ethanol Industry will be allowed to use the 10 pct Pumps for the 15 pct BLEND. That saves tremendous amounts of money for the people in the ethanol industry. Like hundreds of millions of dollars I hear for the conversion (of pumps for E15) and there's no reason to do it." -- Pres. Donald Trump, 12 Sept., 2020)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump news,  E10 news,  E15 news,  Ethanol Blend news,  


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

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

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: Chronicle Herald, 10 Sept., 2020)

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


Ethanol Ind. Stabilization Quotes from Growth Energy CEO
Growth Energy
Date: 2020-08-28
"We have to make sure the (Trump) administration follows through on commitments that it has made. Last October, the administration made a series of commitments in terms of evaluating things like E15 labeling. An additional hurdle for us to have unfettered market access for higher blends is making sure the president has EPA follow through on its commitment to uphold a strong Renewable Fuel Standard.

"We want to be building stronger global markets with free trade. We want expansion of E15. As drivers are hitting the road again as we are recovering from Covid, there's more opportunity to get higher blends like E15. We, ultimately, want to focus on that road to recovery conversation because that's what our future is going to be all about.

"At this point, I think we may be okay. I think it will have different impacts in different areas regionally, and then certainly in the value chain. We're going to have to just wait and see. It's very disheartening to know what everybody has gone through." -- Emily Skor, Growth Energy, CEO , discussing ethanol industry stability.

More Low-Carbon Energy News Ethanol,  Growth Energy,  


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

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

As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: NBB, WNAX 26 Aug., 2020) Contact: NBB, Paul Winters, Pres., Kurt Kovarik, VP of Federal Affairs, (800) 841-5849, www.nbd.org

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


Biden Camaign Supports Renewables (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)

Date: 2020-08-03
The 2020 US Democratic presidential presumptive candidate Joe Biden's campaign has released his climate change and clean energy position with the following the following specifics:

Wind and solar energy will be increased dramatically through the installation of 500 million solar panels and 60,000 made-in-America wind turbines.

Any clean energy infrastructure financed with federal support "through the tax code" should include robust wage and labor requirements.

Editor's Note: To ensure unbiased and equal coverage to all candidates , this publication will provide detailed coverage of the incumbent Republican Donald Trump's position on clean energy and climate change if and when his position paper is released.

More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy,  


Biden Takes a Stand on Climate Change (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Climate Change
Date: 2020-07-31
The 2020 US Democratic presidential presumptive candidate Joe Biden's campaign has released the following position on clean energy and climate change:

  • Democrats commit to eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035.

  • Wind and solar energy will be increased dramatically through the installation of 500 million solar panels and 60,000 made-in-America wind turbines.

  • Any clean energy infrastructure financed with federal support "through the tax code" should include robust wage and labor requirements.

  • Fossil fuel subsidies will be repealed.

  • California's primacy in Clean Air Act regulation of cars and trucks will be recognized and protected.

  • Oil and gas methane pollution will be reduced by the application of "robust" federal standards and targeted support for repairing and replacing aging distribution systems.

  • By 2030, all new buildings will achieve the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Within five years, the Democrats will "incentivize" tens of billions of dollars in private-sector investments to retrofit the energy efficiency of four million buildings.

  • The country's entire fleet of school buses will transition to zero-emission buses to reduce harmful air pollution within five years.

  • The US will rejoin the the Paris Climate Agreement. A new Executive Order should be issued on climate and environmental Justice. There will be a strong emphasis on building environmental justice governmental institutions and practices. An environmental justice fund will be created to make "historic investments" in low-income communities, and remediating Superfund and other contaminated sites will address other issues afflicting these communities. Democrats will employ screening and mapping tools to ensure racial and socio-economic equity in federal climate, energy and infrastructure programs.

  • Fossil fuel companies will be held accountable for cleaning up abandoned mine lands ,oil and gas wells and industrial facilities so they can be safely "repurposed," especially in the coal country.

  • Innovative technologies will be advanced that create cost-effective pathways for industries to decarbonize, including carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and "advanced nuclear" that eliminates risks associated with conventional nuclear technology.

  • America's natural carbon sinks on public lands will be increased by ensuring 30 percent of our lands and waters are conserved by 2030.

  • A new "climate test" will be applied to ensure that all major domestic and international infrastructure projects that require federal approval will avoid or minimize climate impacts, including impacts from export terminals.

