RFA Hosting Ethanol Safety Seminar in Wisconsin

Join the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) for a free ethanol safety seminar on Saturday, June 4, 2016 in La Crosse Wisconsin from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm CT at the Western Technical College- Lunda Center.  Lunch will be provided. RFA was recently honored with an award related to their ethanol safety training seminars and this upcoming seminar continues their work in educating first responders and hazmat personnel on how to handle ethanol-related emergencies.

rfalogo1“Safety is a top priority for the Renewable Fuels Association and our members,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “It is important that those responsible for safety in their communities have the proper resources and training to be prepared if there is an ethanol incident in their area.”

Attendees will receive in-depth information on proper training techniques that emergency responders and hazmat personnel need to effectively respond to an ethanol-related emergency. Certificates of Completion will be handed out to all attendees at the end of each safety seminar.

The ethanol safety seminar will be hosted in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition and TRANSCAER.  The seminar is free to attend and open to the public. Click here to register.

USDA Leading Mexico Trade Mission

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse is leading a U.S. ethanol mission to Mexico on May 24–25, 2016 to explore trade opportunities. On hand for the trip will be ethanol industry representatives from the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), Growth Energy and the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). While there, they will be meeting with government officials, legislators and the Mexican private industry.

Screen Shot 2016-05-24 at 9.22.29 AMAccording to the USDA, mission members will share their experiences with both ethanol production and the development of renewable fuels policies, with the goal of demonstrating how Mexico can implement its own renewable fuels program.

“Mexico, with the right policies in place, has the potential to achieve similar benefits producing ethanol from sugarcane,” Scuse said in a statement. “We view this as a partnership that can provide benefits for both Mexico and the United States.”

One reason for the visit is state-owned oil company PEMEX has plans to begin selling E6 (5.8 percent) ethanol-blended gasoline in selected cities in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, and Veracruz. Implementation of a nationwide E6 fuel option in Mexico would create a potential market for 790 million gallons of ethanol.

“The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of ethanol and for several years now has been the low cost supplier as well, allowing us to dramatically increase our exports. With domestic use artificially capped by EPA at 14.8 billion gallons, we will continue to seek export opportunities,” said RFA General Counsel Ed Hubbard, who attended the trade mission. “The world is short on octane and looking for low carbon alternative fuels to meet the climate change goals set in Paris last December. This is the right time to explore new trade opportunities. Mexico, in particular, should be looking for replacements to the highly toxic MTBE. Ethanol can help.”

Ryan LeGrand, USGC director in Mexico, added, “With the current reform to energy regulations in Mexico, the U.S. Grains Council believes that now’s the time to introduce ethanol into the Mexican fuel market in hopes of it one day becoming the principle oxygenate used in the country,” said “We see significant potential for exports of U.S. ethanol to Mexico — and therefore, U.S. grain demand — if the right policies are in place.”

RFA to Hold FSMA Training Classes

rfalogo1The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is hosting four training courses to help biorefineries meet new requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The classes, which are FDA-approved, are geared toward ethanol plant employees overseeing the food safety plan of the ethanol plant. The course will assist ethanol plants with FSMA compliance, provide accurate and fact-based information and the means to compliance.

RFA Director of Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis, who holds an instructors certification, will conduct the training classes. “With the rigorous FDA training I received, I understand the letter and spirit of the law, and the nuances ethanol plants will need to know in order to comply as cost effectively as possible,” said Davis. “These training classes will be essential to help navigate the FSMA requirements.”

Registration is now open for the four classes:

  • Training Session #1: July 27–29, Omaha, Neb.
  • Training Session #2: Aug. 17–19, Des Moines, Iowa
  • Training Session #3: Aug. 24–26, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Training Session #4: Sept. 14–16, Indianapolis, Ind.

Each session will include course materials, refreshments and lunch. Attendees will receive an approved PCQI certificate upon successful completion of the course. Each session is limited to 40 attendees, reservations are required and slots are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. The course is offered to RFA members at no charge and the registration fee for non-members is $1,800. To reserve your spot at one of the above sessions, please contact Ann Lewis or Kelly Davis.

In September 2015, FDA finalized regulations for producing safe animal food, in the case of ethanol plants safe dried distillers grains (DDGs). Covered facilities must establish and implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventative controls. FSMA requires a Preventative Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) be in charge of the risk-based food preventative controls plan and receive certification through an FDA-sanctioned training course and those taught by FDA-certified lead instructors. RFA has been involved with the standardized curriculum development of the FDA recognized Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance for the Animal Food.

RFA Reacts to EPA 2017 RFS Proposal

ethanol-report-adThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its draft Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2017 on Wednesday proposing a total renewable fuel volume of 18.8 billion gallons, including four billion in advanced biofuels and 312 million gallons is cellulosic biofuel.

