Registration Open for 25th National Ethanol Conference

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Registration is now open for the Renewable Fuels Association’s (RFA) 25th annual National Ethanol Conference (NEC), to be held Feb. 10-12, 2020, in Houston.

RFA Board Chairman Neil Koehler, co-founder and CEO of Pacific Ethanol, says the theme “Focus Forward” will look ahead to what the next quarter-century will bring for the U.S. ethanol industry.

“For the past 25 years, this conference has been bringing the industry and its allies together to learn, share, network and celebrate our hard work,” Koehler said. “There will be so much to talk about in 2020, from presidential politics to increased calls for action on climate concerns. At the same time we’re talking about politics and policy, we’re also moving forward when it comes to building new markets, driving efficiency and advancing sustainability.”

The NEC is the nation’s most widely attended executive-level conference for the ethanol industry. At the 2019 NEC, about 1,000 industry leaders and professionals attended, representing 38 states and the District of Columbia. A strong international presence was also felt, with attendees from 16 countries.

Visit NationalEthanolConference.com for more information and registration.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, RFA

Biofuels Industry Reacts to Administration Plan

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Under the biofuels plan announced Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020 and will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.

Industry organizations have reacted positively to the plan but there are concerns that it does not account for the millions of gallons already lost under the SREs that have already been granted.

Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper says the plan is “a crucial step toward repairing the damage done by EPA’s small refinery waivers and re-establishes the RFS as a driver of growth in the production and use of low carbon renewable fuels.”

“It is important to remember that today’s announcement marks the beginning—not the end—of an EPA regulatory process, and much work remains to be done. We will continue to diligently work with EPA and the administration to ensure this action is finalized in a way that guarantees a 15-billion-gallon requirement in 2020 truly is a 15-billion-gallon requirement.”

Interview with RFA CEO Geoff Cooper on administration biofuels plan

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings says it’s good EPA will account for waivers beginning in 2020 but bad that they are “doing nothing to reallocate the more than 4 billion gallons of RFS blending obligations waived for refineries from the 2016, 2017 and 2018 compliance years.”

“Because this plan is short on details and the final outcome is dependent upon a new rulemaking process, it’s unrealistic and premature for me to conclusively praise it at this stage.”

Interview with ACE CEO Brian Jennings on administration biofuels plan

National Biodiesel Board Vice President of Federal Affairs Kurt Kovarik says, “Proper accounting of the exemptions is vital to ensure that the annual RFS volumes send a reliable signal to biodiesel producers, who are making investments and plans for the future.”

“The biodiesel industry relies on the RFS program to support continued growth and market development. While today’s proposal addresses the lost gallons from future exemptions, it does not provide for additional volumes of biomass-based diesel in 2021. We will continue to press EPA to send signals for future growth for biodiesel producers and soybean farmers.
Interview with NBB VP Kurt Kovarik on administration biofuels plan (6:48)

ACE, Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NBB, RFA, RFS

EPA and USDA Announce Biofuels Agreement

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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and USDA Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued joint statements on an agreement promoting biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“President Trump’s leadership has led to an agreement that continues to promote domestic ethanol and biodiesel production, supporting our Nation’s farmers and providing greater energy security,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Today’s agreement is the latest in a series of steps we have taken to expand domestic energy production and improve the RFS program that will result in sustained biofuel production to help American farmers.”

“President Trump has once again demonstrated that he is a champion for our nation’s farmers and rural America,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “The President recognizes that American farmers are the most productive in the world, and he has found a way to pursue policy that promotes economic growth and supports our producers. Building on the success of the year-round E15 rule, this forward-looking agreement makes improvements to the RFS program that will better harness the production of our farmers and ensure America remains energy dominant.”

The announcement today outlines the following actions to be taken by EPA and USDA:

EPA will propose and request public comment on expanding biofuel requirements beginning in 2020.

EPA will seek comment on actions to ensure that more than 15 billion gallons of conventional ethanol be blended into the nation’s fuel supply beginning in 2020, and that the volume obligation for biomass-based diesel is met. This will include accounting for relief expected to be provided for small refineries.

EPA intends to take final action on this front later this year.

In addition, EPA will initiate a rulemaking process to streamline labeling and remove other barriers to the sale of E15 and continue to evaluate options for RIN market transparency and reform. USDA will seek opportunities through the budget process to consider infrastructure projects to facilitate higher biofuel blends. And finally, the Administration will continue to work to address ethanol and biodiesel trade issues.