  • The Federal Government should be reorganized by transforming the CEQ into a Council on Climate Change; establish a new office of Environmental Justice within the Department of Justice; create an Office of Climate Mobilization in the White House; establish a White House Council on frontline Environmental Justice where community and national leaders would inform the design and execution of climate change laws, policies and programs.

    Editor's Note: To ensure unbiased and equal coverage to all candidates , this publication will provide detailed coverage of the incumbent Republican Donald Trump's position on clean energy and climate change if and when his position paper is released.

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


  • Energy Efficiency Included in Biden's Platform (Opinions & Asides)
    Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2020-07-31
    The 2020 US Democratic presumptive presidential candidate Joe Biden's position paper on clean energy and climate change includes the following energy efficiency measures:

    "By 2030, all new buildings will achieve the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. Within five years, the Democrats will 'incentivize' tens of billions of dollars in private-sector investments for energy efficiency retrofits for four million buildings."

    Editor's Note -- To ensure unbiased and equal coverage to all candidates, this publication will provide detailed coverage of the incumbent Republican Donald Trump's position on clean energy,climate change and energy efficiency if and when his position paper is ever released.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Energy Efficiency,  


    Climate Change Notable Quote from Former ExxonMobil CEO
    ExxonMobil
    Date: 2020-07-27
    "Whether or not anything we do will ultimately influence it (climate change) remains to be seen. One day we'll know the answer to that, but our ability to predict the answer to that is quite complicated." -- Rex Tillerson, Former ExxonMobil CEO, former Trump administration U.S. Sec. of State

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions news,  Climate Change news,  ExxonMobil news,  


    Notable Quote on Trump's $118Mn Carbon-Neutral Coal Commitment
    Clean Coal
    Date: 2020-07-24
    "Coal is one of our nation's most abundant natural resources and has been providing well-paying jobs and powering the US for decades. That's why, as the global energy mix evolves, we're investing in the next-generation of coal technologies that will lay the groundwork for clean, reliable 21st century coal-to-energy plants.

    "The Trump Administration sees a bright future for the new, next stage of coal."-- Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, July, 2020)

    Brouillette was commenting on the Trump Administration's $118 million Coal FIRST commitment to develop technologies to generate carbon-neutral electricity and hydrogen using coal.

    Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) plants will incorporate carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and be capable of flexible operations to meet the needs of the grid, use innovative components that improve efficiency and reduce emission and will be small compared to the current conventional utility-scale coal-fired plants. Contact: Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette www.energy.gov/contributors/dan-brouillette

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal,  Clean Coal,  


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

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

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

    Editor's Note: As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: Rep. Dusty Johnson , Mitchell Republic, 12 July, 2020) Contact: Rep. Dusty Johnson , (202) 225-2801, www.dustyjohnson.house.gov

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


    IBM Trumpets CO2 Emissions Reduction Success (Ind. Report)
    IBM,Climate Leadership Council
    Date: 2020-07-15
    IBM, a Founding Member of the Climate Leadership Council, reports it has reduced its operational CO2 emissions by 39.7 pct since 2005, well ahead of its goal of a 40 pct reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025. The company also notes 47 pct of the electricity it consumed in 2019 came from renewable sources, keeping the company on track to get 55 pct of its electricity from renewables by 2025. (Source: IBM Sustainability Report, July, 2020) Contact: IBM, www.ibm.com/us-en; Climate Leadership Council, Greg Bertelsen, www.clcouncil.org;

    More Low-Carbon Energy News IBM,  Carbon Emissions,  Renewable Energy,  Climate Leadership Council,  


    Legend Power Sys. Trumpets SmartGATE™ Installations (Ind. Report)
    Legend Power Systems
    Date: 2020-06-26
    Vancouver-based intelligent power management specialist Legend Power® Systems is reporting its 304th SmartGATE™ platform installation.

    The SmartGATE platform: decreases operating costs and improves operating income; increases uptime and lifetime of key systems and machinery; significantly contributes to corporate ESG measures and mandates; and improves tenant experience and occupancy, according to the company release.

    Collectively the installations have operated trouble-free for 2.044 million hours and saved 110.736 million kWh of energy for more than $17.7 million in energy costs savings for US and Canadian commercial buildings.

