New Growth Energy Podcast

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Growth Energy has launched a new monthly podcast discussing the latest developments in the ethanol industry.

In this first edition, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor discusses this very exciting week that has seen the biofuels industry unite, led by champions in the Senate and state governors, to get the attention of the White House and defend the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). She says the response to the pressure by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt in the form of a letter to senators he met with this week on the issue, is very encouraging. “I look forward to the promises becoming policy,” said Skor. “There have been commitments made so we look for the final renewable volume obligations to come out at the end of November and we see this in writing we will all be able to breathe a sigh of relief.”

Skor also comments on the Ethanol Summit of the Americas held in Houston this week that brought together industry and government officials from more than 15 countries in the Western Hemisphere to discuss current and future opportunities for ethanol in the region.

Listen to the podcast here: Growth Energy Podcast 10-20-17

Stay tuned for subscription details!

Audio, Driving Ethanol podcast, Ethanol, Growth Energy, Podcasting

Industry Just Says No to EPA NODA

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Ethanol, biodiesel, and agricultural organizations were united in their message to the Environmental Protection Agency in comments to a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) that would further reduce overall biofuels volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) – just no.

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), which was chosen to participate in EPA’s new Smart Sectors program, urged the agency to abandon proposed cuts to the RFS and engage in an open dialogue with the industry. “We believe that if EPA had the Smart Sectors program up and running prior to issuing the proposed renewable volume obligations for 2018 and the Notice of Data Availability discussing further reductions to those volumes, the Agency could have avoided much of the recent angst directed your way from Capitol Hill and the renewable fuels sector,” ACE executive vice president Brian Jennings in a cover letter to EPA with their comments.

The biodiesel industry is asking the agency to not only reverse course on proposed cuts, but increase biodiesel volumes substantially. Comments from the Iowa Biodiesel Board urge EPA instead to increase the advanced biofuel volume for 2018 in the final rule to at least 4.75 billion gallons, and increase the biomass-based diesel volume for 2019 to at least 2.5 billion gallons. The EPA proposed to set the 2018 RFS for advanced biofuels at 4.24 billion gallons, a decrease from 4.28 billion gallons for 2017, and the NODA suggests it should be revised even lower.

National Corn Growers Association president Kevin Skunes urged the EPA to not exercise any of the waiver authorities proposed in the NODA. “The further volume reductions summarized in the NODA would harm Congress’ energy and economic security objectives that motivated enactment of the RFS.”

Growth Energy and Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) filed joint comments. “The biofuel reductions in the NODA would pave a path that would reverse the progress of the Renewable Fuel Standard and undercut the benefits our nation is currently gaining from the RFS,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

Biodiesel, biofuels, corn, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy

Ethanol Report: Industry Putting Pressure on EPA

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With the deadline this week to comment on EPA’s recent Notice of Data Availability that would further lower biofuels volume levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), industry supporters have been putting pressure on the agency to uphold President Trump’s campaign promises.

In this edition of the Ethanol Report podcast, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen discusses how industry supporters have responded to recent EPA actions, talks about a new report on RINS and retail fuel prices, and provides RFA’s comments on the EPA notice: Ethanol Report on EPA Notice

Apparently all that pressure did make an impression:
In a letter to seven senators sent late Thursday, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt committed to final 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations at levels equal or greater to those that the agency proposed in July, as well as a commitment to finalize the rule by the Nov. 30 statutory deadline. In the letter, Pruitt also announced EPA will finalize a decision within the next 30 days to deny a change to the point of obligation for compliance with the RFS, the agency will “actively explore” whether it has the legal authority to approve year-round access to E15 and the agency will not take action on a rumored proposal to allow ethanol exports to count towards RFS compliance.

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Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, RFA, RFS

E15 Stations on the Rise Nationwide

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There are now more than 1,000 fuel stations around the country offering 15 percent ethanol blended fuel (E15), which is more than double the number of stations from the same time last year.

“This spectacular growth is a testament to the value E15 brings to fuel retailers and consumers,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor. “Forward-thinking retailers have figured out that giving their customers more fuel choices is smart business and American drivers have figured out that E15 allows them to save money at the pump all while making a smarter choice for their engines and the environment.”

Leading retailers including Casey’s, Cenex, Family Express, Kum & Go, Kwik Trip, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec Fuel, QuikTrip, RaceTrac, Sheetz, and Thorntons all currently offer E15 at 1,039 locations across the U.S. Many of these are in major metropolitan areas including: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

E15, Ethanol, Growth Energy

ACE Makes Case for Higher Ethanol Blends to Retailers

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is talking to fuel retailers about higher ethanol blends at the 2017 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show this week in Chicago, with Bob O’Connor, Owner of Jetz Convenience Centers, on hand to help answer questions from a retailer point of view.

Last November, Jetz became the first retailer to offer E15 to the Milwaukee market, and they opened their second E15 location last month. “We wouldn’t be adding Unleaded 88 (E15) and E85 at a second location if it wasn’t doing so well at the first,” O’Connor said. Both Jetz flex fuel locations report selling more E85 than premium and diesel combined.

“Our Flex Fuel Forward campaign recognizes the reality that marketers trust information they get from other marketers. They want to hear from other station owners who have already ‘been there and done that,’” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President. “Website traffic to backs that up: three of the most viewed pages feature retailers addressing common questions and concerns of other retailers. We’ve invited Bob to join us at NACS, the largest convenience store show in the world, to speak to retailers in person.”

ACE is debuting the first of a series of videos that showcase these stories and answer frequently asked questions about E15 and flex fuels at its booth at the NACS show. Following the show, a new video will be released on each month.

