Iowa Budget Includes $3M for Biofuels Infrastructure

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Governor Kim Reynolds released her 2019 Iowa budget proposal this week, including $3 million for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP), which provides cost-share grants to help Iowa retailers incorporate blender pumps, storage tanks, and other necessary equipment to offer higher blends of biofuels.

“IRFA members want to thank Gov. Reynolds for prioritizing funding for blender pumps through Iowa’s Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program in her budget,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Monte Shaw. “RFIP was identified in the Iowa Energy Plan as one of the best ways to help Iowa become number one in both the production and use of homegrown energy like ethanol and biodiesel. Gov. Reynolds continues to play a key role in pressing the Trump Administration to keep its commitments to renewable fuels, and she continues to lead here in Iowa as well.”

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

Ethanol Stakeholders React to Wheeler Hearing

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Ethanol industry organizations commended Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for his commitment to getting a rule allowing year-round sales of E15 (15% ethanol blended fuel) before the start of this year’s summer driving season but still expressed some concerns.

“We were encouraged to hear Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler commit to completing the year-round E15 regulatory fix before the summer driving season begins, but we are disappointed that there was no commitment to repair the significant damage to the ethanol industry caused by his predecessor’s issuance of RFS compliance bailouts to highly profitable oil refiners,” said Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper. “And despite Mr. Wheeler’s assurance on the timing of the E15 rule, we remain concerned that the partial shutdown is compressing a timeline that was already very tight. We believe EPA would greatly improve its chances of getting the regulatory fix done before summer if it separated the year-round E15 provisions from so-called ‘RIN reform’ provisions that are also being considered as part of this rulemaking package.”

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings commended Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) for pressing Wheeler about the E15 rule, as well as demand destruction created by the large number small refinery exemptions.

“We appreciate that Acting Administrator Wheeler assured the senators that EPA is ‘still on schedule’ for issuing a final rule allowing year-round E15 sales in time for this summer’s driving season, but his caveat of if the government is back up and running in a “reasonable length of time’ is no excuse for a delay,” said Jennings. “It’s been more than three months since President Trump directed EPA to lift Reid vapor pressure (RVP) restrictions on E15, so why didn’t EPA set rulemaking wheels in motion in November, December, or January?”

ACE, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Wheeler Affirms Commitment to E15 Timetable

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Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler confirmed the agency’s commitment to getting a rule on year-round E15 out in time for the summer driving season, as long as the partial government shutdown allows it to happen.

“We’re still on schedule for that, (but) we’re not able to work on it during the government shutdown,” said Wheeler during a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on his nomination to take the job of administrator.

Several senators questioned Wheeler on the E15 rulemaking, including Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) who wanted to know if EPA has been able to take any action on the rule during the shutdown. “I’m afraid not on the E15,” said Wheeler. “It’s not a court-ordered deadline for us and it’s not considered an emergency.”

Ernst also questioned Wheeler about small refinery waivers pending and if the current low price for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINS) will impact whether they are approved. Listen to the exchange between Ernst and Wheeler here: Sen. Ernst questions EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler

Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota asked Wheeler specifically about the timeline for the E15 rulemaking. “We were originally planning on issuing the proposal in February,” said Wheeler. “We may be slightly delayed at this point, but we will get it done before the summer driving season.”
Sen. Rounds questions EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler

Oil state Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), critic of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), asked about the “reset” of statutory blending targets under the RFS and expressed concern that EPA was “only listening to one side of the argument” – that of the ethanol industry. EPA nominee Andrew Wheeler response on RFS reset

Audio, E15, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government

RFA Launches E15 Awareness Campaign

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The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) has kicked off a new campaign aimed at educating consumers and policymakers about the benefits of E15 in anticipation of the blend being available year-round. The campaign started this week with digital ads on The Washington Post and the launch of a new consumer-facing web site.

The ads, with the tagline “E15. Clean. Affordable. Domestic. Fuel,” outline the numerous benefits of using E15, which is approved for use in more than 90 percent of the vehicles on the road today. Currently, E15 cannot be sold during the summer months in most of the country, due to an outdated regulation which President Trump has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to eliminate.

The partial government shutdown has made the timeline for EPA to propose and approve new regulations much tighter, but the agency has promised this regulatory barrier will be removed in time for consumers to be able to enjoy the benefits of E15 this summer and the rest of the year. Speaking to the American Farm Bureau Federation this week, the President confirmed that his Administration is “…ensuring that ethanol remains a vital part of America’s energy future with E15. We’re making it available year-round, all 12 months, that’s a big difference for the farmers.”

To view the full ad campaign, visit ethanolrfa.org/e15cleanfuel/.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA

Biodiesel Conference Next Week in San Diego

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America’s largest celebration of all things biodiesel returns to San Diego next week for a record fifth visit in the Golden State. Local residents are invited to join in the festivities at no cost during the National Biodiesel Conference and Expo kick off at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina on Tuesday, January 22.

The conference, which runs through Thursday the 24th, will offer a diesel-vehicle ride-and-drive opportunity and dozens of demonstrations and presentations on the latest in public policy under the Trump Administration and a new Congress; the environmental and commercial benefits of biodiesel use; and more focus on California and Western carbon markets.