    SmartGATE Insights™ metering and analytics is available as a portable diagnostic service to scope building priorities before installation and continuing to supply detailed power analytics on an ongoing basis post-installation. Legend is also enhancing SmartGATE's overall capabilities with SmartGATE 2.0 for additional electrical savings, more detailed power quality data and improved ease of installation, the company notes. (Source: Legend Power Systems Inc., PR, 27 June, 2020) Contact: Legend Power Systems, Randy Buchamer, CEO, Steve Vanry, CFO, (6040 671-9533, svanry@legendpower.com, www.legendpower.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Legend Power Systems,  Energy Management,  Energy Efficiency ,  


    DOE Better Buildings Initiative Trumpets Success (Report Attached)
    DOE Better Buildings Initiative
    Date: 2020-06-12
    In Washington, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative 2020 Progress Report, the program has saved participants nearly $11 billion, avoid 105 million tons of CO2 emissions and cut water use by 8.5 billion gallons over the last decade.

    The program includes 32 Fortune 100 companies, 12 pct of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint and 13 pct of the nation's commercial building space. The program challenges businesses, manufacturers, cities, states, universities and school districts to improve building energy efficiency by at least 20 pct over a decade.

    Download the full report HERE. (Source: US DOE, June, 2020) Contact: US DOE, Better Buildings Initiative, www.betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News DOE Better Buildings Initiative,  Energy Efficiency,  


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


    States Challenging Trump's Clean Car Standard Rollback (Ind. Report)
    Clean Air Act
    Date: 2020-06-03
    In Sacramento, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a multistate coalition, has filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration's disastrous final rule rolling back the nation's Clean Car Standards requiring appropriate and feasible improvements in fuel economy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks.

    The Trump Administration's "misguided" Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) rule stops Clean Car Standards progress in its tracks, despite the fact that the auto industry was currently on track to meet or exceed the Clean Car Standards, according to the release.

    The coalition will argue the Trump administration's rule unlawfully violates the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and that the Trump Administration's rollback of the nation's Clean Cars Standards is unlawful because, among other things, the EPA and NHTSA's rollbacks violate the statutory text and congressional mandates they are bound by; and the EPA and NHTSA improperly and unlawfully relied on an analysis riddled with errors, omissions, and unfounded assumptions in an attempt to justify their desired result.

    In filing the lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia. The California Air Resources Board, the Cities of Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Denver, and the Counties of San Francisco and Denver also joined the coalition in filing the lawsuit. (Source: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, PR, 27 May, 2020) Contact: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Vehicle Enissions,  Mibile Emissions,  Clean Air Act,  


    "And now for something entirely different!" -- Pyongyang Recommends Charcoal Fueled Vehicles to Cut Emissions (Int'l.)
    North Korea
    Date: 2020-05-11
    In Pyongyang, in an effort to address the growing problem of vehicle emissions and air pollution, the President Donald Trump's new friend's Ministry of Land and Environment Protection has reportedly begun a wide-ranging crack down on "problematic diesel-fueled vehicles vehicles" and have implemented a ban on their importation and future operation with the exception of Cargo trucks weighing more than five tons which are considered "essential for the economy."

    The authorities also called on drivers to use alternative fuels, including the "active use of charcoal-powered vehicles." (Source: Daily NK, 7 May, 2020)

    Editor's Note: Daily NK is an online newspaper focusing on issues relating to North Korea. The site is based in South Korea where it reports stories allegedly obtained from inside North Korea via a network of informants. The service, which was established in April 2010 with staff in Washington DC, Seoul, and London, describes itself as "an unrivaled source of information analysis and news about North Korea."

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Alternative Fuel,  Diesel,  


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


    Former Ag.Sec. Vilsack Comments on Biofuels Ind. -- Notable Quote
    Tom Vilsack
    Date: 2020-05-01
    "It (biofuels industry) is in very, very serious shape."

    "It provides a stable market for crops, an affordable supply of feed supplements for livestock producers, it supports exports, provides jobs -- as many as 400,000 Americans at one time -- and gives consumers a less-expensive fuel option that is cleaner burning than fossil fuels." -- Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor and U.S. agriculture secretary, commenting on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the biofuels industry and the Trump administration's understanding of the benefits of the ethanol industry.

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Tom Vilsack,  Biofuel,  


    Trump Admin. Continues to Weaken Climate Change Laws Amid Pandemic (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Climate Change
    Date: 2020-04-27
    "Most American are probably unaware of how aggressively the Trump administration is rolling back environmental laws. Just recently, the administration implemented a far-reaching climate change rollback that dismantled an Obama-era clean air standard. Unfortunately, that rollback, as well as other rollbacks, have received little media attention -- and understandably so -- because most news outlets are preoccupied with Covid-19.

