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Updated: 16 weeks 2 days ago

House Legislation Includes RFS Integrity ACT

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 05:39

The Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act passed by the U.S. House includes provisions of the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act put forth by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN).

The provisions set an annual deadline for refiners to request exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard and requires EPA to publicly release the name of refiners requesting a waiver, the number of gallons requested to be waived, and the number of gallons of biofuel that will not be blended as a result of the waiver.

“The House passage of H.R. 4447 moves us closer to holding EPA accountable for its reckless use of small refinery waivers,” Peterson said. “EPA has granted dozens of waivers in recent years and has refused to share details of their justification with Congress and the public. The waivers undermine the blending requirements required by law and harms rural communities that produce biofuels.”

National Biodiesel Board VP of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik said, “This is a commonsense step to ensure that RFS biomass-based diesel volumes are fully met and to prevent a recurrence of the demand destruction for biodiesel that we’ve seen over the past several years. Biodiesel and renewable diesel producers have a right to know how many gallons of their product may be lost from RFS volumes when major refiners like Exxon ask for special treatment.”

Next Generation Fuels Act Introduced in House

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 05:31

U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL) yesterday introduced the Next Generation Fuels Act, legislation that “leverages greater fuel octane to reduce carbon emissions from transportation, improve air quality by reducing the use of harmful aromatics and increase demand for biofuels.”

Fuels with greater levels of octane are more stable and have the potential to make engines more fuel-efficient. This legislation establishes a minimum octane standard for gasoline and requires sources of the added octane value to reduce carbon emissions by at least 30 percent compared to baseline gasoline. Furthermore, the legislation limits the use of harmful aromatics in meeting this new higher octane standard, as well as in current-market gasoline.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper said, “By establishing the roadmap for an orderly transition to high-octane, low-carbon fuels, this landmark legislation begins an exciting new era in transportation fuels policy. As the world’s top supplier of clean, affordable, low-carbon octane, the U.S. ethanol industry proudly and enthusiastically supports this legislation.”

RFA notes the bill would establish a certification test fuel with a research octane number (RON) of 98, along with a requirement that the source of the octane boost reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by an average of at least 30% compared to a 2018 gasoline baseline. The legislation also includes a restriction on the aromatics content of gasoline, ensures parity in the regulation of gasoline volatility (Reid vapor pressure), corrects the “R-factor” used in fuel economy testing, provides for an E30 fuel waiver, replaces EPA’s flawed MOVES model, and restores meaningful credit toward compliance with fuel economy (CAFE) and emissions standards for the production of flex fuel vehicles (FFVs).

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) was one of many organizations that worked on the legislation with the congresswoman’s office but CEO Brian Jennings expressed reservations.

“We appreciate Congresswoman Bustos has introduced legislation designed to remove barriers to higher blends of ethanol and which acknowledges future policy needs to be considered in the framework of GHG emissions,” said Jennings. “While this legislation contains many of our top priorities, its approach to carbon accounting is flawed and undermines the investment many ACE members have made to reduce their carbon intensity.”

“ACE prefers a low carbon fuel policy which assigns each fuel producer an individual carbon intensity score and measures lifecycle GHG emissions to provide credit for farming practices that reduce emissions from fertilizer use and sequester carbon in the soil. Policy with these two components would reward farmers for climate-smart practices and ethanol facilities for making investments to reduce GHG emissions.”

Policy Makers Get Virtual Ethanol Tour

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 05:23

Congressional staff and other federal and state decision makers were able to go on a virtual tour of the U.S. ethanol industry last week, courtesy of the Renewable Fuels Association. The event included a series of educational videos and discussions with farmers, ethanol producers and one of the country’s top fuel retailers.

Since 2009, RFA has co-sponsored the Iowa RFA Science & Sustainability Tour, which brings Washington, DC policymakers to Iowa for a hands-on experience with today’s renewable fuels industry. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this year’s tour was canceled.

“Each summer, we join IRFA in providing the opportunity for congressional, agency staff and others to get an inside look at the ethanol industry right in our nation’s Heartland,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “Unfortunately, this year we were not able to host the event in ethanol country, so we did the next best thing: We took the experience right to them, virtually. This gave congressional and agency staff the opportunity to hear from important ethanol industry stakeholders not just in the Midwest, but also in places like California and New York. We hope the event helped our audience understand the geographic diversity of our industry—and how we are all working together to bring clean, green, homegrown fuels to consumers everywhere.”
Learn more about what the tour included from RFA.

