In this file:
· Rural Advocacy Group Claims EPA is Failing to Meet Administration's Promised Commitment to Farmers
· Stating Carbon Fuel Standards
Rural Advocacy Group Claims EPA is Failing to Meet Administration's Promised Commitment to Farmers
Oklahoma Farm Report
10 Jul 2019
The following op-ed piece, published by Solution from the Land, outlines the group's argument of how the EPA has failed to meet the Administration's commitment to farmers and rural America.
"There was likely some forethought behind the EPA's release of its final biofuel blending obligations on what would be expected to be a low-profile news day - the Friday after Thursday's Fourth of July. But the reaction across the sector was loud and unhappy, and that discontent will reverberate for weeks, if not months.
"The EPA's proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) - blending targets set under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) for most biofuels next year and for biodiesel in 2021 fails to recognize the sector's increased production capabilities. But more critically, the proposal also reneges on a promise to restore huge amounts of ethanol and biodiesel lost to questionable 'hardship' waivers from RFS obligations being granted to refiners by the agency in unprecedented numbers under the Trump administration.
"While the waivers are applicable to "small" refiners with a throughput of less than 75,000 barrels per day, many of those facilities are owned by multi-billion-dollar oil giants like Chevron, CVR, ExxonMobil, HollyFrontier, Marathon, Phillips 66 and Valero. Ethanol and biodiesel producers are justifiably slamming the latest agency RVO rule for its failure to take into account the millions of dollars in revenues lost due to the unprecedented flurry of hardship waivers that have been handed down under the Trump administration.
"The EPA, which traditionally grants waivers retroactively to previous years, issued six waivers for 2015, a number that rose under the Trump administration to 19 for 2016, 34 for 2017 and, as of mid-March, 37 for 2018. The industry has claimed in court filings that the exemptions have cost biofuel producers hundreds of millions of dollars in lost demand.
"Under the rule released Friday, at least 20.04 billion gallons of biofuels, including ethanol and biodiesel, would be required in 2020, up from 19.92 billion gallons this year. The increase is entirely attributable to the 122 million gallons allocated by the agency to cellulosic biofuels. The RVOs for 2020 include 5.04 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, which take in the higher cellulosic ethanol amount as well as biomass-based diesel. The conventional corn ethanol requirement stands at 15 billion gallons.
"The agency fixed the biodiesel RVO, which is set for a year ahead of other regulated biofuels, at 2.43 billion gallons, the same as it was set last year for 2020. Biomass-based diesel includes biodiesel, typically made from soybean oil, and renewable diesel is a form that is chemically similar to petroleum diesel.
"The biodiesel sector, which had requested 2.8 billion gallons for next year, had a justifiably harsh reaction, with industry leaders arguing the amounts allocated will flatline the industry's growth. And because EPA does not take into account small refinery exemptions granted to biodiesel blenders, the agency reduces the fuel's market space, hurting biodiesel producers and the soybean growers who supply much of the fuel's source feedstock...
Stating Carbon Fuel Standards
BIO World Congress Eyes Taking Low-Carbon Fuel Standards Beyond California
By Chris Clayton, DTN/Progressive Farmer
DES MOINES, Iowa, (DTN) -- The uncertainty of the federal Renewable Fuels Standard and political fights with the petroleum industry are giving more weight to the need for major biofuel states to consider their own low-carbon fuel standards.
After years of pushing for a federal low-carbon fuels standard, the Governors' Biofuels Coalition is turning more attention to states with governors who want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or governors in states with large renewable fuel industries, said Larry Pearce, executive director of the coalition.
"We can't get significant policy work done on the federal level that we need to get done," Pearce said.
Pearce highlighted the policy challenges at the BIO World Congress on Tuesday. Des Moines is hosting the BIO World Congress through Wednesday with more than 900 people from an array of biotechnology industries. The conference, though, is centered around themes tied to biofuels and agricultural sustainability.
Several events at the World Congress focus on alternative proteins, gene-editing technology and regulation, and various ways to expand bioenergy.
Pearce said more than a decade ago the group was getting senators to co-sponsor legislation for a national low-carbon fuels standard, but those kinds of initiatives have largely ground to a halt in Washington, D.C., he said.
"The petroleum industry is largely dictating what we do now and it's a nightmare," Pearce said.
The lobbying battle between biofuels and petroleum have become "so toxic" that Pearce said the biofuels coalition is turning attention more to strong biofuel states "where we have the political clout and where we have the talent to get it done, but that's kind of a shift from the model that's been used over the years."
A big question is whether more states will opt over time to create their own low-carbon fuel standards. California's low-carbon fuel standard right now is driving more efficiencies and carbon-intensity focus at Midwest ethanol plants. California's standard ratchets down the carbon intensity score for fuels over time and is driven to help lower the state's emissions at least 20% by 2030.
"That's a very strong long-term market signal and it has been very effective out there," said Graham Noyes, a California attorney and executive director of the Low Carbon Fuels Coalition.
Noyes later added, "There are robust discussions going on in the Midwestern states. Many of the ethanol states, I think, are seeing the value of the low-carbon fuel standard in a few of the states and wondering why there isn't something more like this closer to home rather than sending everything to California."
With the California standard, efficiency and process improvements in producing biofuels have become monetized, Noyes said. "That creates a big driver and has really driven carbon intensity in the ethanol space down, and in other energy spaces," Noyes said.
Carbon credits in California for corn ethanol are selling at 37 cents a gallon, which compares to 12 cents a gallon reported right now by EPA for a D-6 Renewable Identification Number (RIN). The California program is also driving E85 growth as much 30% to 35% a year as well...
... Smithfield Foods announced just last month it was constructing new biogas systems at its swine operations in Missouri and Utah...