    "However, this pandemic does not provide decision makers with a license to haphazardly reverse decades of environmental progress and climate change laws. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening as the administration is seemingly using the pandemic as a 'red herring' to gut numerous laws. This misguided attempt to undermine climate change policy is particularly troublesome especially when considering that 64 pct of Americans believe climate change is a serious threat and/or a crisis.

    "Surfrider believes it is unconscionable to gut environmental laws while most Americans are deeply concerned about the global pandemic and will be less likely to engage in civics. Not only are these rollbacks underhanded, but they contribute more air and water pollution which will impact residents with health conditions, making them more susceptible to Covid-19. A new Harvard study found that air pollution can be significantly linked to higher rates of death in people with Covid-19.

    "It should be noted that some rollbacks were proposed prior to Covid-19, and are part of a broader pattern of environmental deregulation under the Trump administration. Yet, the most recent rollback is particularly troubling because it dramatically weakens vehicle emissions standards that were hard-fought over the past decade. Another attempt to undermined climate change efforts came when the administration proposed to revoke California's authority's to set higher air quality standards than the federal government. Of course, California promptly sued and the case is making its way through the courts.

    "The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a paramount environmental law that mandates climate change review, has also become another target. The Trump administration brazenly proposed a rule that climate change impacts should not be considered under NEPA. The proposal has met significant opposition in Congress where a Democrat and Republican co-authored a bipartisan sign on letter opposing the administration's plan. Moreover, the courts have a long history of requiring government agencies and businesses to weigh climate change impacts during decision-making and implementing large projects.

    "Then there are oil and gas production rollbacks. For years, the DoI has drastically weakened offshore drilling safety regulations. To add insult to injury, the administration launched a controversial plan to open up roughly 90 pct of U.S. waters to oil drilling, which Surfrider and our partners have helped stall. Most recently, the administration auctioned off 78 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil/gas producers despite cries to halt sales until after the pandemic.

    "Right now, our global community is experiencing two crises -- Covid-19 and climate change -- and we should be applying the same lessons to each crisis. While times have been challenging the past several weeks, there are positive lessons to embrace that relate to climate change:

  • Global society can work together to stave off 'worst case scenarios.' With sufficient leadership, we can take the necessary (albeit painful) collective steps to avoid catastrophe. A similar global response is needed to tackle climate change.

  • There is undeniable strength in science. At first, Covid-19 was framed as being no worse than the flu (some alluded it was a hoax). Once clear facts and science were embraced, the situation was taken more seriously.

  • A deeper appreciation for nature is emerging. Since people have been staying home, the great outdoors has never been so appealing.

  • The earth has appreciated the pause. Satellites images show air pollution over major worldwide cities has significantly dropped. In fact, in the northeast U.S. there was a 30 pct drop in pollution.

    Needless to say, it shouldn't take a global pandemic for us to make bold reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The threats posed by climate change have become abundantly clear and the solutions are right in front of us. Please join Surfrider in opposing environmental rollbacks and urging our government leaders to take bold action on climate change. (Source: Surfrider Foundation, Sefanie Sekich-Quinn, Blog, 23 April, 2020) Contact: Surfrider Foundation, Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, California Policy Manager, ssekich@surfrider.org, www.surfrider.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  


  • Biofuel Producers Left in the Lurch on $19Bn Aid Pkg (Ind. Report)
    USDA
    Date: 2020-04-22
    . "We don't have a fundamental way to help that (biofuel) sector," responded USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to the Trump administration's announced $19 billion aid package to farmers.

    Biofuels producers were not included in the aid package, although the sector consumes approximately 40 pct of America's total annual corn crop.

    In the 2018/2019 crop marketing year, (Sept. 1- Aug. 31) the U.S. grew more than 14.42 billion bushels (366 million metric tons) of corn. (Source: USDA, nexstar, 21 April, 2020)Contact: USDA, Sonny Perdue, Sec., www.usda.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Biofuel,  Sonny Perdue,  USDA,  Corn,  Corn Ethanol,  


    Turks Trumpet 2019 National Wind Power Capacity (Int'l. Report)
    Turkish Wind Energy Association
    Date: 2020-03-30
    According to the Turkish Wind Energy Association (TUREB), Turkey's total wind power capacity now stands at 8,056 MW, including 687 MW installed in 2019, and now generates sufficient electric power for roughly 8 million Turkish homes.