Biofuel and farmer organizations are thanking the administration for this action which they say would put the RFS back on track.

Biodiesel, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFS, USDA

Corn and Ethanol Producers Waiting for Relief

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

Ethanol producers and corn farmers held a telephone press conference Wednesday to spotlight recent research on the impacts of ethanol plant closings, a new survey on voter attitudes about ethanol, and a potential White House agreement to promote further renewable fuels use.

The main message from Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Geoff Cooper, new National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Ross, and others on the call, is that they need to see the EPA do something to account for gallons lost to small refinery exemptions, as required under the law.

Commenting on news reports this week that the administration is close to making an announcement on a package to help, Cooper said it can’t come soon enough. “Each day that passes without a resolution is one step closer to the abyss” for farmers and ethanol plants. He talked about 18 plants that have closed permanently or temporarily recently and how that impacts the community.

RFA Chairman Neil Koehler with Pacific Ethanol, which has shut down one of its plants, says he has been in the ethanol business for 35 years. “This is the worst year we have ever experienced,” and it is the direct result of EPA granting the small refinery exemptions without redistributing those gallons.

“We are not asking for anything other than for EPA to uphold the RFS,” said Ross. “This issue has certainly hurt a lot of markets for farmers and created more of an issue going into a fall where we need markets opened up and we need crops to move.”

Also on the call were farmer Brian Thalmann, immediate past president of Minnesota Corn Growers, and Al-Corn Clean Fuel CEO Randy Doyal.

Listen to opening remarks:
RFA call on ethanol industry issues

Audio, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NCGA, RFA, RFS

Survey Finds Support for RFS, Not for Waivers

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A new survey of registered voters finds strong opposition to allowing oil refiners out of their obligations to blend renewable fuels into gasoline.

New polling data released today by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) found opposition to refinery waivers by a margin of nearly two to one. The nationwide survey by Morning Consult also found strong support for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard. In fact, support for the Renewable Fuel Standard reached its highest level since RFA began polling on RFS support in 2016.

The survey of nearly 2,000 voters found opposition to the refinery waivers, with 55 percent of respondents opposed compared to 29 percent supporting and 17 percent having no opinion.

When it comes to ethanol, the survey found 64 percent of voters have a favorable view, with support reflected across all key demographics, regardless of gender, location and political party. Support for the Renewable Fuel Standard, at 62 percent, represented an increase of six percentage points from May 2018 and was the highest since RFA began regular polling with Morning Consult on the rate of support for the RFS in 2016. The percentage of respondents indicating “strong support” for the RFS also hit its highest level since RFA started polling. Only 13 percent of respondents opposed the RFS, the lowest rate since polling began on RFS support.

The top reasons cited for a favorable opinion for ethanol are the environmental benefits of ethanol, the fact that renewable fuels are domestically produced, and that they offer consumers an affordable choice at the pump.

The poll was conducted by Morning Consult for RFA between Sept. 26-28, among a national sample of 1,998 registered voters. The interviews were collected online and the data weighted to represent a target sample of voters based on age, race/ethnicity, gender, education attainment and region; results have a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

Click to see the survey results.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

ACE Announces Fuel Marketer Website Update at NACS

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The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) is attending the 2019 National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) show this week in Atlanta, Georgia and introducing its revamped fuel marketer-to-marketer FlexFuelForward.com website and new videos to prospective E15 and flex fuel retailer. The NACS show is the largest annual gathering of convenience and fuel marketing professionals, drawing nearly 25,000 industry stakeholders from around the world to see the newest and best products and strategies available to station operators.

“Based on input from retailers who stopped to talk to us at trade shows, emails and phone calls we received from marketers, and conversations we had with station owners and operators we work with, ACE updated the flexfuelforward.com website to provide more in-depth information for retailers considering adding E15 and flex fuel, and more answers from fellow marketers to questions retailers frequently ask about ethanol,” said Ron Lamberty, ACE Senior Vice President and Market Development Director. “Flexfuelforward.com started out as a ‘landing page,’ where marketers could find general information on higher ethanol blends and then link to other existing sites with more detailed information on the topic they were searching for. We still do that, however, retailers told us they like the E15 & Flex Fuel Retailer Roadmap, and with more in-depth video and testimonials from real-world ethanol retailers, prospective higher-blend marketers can now have more of their questions answered without leaving a site they trust.”

Lamberty, along with Helena Jette, Director of Biofuels for the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, have been busy talking with retailers this week at the show which concludes tomorrow.