National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen says California is the largest market for renewable fuels, driven by the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). “Biodiesel and renewable diesel have been the real stars of the LFCS,” Rehagen said. “Since 2011, biodiesel and renewable diesel use in California has grown from 14 million gallons to more than 500 million gallons today. That represents a compounded annual growth rate of 89 percent and was nearly 20 percent of the national market for biodiesel last year.”

And the future looks even brighter. According to targets set by the state, biodiesel and renewable diesel use could reach one billion gallons by 2021 and as much as two billion gallons by 2030.

NBB Director of Communications Kaleb Little provides a preview of the conference:
NBB conference preview with Kaleb Little

Follow the action next week on the Biodiesel Conference Blog for the 14th year!

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Iowa Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards

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Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig presented Casey’s General Stores and Quick Oil Company with the 2019 Ethanol and Biodiesel Marketing Awards at the FUEL-Iowa annual meeting Tuesday in Des Moines. The awards were created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to recognize fuel marketers that have gone above and beyond in their efforts to promote and sell renewable fuels.

“Casey’s and Quick Oil Company have shown great leadership and commitment to marketing our homegrown renewable fuels. I am very proud to recognize the investment they have made to not only our renewable fuels industry, but the environment and Iowa economy as well,” Naig said.

Casey’s is rapidly adding E15 and E85 locations in Iowa and promoting its availability to customers. From 2017 to 2018, Casey’s went from two E15 and E85 stations in Iowa to 13.

Quick Oil Company has 11 employees and operates two tank wagons and three bulk fueling plants. They serve a primary customer base of farmers, contractors, and various other end-use customers.

FUELIowa is the new name for the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa (PMCI), the state trade association serving the needs of independent petroleum marketers and convenience store owners throughout the state.

Biodiesel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Retailers

Governor Reynolds to Keynote Iowa RFA

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will once again address the annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit to discuss the many ways biofuels boost the state’s economy, protect the environment, and drive Iowa into the future.

“Iowans play a tremendous role in America’s renewable fuel industry,” Governor Reynolds said. “Since the very beginning, we saw its unlimited potential and now our state leads the country in production. The ripple effect is incredible, especially when you consider renewable fuels supports nearly 47,000 Iowa jobs. That’s why I’m excited to address this year’s Summit attendees and share Iowa’s success story.”

Also on the Summit program is former EPA staffer Paul Argyropoulos, who oversaw the implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for over a decade. Argyropoulos is now President of Policy Nexus Advisors and he will share his thoughts on the history and future of the RFS with attendees at the summit.

The Summit will take place at the Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa on Tuesday, January 29. The event is free to attend and open to the public but registration is required. The last day to preregister is January 25, 2019.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA, IRFA Renewable Fuels Summit

President Includes Ethanol in Farm Bureau Speech

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It took a while to get there, but President Donald Trump did mention ethanol in his speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation 100th Annual Convention Monday.

“We’re ensuring that ethanol remains a vital part of America’s energy future with E15 and we’re making it available year round, all 12 months, that’s a big difference for the farmers,” said Trump. “Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, your senators – a lot of great people were very strong on that.”

The president also tied that action into the current lower gas prices, which he said “didn’t happen by accident.”

“We saw $1.75 for gasoline today coming in,” Trump said. “I’m in ‘The Beast’ and I’m looking at gas stations.”

It may have been only a brief mention in the one hour address, but it was very much appreciated by ethanol industry stakeholders who tweeted their thanks to the president.

Listen here: AFBF19 President Trump ethanol comments

AFBF, Audio, E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News

ACE Announces DC Fly-in Dates

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) will hold its 11th annual Washington, D.C. Fly-in and Government Affairs Summit April 2-3 this year.

“Ethanol producers are experiencing economic stress due to artificial limits on demand and we have more policy irons in the fire than ever before. Given these stakes, we encourage ethanol supporters to mark their calendars for the ACE fly-in and join us April 2 and 3 in D.C.,” said Brian Jennings, ACE CEO. “More than 100 new Members of Congress recently took their oaths of office and it is up to us to make sure they understand the importance and value of a strong U.S. ethanol industry.”

The meetings will take place at the Liaison Capitol Hill hotel and on Capitol Hill. Fly-in attendees will meet with Trump administration officials to emphasize the importance of completing a legally defensible Reid vapor pressure (RVP) rule for E15 before the 2019 summer driving season and argue for reallocation of the waived gallons from the Renewable Fuel Standard through refinery waivers. Participants will also advocate for increasing ethanol demand through low-carbon and high-octane policies.

Event registration and sponsorship opportunities are available at ethanol.org/events/fly-in.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News

National Biodiesel Board Hires Federal Affairs Director

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The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has hired David W. Cobb as Director of Federal Affairs to work in the organization’s Washington D.C. office.

Cobb most recently served as Federal Affairs Director for CHS Inc., a Fortune 100 company and the nation’s largest farmer-owned cooperative, where he advocated for the company’s legislative and regulatory policy priorities. Prior to his six years at CHS, he worked in government affairs for S&P Global, as a legislative assistant for Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), and for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

“I am pleased to add David Cobb to the NBB team as our new Director of Federal Affairs,” said NBB CEO Donnell Rehagen. “David brings direct experience in the agriculture, biofuel and refining industries and can hit the ground running on behalf of the biodiesel industry.”

Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs, added, “David Cobb is a great addition to the NBB team who will help broaden the biodiesel industry’s advocacy in Washington. He brings deep knowledge of the legislative process and the inner workings of Congress.”

Biodiesel, NBB