    According to TUREB, over 75 pct of the country's wind farms are located in the Aegean and Marmara regions and 12.3 pct are in the Mediterranean region. Turkey currently operates 198 wind energy power plants with an additional 25 wind farms under construction. Turkey's Energy and Natural Sources Ministry estimates the country's wind energy potential 48,000 MW. (Source: TUREB, PR, reve, 29 Mar., 2020) Contact: TUREB,+90 312 474 0274, info@tureb.com.tr, www.tureb.com.tr/en

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Wind,  Turkish Wind Energy Association,  


    Renewable Fuels Coalition Comments on Admin's Not Seeking SRE Ruling Re-hearing (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Americans for Clean Energy
    Date: 2020-03-27
    Further to our 20th Jan. coverage, a coalition of the Renewable Fuels Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Coalition for Ethanol and National Farmers Union released the following statement:

    "We are pleased the Trump administration has decided not to side with oil refiners in seeking a re-hearing of this unambiguous and well-reasoned court decision in the Tenth Circuit. We trust this also means the administration does not plan to petition the Supreme Court for an appeal. Abiding by the court's ruling is the right thing to do at a time when our industries and rural America are already suffering from the effects of COVID-19, the Saudi-Russia oil price war and ongoing trade disputes.

    "We look to the RFS as a source of demand stability and certainty, especially in these troubling times. Requesting a re-hearing would have only prolonged uncertainty in the marketplace and exacerbated the pain and frustration already being experienced in the Heartland.

    "With this key milestone now behind us, we look forward to EPA applying the Tenth Circuit decision nationwide to all SRE (small refiner exemption) petitions, beginning with the 25 pending petitions for 2019 exemptions."

    The coalition also noted that fully restoring the integrity of the RFS means immediate action to restore 500 million gallons of inappropriately waived 2016 blending requirements, as ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. District in 2017. (Source: Various Media, The Fence Post, 25 Mar., 2020) Contact: Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381 ext. 3389, www.ethanol.org; National Farmers Union, Roger Johnson, Pres., (202) 554-1600, www.nfu.org; NCGA, (636) 733-9004, (636) 733-9005 -fax, corninfo@ncga.com, www.ncga.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RFS,  Americans for Clean Energy,  RFS "Hardship" ,  Waivers,  Renewable Fuels Associatio,  National Farmers Union,  National Corn Growers Association,  American Coalition for Ethanol,  


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

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

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

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress. (Source: American Coalition for Ethanol , Various Trade Media, 18 March 2020) Contact: U.S. Grains Council, Tom Sleight, Pres., (202) 789-0789, (202) 898-0522, www.grains.org; Renewable Fuels Association, Geoff Cooper, (202) 289-3835, www.ethanolrfa.org; American Coalition for Ethanol, Brian Jennings, CEO, (605) 334-3381 ext. 3389, www.ethanol.org

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


    DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program Launched (Ind Report)
    Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program
    Date: 2020-03-13
    In Washington, the Trump administration DOE is touting the recently launched Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program aimed at accelerating the development of next-generation energy storage technology and creating and sustaining global leadership in energy storage utilization and exports by 2030. The Challenges goals are as follows:
  • Technology Development -- Establish ambitious, achievable performance goals, and a comprehensive R&D portfolio to achieve them;

  • Technology Transfer -- Accelerate the technology pipeline from research to system design to private sector adoption through rigorous system evaluation, performance validation, siting tools, and targeted collaborations;

  • Policy and Valuation -- Develop best-in-class models, data, and analysis to inform the most effective value proposition and use cases for storage technologies;

  • Manufacturing and Supply Chain --Design new technologies to strengthen U.S. manufacturing and recyclability, and to reduce dependence on foreign sources of critical materials; and
  • Workforce -- Train the next generation of American workers to meet the needs of the 21st century electric grid and energy storage value chain.

    Download DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge program details HERE (Source: US DOE, Mar, 2020) Contact: Energy Storage Grand Challenge Program, www.energy.gov


  • DOE Ordered to Set Appliance Efficiency Standards (Ind. Report)
    DOE
    Date: 2020-03-13
    The Trump administration DOE has been ordered by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to impose energy efficiency, energy conservation standard upgrades for four set of appliances first proposed under the Obama Administration. Industrial air compressors, portable air conditioners, and uninterruptible power supplies or battery backup devices used to protect computers and other sensitive equipment are covered in the ruling.