ACE, Ethanol, Retailers

Iowa Biofuels Interests Get White House Attention

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President Donald Trump called Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds Wednesday to assure her that he continues to support the renewable fuels industry.

“He reached out to me,” said Gov. Reynolds during a press conference in Iowa. “He made it clear that he stood with the Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Gov. Reynolds also got a call from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who met with Iowa Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley Tuesday about the same issue. She also has meetings set up in Washington DC next week with the president and vice president. The governor and other industry leaders have been questioning the administration’s commitment to renewable fuels in light of recent EPA proposals that threaten to rollback the RFS, and she vowed to keep the pressure on until the final RFS volume obligations are approved.

“They are feeling the pressure and that’s why we can’t let up,” said Reynolds. “I’m very encouraged, it was a positive conversation, and we’re going to continue that conversation next week.”

EPA recently announced it is considering cuts to the RFS for biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, and advanced biofuels, and is also reportedly considering allowing ethanol exports to generate RINs for RFS compliance. The press conference at Two Rivers Cooperative in Pella on Wednesday also included comments from Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw, Iowa Biodiesel Board Executive Director Grant Kimberley, and
Dennis Bogaards, an Iowa soybean and corn farmer in the Pella community.

Listen to it here: Iowa RFS press conference

Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFS

RFA Receives Grant for Ethanol Safety Training

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The Renewable Fuels Association has received a $50,000 federal grant to help continue the its ethanol safety training program efforts.

The Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training (ALERT) grant, from the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, was awarded to the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). RFA is among several partners in the grant.

The grant, which RFA has previously received in partnership with IAFC, provides hazmat training for volunteer or remote emergency responders to effectively manage emergency events involving incidents involving the transportation of ethanol, crude and other flammable liquids by rail.

“Training is critical to ensure the safety of first responders and communities,” said John Woulfe, assistant director of Programs and Technology for IAFC. “RFA’s ethanol safety training program has done a great job of educating emergency personnel on how to effectively respond to hazmat incidents. We look forward to another successful year of RFA ethanol training events,” he said.

As part of the grant, RFA will conduct 10 ethanol safety seminars through mid-September 2018. Since 2010, RFA has received a total of $546,000 in state and federal grant funding to help local communities in 38 states train on ethanol emergency response tactics and procedures, held 222 ethanol safety seminars, conducted 12 “Train the Trainer” webinars and conducted numerous online ethanol safety training courses.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

Report Finds Opportunities for Ethanol and DDG Exports

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A new report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) says an increase in global ethanol mandates is creating additional export opportunities for the U.S. ethanol industry, but it depends on the ability to increase production and keep those markets open.

According to Global Ethanol Mandates: Opportunities for U.S. Exports of Ethanol and DDGS, 26 countries have implemented blending mandates since 2010. “If these countries actively strive to fulfill their mandates, strong export market opportunities for U.S. ethanol could be possible, assuming that the United States can sufficiently expand production,” the report states.

Currently, the United States has more than 50 export destinations for DDGS and more than 70 for ethanol, thus opportunities might be found. However, trade barriers hamper current exports, and may limit them in the future. Many countries promote policies designed to utilize their own domestic production and import only a small amount. If major markets continue to block trade, export opportunities could be limited.

The report notes that large-scale production of cellulosic-based ethanol could allow the United States to meet future global export opportunities for corn, corn-based products, and ethanol.

Link to report.

Distillers Grains, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, USDA

Iowa Fighting to Protect RFS

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Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) met with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt Tuesday to express her concerns over the agency’s recent action to potentially lower biodiesel volumes in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for 2018 and 2019.

After the meeting, Sen. Ernst said that while Pruitt has “insisted that the recent actions taken by the EPA are simply to receive additional input on the RFS from stakeholders, it is evident that the ‘stakeholders’ he refers to are not the farmers and manufacturers” of biodiesel.

“Our meeting today was another clear demonstration that biofuel-producing states will never stop fighting to protect the RFS. Administrator Pruitt again claimed today that he will not do anything to undermine the program. However, we have heard this before. We now need to see it. I will continue to work with the EPA, but they must prove to the agricultural community who put their faith in this administration that they will fulfill their promise to maintain the letter and the spirit of the RFS. We will not accept anything less.”

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley also met with Pruitt on Tuesday with the same message and today Governor Kim Reynolds is joining the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Iowa Biodiesel Board, and Iowa farmers to discuss the threat recent EPA proposals pose to the future of the biofuels industry. The event will be webcast live from Two Rivers Cooperative in Pella at 1:30 central time.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Pink at the Pump Campaign Grows

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Missouri is now part of the Pink at the Pump™ campaign against breast cancer as Hometown Fuel across the Iowa border in Mercer joined the cause last week. The annual campaign is now active in six states – Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Texas, and Virginia.

Pink at the Pump™ is a partnership between Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), Iowa Corn Promotion Board, National Breast Cancer Foundation, The Hormel Institute, and fuel retailers to raise money for breast cancer research, early detection, and support services and increase consumer awareness of the benefits of E15. At participating retail stations, three cents of every gallon of E15 sold during the month of October will be donated to The Hormel Institute and National Breast Cancer Foundation.

“Participating in Pink at the Pump™ is a great way for motorists to learn about all the many environmental and economic benefits of E15,” said IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “E15 reduces cancer-causing chemicals and greenhouse gas emissions, making it truly the cleanest fuel choice on the market for all 2001 and newer vehicles. It is also a smart buy at a lower cost with a higher octane rating.”

To find a participating Pink at the Pump™ station and learn more about the promotion, click here.

Ethanol, Ethanol News