Ethanol Coalition Urges EPA to Fully Restore RFS

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 09:51

The coalition of farm and ethanol groups behind the case against Small Refinery Exemptions under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that was decided in January is still waiting for EPA to implement the court decision or even communicate the intention to do so after eight months.

The four associations representing farmers and ethanol producers – the Renewable Fuels Association, American Coalition for Ethanol, National Corn Growers Association and National Farmers Union — held a press call Wednesday to discuss the current situation regarding the court decision and lack of action by the administration.

“While EPA’s recent announcement that it has denied 54 petitions for “gap year” small refinery exemptions under the RFS was indeed a big step forward, there is more work to be done to fully restore integrity to the RFS,” said RFA president and CEO Geoff Cooper. “There are 50 exemption petitions still awaiting a decision, and EPA still has not released the 2021 RVO proposal.”

“On the heels of the gap-year petition denials, it’s time for EPA to implement this decision nationally and move quickly to decide outstanding waiver requests.”

In addition to Cooper, other participants in the press call included:
Kevin Ross — President, National Corn Growers Association
Brian Jennings — CEO, American Coalition for Ethanol
Anne Steckel — Biofuels Advisor, National Farmers Union
Matthew W. Morrison — Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Listen to the call here.
Coalition press call on EPA action needed (59:33)

Biodiesel-Powered Vehicles Wrap and Roll

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 09:21

New biodiesel-branded vehicles highlighting the renewable fuel’s sustainability and emissions reduction benefits are rolling along city streets and interstate highways from the nation’s capital, to Texas oil country, up the California coast and throughout the Midwest.

According to the National Biodiesel Board (NBB), eight biodiesel users received matching funds to share their biodiesel success stories with wraps, decals or other vehicle branding efforts. Biodiesel cuts carbon and other pollutant emissions substantially, reducing health impacts in many communities.

“NBB’s annual Vehicle Branding Program is a great way to increase awareness of biodiesel’s benefits as these vehicles log thousands of miles throughout the country,” said Kaleb Little, NBB director of communications. “This year’s winners are featuring NBB’s new tagline, “Better, Cleaner, Now” which tells the biodiesel story simply. Biodiesel is better and cleaner than petroleum diesel — with proven environmental, health and economic benefits – and is ready to use now.”

Among the winners is the D.C. Department of Public Works (DPW) which branded 22 refuse trucks highlighting their use of 100 percent biodiesel (B100) in the nation’s capital. DPW installed a biodiesel engine upgrade developed by Optimus Technologies for medium and heavy-duty truck fleets which allows the use of B100. Since installing the system, DPW has reduced emissions by over 75 percent and lowered fuel costs. The rest of the DPW diesel fleet runs on B20.

On the other side of the country, Valley Pacific Petroleum, a California-based fuel marketer, wrapped two tanker trucks that deliver biodiesel throughout the state. Since 1947, Valley Pacific has been supplying high-quality fuels and lubricants in California. Today the family-owned company is one of the state’s largest fuel marketers and powers its own fleet with B20 as well.

Congratulations also to Michigan-based Ag Energy Transport; the City of Fort Wayne, Ind.; G&D Integrated transportation and logistics in Morton, Ill.; the City of Grand Forks, N.D.; Renewable Biofuels in Port Neches, Texas; and Evergreen Grease Services which collects used cooking oil from restaurants in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.

ACE Annual Meeting Archive

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 08:03

The virtual 2020 American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) annual conference was held last week, but it lives on in the archived Fuel Ethanol Workshop events. Most of the content is also available in audio form on the ACE virtual newsroom.

The last panel of the conference offered ethanol producer perspectives on these uncertain times for the industry and what the future might hold. ACE president Duane Kristensen of Chief Ethanol Fuels in Nebraska moderated the discussion with two fellow producers Dave Sovereign, Golden Grain Energy in Iowa and Neil Koehler, Pacific Ethanol in California.

Listen to their panel here:
ACE 2020 Producer Perspectives Panel (29:42)

Ethanol producers who did not register for FEW to attend the ACE conference can still do so for free and can access the virtual FEW OnDemand presentations and exhibits until October 15. To register, producers should email or call 866-746-8385.