    Under DOE's new rule, federal appliance energy efficiency upgrades must be "significant" -- defined under the rule as saving at least 0.3 quads of energy over 30 years or improving energy use by at least 10 pct above existing standards. (Source: US DOE, Heartland Institute, 12 Mar., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Appliance Efficiency,  Energy Efficiency,  


    Notable Quotes on Trump's Light Bulb Efficiency Debacle
    Light Bulb Energy Efficiency
    Date: 2020-02-28
    "The Trump Administration's obsession with dismantling common sense standards that save consumers money and help the environment is breathtaking. The only people who benefit from this dim-witted plan are those profiting from inefficient energy use." -- Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, www.oag.ca.gov

    To refresh your memory, on Dec 11, 2019, we quotes "The Donald" as saying -- "It (standard light bulb) gives you an orange look, I don't want an orange look. Being a vain person, that's really important to me." -- Trump commenting on his administration's move to kill the Obama administration's light bulb energy efficiency standards.

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


    Penna. DEP Defends Gov. Wolf's RGGI Exec. Order (Ind. Report)
    RGGI, Pa DEP
    Date: 2020-02-28
    Following up on our 4 Oct., 2019 coverage, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell has defended Gov. Tom Wolf's (D) executive order directing the agency to develop rules for joining RGGI, a cap and trade regional program that charges power producers for the pollution they emit.

    McDonnell's comments came in response to concerns from the House Appropriations Committee over how the state's share of the RGGI programs quarterly auction program would be used by the state, relative to climate change issues rather than unrelated programs and projects.

    Sec. McDonnell assured the Appropriations Committee "improvements to public transportation, installing energy efficient windows, insulation, or appliances, or building out alternative fuel vehicle infrastructure" were among the projects the RGGI funds would be applied to.

    Governor Wolf's executive order follows the implementation of aggressive clean energy targets announced last year, including a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent by 2025. Pennsylvania also became the 24th state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance -- a group formed in 2017 after President Donald Trump withdrew the nation from the Paris Agreement.

    Critics of RGGI argue it will cripple Pennsylvania's economy, force fossil fuel plants into early retirement and drive up electricity prices. Critics note that Pennsylvania is the nation's number two natural gas producer and the region's top power exporter -- making it very different, economically, from the other RGGI participants. (Source: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, The Center Square, 26 Feb., 2020) Contact: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, www.dep.pa.gov; C RGGI, www.rggi.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RGGI,  Carbon Emissions,  ,  


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

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

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied.Under the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard, the nation's oil refineries are required to blend billions of gallons of biofuels such as ethanol into the fuel or buy credits from those that do. But the EPA can waive their obligations if they prove compliance would cause them financial distress.

    (Source: Various Media, Successful Farming, Reuters, 26 Feb., 2020)

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


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

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

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

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


    More Wind Farm Notable Quotes from "The Donald"
    Trump
    Date: 2020-02-24
    "And they're all over the place. You look at Palm Springs, California. Take a look. Palm Springs ... They're all over the place. They're closed, they're rotting, they look like hell."

    "You know if you shoot a bald eagle they put you in jail for a long time. But the windmills knock them down like crazy." -- Pres. Donald Trump, KESQ, Sacramento Bee, 21 Feb., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump.Wind,  Renewable Energy,  


    Trump USDA Announces 30 pct Biofuel Goal for 2050 (Ind. Report)
    USDA
    Date: 2020-02-21
    In Washington, as part of a new department-wide sustainability initiative the USDA is reported to have announced a goal for biofuels to make up 30 pct of U.S. transportation fuels by 2050.

    Under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) refineries are presently required to blend 20.09 billion gallons of biofuel in 2020 – roughly 10 pct of projected crude oil production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Source: KLO, Various Media, Reuters, 20 Feb., 2020)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News USDA news,  RFS news,  Ethanol news,  Ethanol Blend news,  


    Trump 2021 Budget Ups BOEM Offshore Wind Support (Ind. Report)
    Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
    Date: 2020-02-14
    In its proposed 2012 budget, the Trump Administration is proposing $189 million for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), with $26.5 million earmarked for "advance offshore renewable energy development" compared with $21.3 in FY 2020.

    According to BOEM, the $189 million funds will be used to "continue to advance renewable energy" through its leasing programme. BOEM notes it "will continue to use environmental science as the foundation for sound policy decisions." (Source: BOEM, Various Media, renews, 11 Feb., 2020) Contact: BOEM, Connie Gillette, Public Affairs, Walter Cruickshank, Acting Dir., (202) 208-6474, www.boem.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Renewable Energy,  Offshore Wind,  Bureau of Ocean Energy Management,  Offshore Wind,  

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