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EPA Year-Round E15 Approval Ruling Overruled (Reg & Leg)
Ethanol
Date: 2021-07-19
On 2nd July In Washington, in the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, et al. vs. EPA case, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a 2019 EPA rule that lifted restrictions on the year-round sale of a 15 pct ethanol fuel blend.

Under the June 2019 expansion, E15 could be sold year-round without additional Reid vapor pressure (RVP) control rather than just eight months of the year. The one pound per square inch waiver for RVP was approved by EPA for year-round E10 sales in 1992, but not for E15.

The Court found that Congress "balanced wide-ranging economic, energy-security and geopolitical implications" and that the law "reflects a compromise, not simply a desire to maximize ethanol production at all costs" and that "Congress did not intend to allow ethanol blends higher than 10 pct to be widely sold year-round." (Source: Various Media, AgriNews, 18 July, 2021)

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


NWF Supports Governors' Requests for RFS Relief (Ind. Report)
AFPM
Date: 2020-07-08
According to a recent American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) blog posting, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has become the most recent US EPA petitioner seeking a general waiver to reduce 2020 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance obligations.

In a letter to the EPA' Administrator Andrew Wheeler, NWF President and CEO Collin O'Mara echoed the requests of six state governors and stressed the need for smaller biofuel mandates. In its letter, the AFPM noted:

  • "The RFS currently requires about 19 billion gal. of fuel derived from plants to be blended into gasoline. The overwhelming majority of that fuel is corn ethanol, and today 40 pct of the corn produced in the U.S. goes into our gas tanks."

  • "Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health."

  • "In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO."

    The NWF letter concludes: “"In short, the corn ethanol mandate has led to the loss of important wildlife habitat, particularly in regions critical for monarch butterflies, ducks and other ground-nesting birds, and many other species -- threatening outdoor recreation opportunities as well as the economy. The mandate has also resulted in deteriorated water quality and harmful algal blooms in important surface waters as a result of increased farm runoff. Increasing mandated blending levels increases the potential for further land conversion, presenting a marked threat to the battle against global climate change, with its consequent catastrophic effects on human health and the environment. Higher blends of ethanol necessitated by unrealistic RVOs diminish public health. In light of the clear and present danger to the environment, we join with the Governors of six states in asking for a waiver to the RVO." (Source: National Wildlife Federation, AFPM, Hydrocarbon Engineering, 7 July, 2020) Contact: National Wildlife Federation, Colin O'Mara, CEO, www.nwf.org

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


  • BP Exits Ind. Groups Over Climate Policy Disagreements (Ind. Report)
    BP
    Date: 2020-02-28
    Petroleum industry giant BP reports it is dropping its affiliation with three industry trade association on the grounds that the associations' climate change related policies and positions do not align with BP's.

    BP is dropping the Western Energy Alliance because its interests did not aligned on federal regulation of methane in the US, and the Western States Petroleum Association and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers over carbon pricing positions.

    As previously reported on 14 Feb., BP plans to:

  • Achieve a 50 pct cut in the carbon intensity of its products by 2050 or sooner

  • Install methane measurement at all BP major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and reduce methane intensity of operations by 50 pct.

  • Increase its investment in non-oil and gas businesses over time.

  • More actively advocate for policies that support net-zero, including carbon pricing -- carbon tax.

  • Further incentivise the company's workforce to deliver aims and mobilize them to advocate for net- zero and set new expectations for relationships with trade associations.

  • Aim for recognition as a leader for transparency of reporting, including supporting the recommendations of the TCFD, and launch a new team to help countries, cities and large companies decarbonize.

    BP's current worldwide greenhouse gas emissions from its operations stand at 55 million tpy of CO2 equivalent (MteCO2e), and the carbon in the oil and gas that it produces is equivalent currently to around 360 MteCO2e emissions a year -- both on an absolute basis. Taken together, delivery of these aims would equate to a reduction in emissions to net zero from what is currently around 415 MteCO2e a year, according to the BP release. (Source: BP Website, 26 Feb., 2020) Contact: BP Press Office, +44 (0) 20 7496 4076, bppress@bp.com, www.bp.com

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


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

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

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

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


    EIA Data Questions RFS "Hardship" Waivers Effect on Ethanol Demand (Ind. Report)
    EIA
    Date: 2019-10-04
    As previously reported, ethanol industry proponents have petitioned the EPA to cease issuing Small Refinery "Hardship" Exemptions (SREs) allowable under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The ethanol industry is trying to convince the EPA that the waivers are hurting their business and, therefore, the agency should stop issuing them.

    Month-over-month, official government data tells a very different story. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the ethanol blend rate has remained within normal statistical variation, despite the flood of "hardship" waivers. EIA data shows:

  • The overall physical ethanol consumption for Q1 2019 (the most recent, complete data available) is higher than it was in 2018.

  • The average ethanol blend rate was higher in Q1 2019 (10.21 pct) than in Q1 2018 (10.09 pct).

  • In February 2019, the ethanol blend rate was 10.53 percent -- the highest in the 12 months preceding. And the March 2019 ethanol blend rate was 10.18 percent -- higher than the March 2018 blend rate of 9.75 percent.

    These blend rates have been stable for the past few years, underscoring the truth that ethanol demand is premised partially on the RFS, partially on demand for clean octane and partially on other factors -- not SREs.

    Similarly, when it comes to mid-level ethanol blends like E15, there is no data indicating that SREs are reducing demand. E15 and other mid-level ethanol blend sales have been growing all year and, in the case of E15, sales are higher at this point than they were last year, according to the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association.

    As previously noted, "hardship waivers" were intended for refineries producing 75,000 bpd or less and suffered "disproportionate economic hardship" from the costs of RFS compliance. The waiver frees the refineries from an obligation to provide the EPA with biofuels credits proving compliance. Under the now vanquished administrator Greg Pruitt's direction, the EPA handed out 54 exemptions over two years and not a single request for an exemption was denied. (Source: American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), EIA, Business & Industry Connection, 3 Oct., 2019) Contact: AFPM, Derrick Morgan, Snr, VP, (202) 586-8800, www.afpm.org; EIA, www.eia.gov

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


  • Shell Quitting AFPM Over Climate Change Policy "Misalignment" (Int'l)
    American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers
    Date: 2019-04-08
    Citing "material misalignment" over climate change policy differences, petroleum industry giant Royal Dutch Shell Plc has announced it will leave the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)in 2020.

    Shell claims its move is in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement's goals to limit global warming by reducing carbon emissions to a net zero by the end of the century. It is also reflects investor pressure on oil companies, particularly in Europe, to change in their behavior around climate. Along that line, in 2018 Shell announced plans to introduce industry-leading carbon emissions targets linked to executive pay. (Source: Shell, Sustainable Business,Various Media, April, 2019) Contact: AFPM, Ben van Beurden, CEO, Pres., (202) 457-0480, www.afpm.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers ,  Shell,  Climate Change,  

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