Rural America 2020 Blames Trump for Ethanol Crisis

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 06:10

During a virtual press conference Tuesday, Rural America 2020 blamed President Donald Trump for the current crisis in the ethanol industry, due to the administration granting of small refinery exemptions, reducing demand for ethanol and forcing the closure of refineries across the country.

Farmers members of the Rural America 2020 state steering committees participating in the press conference, including Chris Gibbs of Ohio, president of the Rural America 2020 board of directors; Aaron Lehman, Iowa; Jim Nichols, Minnesota; and Rick Telesz of Pennsylvania.

“Rather than supporting corn farmers and making E15 ‘America’s Fuel,’ Trump has consistently undercut this industry and hurt our farmers,” said Gibbs. “We cannot afford four more years of policies that do not address the dire straits our farmers are facing.”

House Ag Committee Chair Says Ethanol is Priority

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 14:39

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson puts ethanol second only to the hog industry in priority to get some kind of assistance to mitigate losses this year due to coronavirus restrictions.

“Because of the price of oil collapsing and people not driving…and also these waivers that have been given out by the administration, which should have never been considered,” Peterson said during the Agri-Pulse Ag and Food Policy Summit on Monday. “If we had 15 billion gallons we wouldn’t be having the kind of problems we’re having in the ethanol industry.”

Peterson would like to see producers receive 45 cents a gallon based on their January to April production, or from 2019 if they were shut down. “And that needs to happen too or we’re going to lose some of these plants.” he said.

However, the chairman from Minnesota expressed concern that getting back into the habit of ad hoc disaster aid for agriculture could be detrimental to farm policy going forward.

Listen to Rep. Peterson’s comments in this interview with Agri-Pulse reporter Phillip Brasher.
AgriPulse Summit Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) (27:18)

Ethanol Report 9-21-20

Mon, 09/21/2020 - 05:01

Last week brought a flurry of good news for the ethanol industry in three major areas – exports, expansion of higher blends, and protecting the renewable fuel standard.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report, we hear ethanol industry leaders comment on EPA denial of retroactive refinery waivers, Brazil’s 90 day extension of its ethanol tariff rate quota, and the potential regular E10 fuel pumps could be used to dispense E15.

The podcast includes comments from Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Geoff Cooper, RFA Board Chairman Neil Koehler of Pacific Ethanol, and RFA Board member Dave Sovereign of Golden Grain Energy.

Ethanol Report 9-21-20 (15:50)

The Ethanol Report is a podcast about the latest news and information in the ethanol industry that has been sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association since 2008.

Choose an option to subscribe

Ethanol Leaders Receive Well-Deserved Awards

Fri, 09/18/2020 - 10:04

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) honored two exceptional ethanol advocates for their contributions to the industry with an awards video during the 33rd annual ACE conference held virtually in conjunction with the Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) and Expo this week.

Bob Scott, who served as the ACE Board President from 1999 to 2009 representing Poet Ethanol Products, was recognized with ACE’s most prestigious honor, the Merle Anderson Award, named after the organization’s founder. ACE CEO Brian Jennings and Senior Vice President Ron Lamberty presented Scott with the award.

“For me, it was a labor of love,” Scott said. “When I look back at my time on the ACE board and the enactment of the RFS, it’s one of my favorite times in my life; we challenged ourselves and everyone else. Merle Anderson convinced me that ethanol was the right thing to do and the ACE Board was truly the best board I’ve ever been a part of.”

Jan tenBensel, Nebraska farmer and chair of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, received this year’s Grassroots Award for his unyielding and humble advocacy, notably his work with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to produce thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer for donation to help address the shortage during the health pandemic. ACE Board members Roger Berry, NEB Administrator, and Scott McPheeters of KAAPA Ethanol presented tenBensel with the award.

“Jan truly is the definition of grassroots activism when it comes to ethanol,” Berry said. “Within one week, he helped pull together a production and distribution facility to provide hand sanitizer to the state of Nebraska and beyond.”

“He loves to learn and he’s generous with his time,” McPheeters added. “He’s the type of guy you want on your team.”

Congratulations to two very deserving ethanol advocates and listen to their awards presentations and remarks here:

ACE 2020 Merle Anderson Award presentation to Bob Scott (7:59)

ACE 2020 Grassroots Award presentation to Jan tenBensel (6:38)