In this interview, Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Bob Dinneen says the proposal falls 200 million gallons short of the statute and that EPA is relying on an illegal interpretation of its waiver authority under the RFS. Dinneen does give EPA credit for releasing the proposal in a timely fashion and notes that the agency will be providing an opportunity for the industry to provide public comment during a hearing in Kansas City on June 9.

Listen here: Ethanol Report on EPA 2017 RFS Proposal

EPA 2017 RFS Rules Sparks Inferno

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its draft of the proposed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) renewable volume obligations (RVOs) for 2017 and have sparked an inferno of unrest among the biofuels industry. EPA has proposed an RVO of 18.8 billion gallons (BG) of which 4 BG is advanced biofuels and 312 million gallons is cellulosic biofuels. The RVO for first generation biofuels, such as corn ethanol, is 14.8 BG, an RVO under mandated legislation. The ethanol industry has consistently and often called on the EPA to adhere to congressional intent by increasing blending targets, but has not done so. Today, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), among several other biofuel associations and companies, are involved in litigation on the final 2014-2016 targets.

rfalogo1“For months, EPA has been saying it plans to put the program ‘back on track.’ Today’s proposal fails to do that,” responded RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen to the draft rules. “The agency continues to cater to the oil industry by relying upon an illegal interpretation of its waiver authority and concern over a blend wall that the oil industry itself is creating. As a consequence, consumers are being denied higher octane, lower cost renewable fuels. Investments in new technology and advanced biofuels will continue to languish and greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles will be unnecessarily higher.”

“The real frustration is that EPA seems to be artificially constraining this market,” continued Dinneen. “The RFA has demonstrated just how easy it would be for obligated parties to reach the 15 billion gallon statutory volume for conventional biofuels next year. The fact is with rising gasoline demand, increased E15 and E85 use made possible by USDA’s infrastructure grant program, continued use of renewable diesel and conventional biodiesel that also generate D6 RINs (renewable identification numbers), well more than 15 billion gallons will be used next year. All of that is in addition to the 2 billion surplus RINs available to refiners due to EPA’s tepid enforcement of the RFS in the past.” (Click here to read Bob Dinneen’s full statement.)

aceBrian Jennings, executive vice president of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) highlights an excuse from EPA used to rein-in the RFS is data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that shows gasoline consumption is falling. According to EIA, gasoline use rose to 9.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2015 – just shy of the 2007 record of 9.29 million bpd. In 2016, EIA predicts a new gasoline use record of 9.3 million bpd will be set and that trend will continue into 2017.

“EPA has claimed they can’t require oil companies to add more ethanol to a shrinking gasoline pool because of the so-called E10 blend wall. Under that logic, EPA’s ethanol blending volumes for 2017 should increase to statutory levels because gasoline use is on a steady rise and will set a new record this year. While we are pleased that EPA’s 2017 proposal increases ethanol blending levels from 2016, we remain disappointed that EPA falls back on the questionable E10 blend wall methodology which has disrupted implementation of the RFS for more than a year,” said Jennings. (Read Brian Jennings full statement here.)

NCGA-Logo-3Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, president of the National Corn Growers Association also acknowledged that the EPA has moved forward, but not enough and the result is to move America backward. “In the past, the EPA has cited a lack of fuel infrastructure as one reason for failing to follow statute. Our corn farmers and the ethanol industry have responded. Over the past year, we’ve invested millions of dollars along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership to accelerate public and private investment in new ethanol pumps and fuel infrastructure. The fact is,” added Bowling, “today’s driver has more access than ever to renewable fuel choices.” (Read Chip Bowling’s full statement here.)

Ethanol supporters are in agreement that the EPA must be taken to task and reinstate mandated blending levels. The groups said they will continue to work to make this happen and encourage ethanol supporters to let their voices be heard in their local communities, and with state and federal legislators.

RFF, MathPro Host #Ethanol Octane Webinars

RFA-MatchPro logoMembers of the ethanol industry interested in learning more about the octane benefits of ethanol, as well as other ethanol benefits, can now do so in a five-part webinar series hosted by the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF), the education and research arm of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), and MathPro, fuel refining experts. The webinar series kicks off next month and will focus on ethanol’s unique octane properties and ethanol’s potential role as the octane source of choice in future fuels. RFA says the webinar series is in response to the call from automakers for higher octane fuels that provide better engine efficiency and to assist in facilitating compliance with future fuel economy and greenhouse gas reduction standards.

