Trump’s EPA to Detail Biofuel Boost After Corn-State Criticism

October 4, 2019 by Trump’s EPA to Detail Biofuel Boost After Corn-State Criticism October 4, 2019by Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Mario Parker and Jennifer Jacobs

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday will announce plans to aid corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel, capping weeks of deliberations over how to temper a wave of criticism from biofuel advocates in the U.S. Midwest.

The Environmental Protection Agency is slated to announce several changes to propel those renewable fuels, including a commitment to bolster annual biofuel-blending quotas to compensate for waivers exempting some small refineries from the mandates. The shift, which still must be formally proposed and codified, would effectively force bigger, nonexempted refineries to take up the slack.

The planned announcement was described by several people familiar with the move, who asked for anonymity before a formal rollout.

Under the deal, the government will alter requirements for warning labels that must be on display at filling stations offering E15, a gasoline blend containing 15% ethanol. Ethanol producers say sales are discouraged by the labels, meant to prevent motorists from pumping the fuel into automobiles that aren’t approved to use it.

The administration is also set to revive its scrutiny of an opaque market in biofuel credits that refiners use to prove they have satisfied annual blending quotas under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

A previous review ordered by President Donald Trump did not result in major changes, but some refiners continue to allege hoarding and speculation of the credits, known as Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs.

The package will not include a major concession sought by oil refiners: a ceiling on the cost of those RINs. Refiners and oil-state senators had argued they needed an insurance policy against spiking prices for the credits.

Labor unions and oil industry allies also had lobbied the White House to back off from any deal that would bolster biofuel quotas, arguing it could undermine the economics of some refineries and put Rust Belt jobs at risk.

Trump administration officials have spent weeks negotiating the final plan in meetings with refining executives, biofuel producers and farm and oil state senators.

The effort was provoked by anger in politically important farm-belt states, as ethanol and biodiesel advocates accused the administration of too liberally exempting refineries from mandates to use the products. The backlash was particularly intense in Iowa, a leading producer of corn and corn-based ethanol that helped elect Trump in 2016 — and is critically important to his re-election in 2020.

Trump campaigned on pledges to support the Renewable Fuel Standard and protect ethanol. His administration has taken steps to help the industry, such as by authorizing year-round sales of E15 gasoline. But the EPA’s decisions to authorize more refinery exemptions — including a batch of 31 in August — have been especially unwelcome amid a broader trade conflict with China that has led to retaliatory tariffs on American agricultural products. Biofuel advocates say the refining waivers have hurt U.S. demand for the products.

Oil companies and EPA officials dispute that refinery waivers have had any effect on ethanol demand and argue other factors are at play. A wave of ethanol capacity expansions — aimed at producing more of the biofuel to satisfy burgeoning demand in China — was undermined by the country’s retaliatory tariffs and contributed to a domestic supply glut. Inclement weather for the better part of this year has washed out fields, delaying or preventing planting in some instances, subsequently eroding ethanol production margins.

The EPA has a limited window to make changes before a Nov. 30 deadline in law for setting next year’s biofuel-blending targets. The agency is set to send a supplementary proposal to the White House as soon as Friday, setting the stage for its release next week.

———

©2019 Bloomberg News

Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Energy

Bipartisan Coalition Requests Funding for Plugging Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells
Environment
Bipartisan Coalition Requests Funding for Plugging Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells
June 29, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

WASHINGTON - A Coalition of Democratic and Republican House members have sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to request Congressional funding to plug "orphan" oil and gas wells across the United States.  The letter was co-authored... Read More

House Democrats Will Call for 100% Clean Cars by 2035
Climate
House Democrats Will Call for 100% Clean Cars by 2035

House Democrats on Tuesday will issue an ambitious plan to combat climate change, a move intended to reassure their base of supporters but that’s sure to inflame opponents on the right. The proposal will be released at an event at the U.S. Capitol with Speaker Nancy... Read More

Democrats, Republicans Want Interior to Ban Florida Offshore Drilling
Environment
Democrats, Republicans Want Interior to Ban Florida Offshore Drilling

WASHINGTON — The majority of Florida’s House of Representatives delegation, including Donald Trump confidante Matt Gaetz and 12 of Florida’s 13 House Democrats, are demanding additional answers from the Interior Department regarding any Trump administration plan for offshore drilling near Florida. The letter, led by Central... Read More

The Coronavirus Is Taking A Toll On The Renewable Energy Sector
Energy
The Coronavirus Is Taking A Toll On The Renewable Energy Sector
May 19, 2020
by Gaspard Le Dem

The natural world has gotten a boost from the coronavirus pandemic.  With fewer cars on the roads and planes in the sky, the world has benefited from clearer skies and an unprecedented decline in carbon emissions.  Daily CO2 emissions decreased by 17% between January and early... Read More

Report: Williams CEO Scuttled a Merger Directors and Shareholders Wanted
Opinions
Report: Williams CEO Scuttled a Merger Directors and Shareholders Wanted
May 5, 2020
by Levi Lefebure

As a four-year-old court battle over a breakup fee for an ill-fated merger between two energy pipeline companies continues, a new report by the Market Institute details a shocking campaign by Williams Companies CEO Alan Armstrong to scuttle the merger with Energy Transfer. Destined to Fail:... Read More

Nation's Power Grid Holding Up Well Despite Surge in Remote Work
Energy
Nation's Power Grid Holding Up Well Despite Surge in Remote Work
April 24, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Despite the fact that nearly every working American is doing so from home, necessitating video conferencing and the rest, the nation's power grid is doing just fine, according to the not-for-profit regulatory authority tasked with overseeing it. In a report released Thursday, the North... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top