ACE, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Retailers

Biodiesel Industry Requests Meeting Before Commerce Decision

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) and American Soybean Association (ASA) sent a letter this week to Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, requesting a meeting before his department finalizes its review of countervailing duties on biodiesel imports from Argentina.

The letter notes that Ross met with the Government of Argentina after issuing a preliminary decision in the review but has not yet met directly with U.S. biodiesel producers.

“Since Commerce issued the preliminary results in the review on July 9, our multiple requests to schedule a meeting with you have gone unanswered,” the groups write. “We still hope that you can provide us the same courtesy that you provided to representatives of the government of Argentina and meet with us.”

Commerce finalized countervailing duty rates on Argentine biodiesel imports in January 2018, following a lengthy investigation that found U.S. biodiesel producers were harmed by Argentina’s unfair trade practices. Then in November 2018, Commerce granted Argentina’s unprecedented request for a “changed circumstances” review, based on the Argentine government’s claims that it had changed its tax structure. In July 2019, Commerce issued a preliminary decision that would virtually eliminate countervailing duties for Argentina’s biodiesel producers.

“It remains unclear why Commerce is rushing to issue final results when recent developments in Argentina suggest a likely change in leadership and tax policy,” the letter continues. “It seems clear that Argentina’s tax policies are likely to continue to change, as they have on numerous occasions in recent years. It is far more important for Commerce to make the right decision in this review, rather than a quick decision.”

Argentina is holding the first round of a presidential election on October 27. A runoff, if necessary, would occur on November 24.

Read the letter.

ASA, Biodiesel, Exports, NBB, Soybeans

Fuel the Cure with American Ethanol in Nebraska

Cindy Zimmerman

The Nebraska Ethanol Board is inviting drivers to help “Fuel the Cure” for breast cancer this month by choosing American Ethanol at the pump. More than 30 Nebraska gas stations will donate 3 cents for every gallon of higher ethanol blends (E15-E85) sold in October to support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha.

“The Fuel the Cure program has been a tremendous partnership between Nebraska’s ethanol industry and the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Ethanol blends already help clean up our air from toxic, cancer-causing chemicals emitted from burning traditional gasoline, but throughout the month, you can make an even bigger impact by using higher ethanol blends to support breast cancer research. Ethanol benefits our health, our environment, our engines and our wallets.”

Drivers will be able to identify which retailers are supporting this important cause by looking for pink signage at the pump, on the windows, and at the counter. Please visit www.fuelthecure.pink for a complete list of participating fuel retailers.

The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board, along with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations.

Ethanol, Ethanol News

Pink at the Pump® Campaign Kicks Off in Iowa

Cindy Zimmerman

Over 70 Iowa retailers are kicking off the 4th Annual Pink at the Pump® Campaign today to donate 3¢ of every gallon of Unleaded 88 sold during the month of October to National Breast Cancer Foundation and The Hormel Institute.

Pink at the Pump® is a joint effort between the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB).

“By choosing cleaner-burning, homegrown Unleaded 88 at the pump during October you are significantly impacting the battle against breast cancer by raising funds for research and support,” said Kelly Nieuwenhuis, ICPB Director and farmer from Primghar, Iowa. “Consumers already know that using Unleaded 88, or E15, is better for the environment, but many may not realize that using Unleaded 88 is better for your health, too! Using more ethanol reduces your exposure to harmful, cancer-causing chemicals and toxins. Through Pink at the Pump®, Iowa motorists can support cleaner-burning fuels and help combat breast cancer. It’s truly a win-win!”

For the entire month of October, participating locations will feature pink nozzle guards for Unleaded 88, pink promotional t-shirts for staff, and many other pink point-of-sale materials. Unleaded 88, or E15, is approved for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles.

E15, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Iowa RFA

Corn Growers Urge President to Uphold RFS

Cindy Zimmerman

As harvest is getting into high gear at the end of a difficult year, corn farmers are urging President Trump to follow the law and keep the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) whole.

Leaders of corn grower organizations in 23 states sent a letter to the president last week, calling on him to stop the harm caused by waivers and restore integrity to the RFS by directing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to account for projected waivers beginning with the pending 2020 RFS volume rule.

The letter to the President comes on the heels of the Trump Administration’s most recent approval of 31 new RFS waivers to big oil companies. The 85 total waivers approved under the Trump Administration amount to 4.04 billion gallons, resulting in reduced corn demand due to lower ethanol blending and consumption and a rising number of ethanol producers slowing or idling production.

Read the letter.

corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NCGA, RFS