The ethanol octane webinar series includes:

  • Webinar #1: “All About Octane” – June 9 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #2: “Gasoline Refining and Blending 101” – July 7 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #3: “Gasoline Blending 102 (with Ethanol)” – July 28 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #4: “Future CAFE Standards” – Aug. 18 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #5:“Economics of High Octane Fuels” – Sept. 8 (11am-12pm CDT)

“Guided by the experts at MathPro, these webinars will provide stakeholders with a better understanding of ethanol’s important role in the fuel supply today, as well as the immense opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for ethanol-based high octane fuels,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “As automakers continue to pursue higher octane fuels, ethanol is well positioned to serve as the lowest-cost, lowest-carbon and cleanest octane source on the market. But there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome in order to solidify an expanded role for ethanol in our future fuels.”

The webinars are offered to RFA members at no charge. The fee for non-members is $250 per session or $1,000 for all five webinars. To reserve your spot, contact Missy Ruff.

Cassie Mullen Joins RFA Team

cassieCassie Mullen has joined Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as the director of market development. She will focus on working with the supply chain to facilitate expansion of infrastructure capable of offering higher level ethanol blends to consumers. Prior to joining the RFA team Mullen worked as an executive for Seneca Companies, managing a 17-state territory of retailer accounts.

“Cassie brings a wealth of fuel equipment and fuel marketing experience to the RFA,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Cassie’s expertise will prove to be invaluable as the U.S. ethanol industry works with downstream partners to offer greater access to higher level ethanol blends such as E15, E85, and future ethanol-based high octane fuels. Infrastructure is critically important for future growth of the ethanol industry. Between USDA’s Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership Program and the industry’s Prime the Pump initiative, Cassie’s unique background and knowledge will be in high demand. She will be a welcome addition to the RFA team, already known for its unrivaled technical and regulatory expertise. Cassie knows the players in the retail market and she knows the business case for higher ethanol blends. Her impact will be felt immediately.”

She has been working with fuel retailers for more than two decades, conducting station equipment evaluations, providing equipment recommendations and helping them build new stations. She is well versed in environmental compliance, EMV and major oil branding and marketing agreements, and has even owned retail stations during her career.

“I am thrilled to be joining RFA and look forward to working with their technical and marketing staff to help support the market’s transition to higher-level ethanol blends,” said Mullen. “My background working with fuel retailers and owning stations gives me a unique perspective, and I plan to use that knowledge to help boost consumer access to higher ethanol blends. Retailers are increasingly interested in offering a broader array of fuel choices, and I plan to help them understand and pursue the value proposition associated with higher level ethanol blends.”

RFA Wins TRANSCAER Award for Ethanol Safety

For the fourth time, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), has won the TRANSCAER National Achievement Award for hosting its series of ethanol safety seminars last year for first and emergency responders. The award is given in recognition of great achievement in rfalogo1support of the TRANSCAER initiative, a volunteer coalition that works to ensure the safety of emergency responsders, in this instance how to prepare and handle hazardous material incidents. In 2015, RFA held 15 ethanol safety seminars and two Train the Trainer events, which trained 541 emergency responders on how to properly respond to an ethanol incident.

Additionally, RFA Technical Services Manager Missy Ruff received a TRANSCAER Individual Achievement Award for her work last year in planning the ethanol safety events.

“We are honored to receive this award for the fourth year in a row, and for Missy’s outstanding work in coordinating these essential events,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Safety is the ethanol industry’s top priority, and while recent data shows ethanol has been delivered 99.999 percent of the time without incident, we know accidents can happen. We want first responders to be prepared in the rare instance a release occurs.”

Since December 2010, RFA has held 167 ethanol safety seminars spanning 29 states, training more than 5,000 emergency responders.

Bill Attempts to Cap Ethanol Blends

A new bill was introduced this week that would cap ethanol blends in the U.S. transportation fuel system to no more than 9.7 percent by volume. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.), all biofuel critics. This bill is in conflict to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), an energy policy designed to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Ethanol Pump Photo May 2016 Joanna Schroeder

Photo Credit: Joanna Schroeder

Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen responded to the bill by saying, “Passage of this bill would represent a complete capitulation to the oil industry that steadfastly refuses to provide consumers higher octane, lower cost alternative fuels at the pump. They whine about a so-called blend wall even as they continue to build it themselves by denying consumer access to E15 and E85. The RFS was made necessary by oil company intransigence. It was intended to break the stranglehold oil companies have on the motor fuel market by forcing access. This bill would gut the RFS and send America’s energy and climate change policy back decades. Americans want choices at the pump, they want to see lower carbon fuels, they want to spend less on motor fuel, and they want to stimulate investments in new technologies and new fuels to drive our economy in a low carbon world. This bill would sacrifice all of that at the altar of Big Oil, and that is why it will never pass.”