RFA Receives Grants for Ethanol Safety Education

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association has received new grants to support its safety education program through on-site seminars and on-line webinars via the association’s work with TRANSCAER, a voluntary national effort that focuses on hazardous material transportation incident preparation for communities.

“One of the strengths that sets our association apart is our whole-industry focus that includes high-quality technical assistance such as our safety programs with TRANSCAER,” said RFA Technical Services Manager Missy Ruff. “As we seek to make ethanol more available to drivers nationwide, we want to ensure that ethanol producers, shippers, blenders, and emergency response personnel all have the opportunity to learn more about best practices for safe handling of ethanol and responding to incidents. We are very grateful for the continuing support from TRANSCAER and other partner organizations.”

A $25,000 grant from the Federal Railroad Administration will support 10 ethanol safety seminars and four “train the trainer” webinars for first responders, and a $40,000 Assistance for Local Emergency Response Training grant from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will fund another 10 ethanol safety seminars and an update of RFA’s Ethanol Safety Tour video.

Last year, RFA’s safety work with TRANSCAER involved hosting ethanol safety seminars in New York, Vermont, Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Maine and Virginia reaching a total audience of 506 first responders and safety professionals, and four online “Train the Trainer” webinars, reaching 259 participants in January, March, July and August.

Learn more on RFA’s Ethanol Emergency Response website.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, safety

Biodiesel Foundation Receives Clean Diesel Project Grant

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Foundation has been awarded U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funding for its 2020 National Clean Diesel Project. In partnership with Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT), Optimus Technologies, and Renewable Energy Group (REG), the project supports the purchase of three new replacement snowplows that will operate on B100 and retire older more polluting vehicles. It is the first successful Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant to utilize the Optimus B100 technology.

The new B100-optimized vehicles will be used in Des Moines and Ames, Iowa to provide snow removal service for rail yards, terminals, and key distribution centers. REG will provide the B100 refueling infrastructure for the fleet. All replacement vehicles will use Optimus Technologies’ Vector technology, allowing the vehicles to operate exclusively on 100% biodiesel—other than startup and shutdown—to optimize fuel savings and emissions performance.

“Optimus’ patented technology is deployed with fleets across the country leading the efforts to reduce emissions and transition to low carbon fuels. Our technology is ideal for demanding applications like snow removal operations and refuse collection that aren’t suitable or practical for electrification,” said Colin Huwyler, CEO of Optimus. “We applaud Iowa Department of Transportation’s leadership in being the first DOT in the nation to deploy B100 within their fleet and are excited to emphasize that the thousands of gallons of diesel fuel being offset will be replaced with biodiesel that is produced right in Iowa.”

Huwyer spoke about the B100 technology at the 2018 National Biodiesel Conference. Listen here:

Colin Huwyer, Optimus Technologies
Audio, Biodiesel, Biodiesel Conference

US Ethanol Exporters and Brazil Importers Oppose TRQ

Cindy Zimmerman

Exporters of U.S. ethanol and Brazilian importers of the same are united in opposition to the Brazilian government action amending the recent August 31st rule that raised the tariff rate quota (TRQ) on U.S. ethanol imports from 600 million to nearly 750 million liters per year. The TRQ regulates the threshold of ethanol that can be imported into Brazil without triggering a 20 percent tariff. The amended rule was published in the Brazilian official national government newspaper on October 18.

“The decision by Brazil to place seasonal restrictions on its tariff rate quota for U.S. ethanol is disappointing and puts up additional roadblocks to free trade, hurting consumers and our respective ethanol industries,” said a statement from the Renewable Fuels Association, U.S. Grains Council and Growth Energy this week. “The action by Brazil this week to impose seasonal restrictions on the sale of ethanol does not create a case study in leading by example, but rather the opposite – it is upending real opportunities for free trade.”

The three U.S. ethanol trade groups were already unimpressed with the TRQ increase when it was announced last month.

Brazilian fuel importers organization Abicom says the measure “goes against the promotion of free competition” because it restricts US duty-free ethanol imports to domestic biofuel producers, except for those that applied for import licenses prior to the publication of the resolution. A statement from Abicon says, “This measure creates an unacceptable market reserve. By removing access to quotas from distributors and importers, the government is eliminating competition and leaving price formation only in the hands of producers.”

Brazil, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports

Auto Channel Defends Ethanol Against Engine Damage Claims

Cindy Zimmerman

Ethanol defender Marc Rauch of The Auto Channel took on “Testing Anti-Ethanol Tests” recently to disprove that ethanol causes engine damage, while at the same time showing that anti-ethanol additives are worthless.

Rauch took exception to a recent video posted by Todd Osgood who has a YouTube channel called PROJECT FARM. The video was titled “Does Fuel Stabilizer Prevent Ethanol Damage? Let’s find out!” In response, Rauch did his own tests and posted the results.

After analyzing all of the foregoing (your video, my reports, photos, and video), the proof is that ethanol does not, and can not damage engines and engine components ahead of any damage caused by gasoline and aromatics. Moreover, this shows that products that claim to “protect” against the effects of ethanol are nothing more than snake oil.

Read article from THE AUTO CHANNEL and response from Osgood.

automotive, Ethanol

House Subcommittee Hearing to Address RFS Waiver Abuse

Cindy Zimmerman

“Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration’s Abuse of Secret Waivers,” is the title of a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing scheduled for next Tuesday October 29.

The Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing will focus on EPA’s “mismanagement of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program” and will also examine H.R. 3006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Integrity Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN).” The bill would set an annual deadline for small refinery exemption applications and bringing transparency to the process.

The hearing is scheduled for 10:30 am Eastern on October 29, but more information including the Committee Memorandum, legislation, witness list, testimony and a live webcast will be posted as it becomes available.

On Tuesday, a coalition of renewable fuel and agricultural trade organizations filed a petition with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, challenging the process used by EPA to exempt “certain unknown small refineries from their respective (RFS) obligations for 2018.” The coalition includes the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Farmers Union, and Renewable Fuels Association.

Unlike previous years, EPA’s entire decision document was only two pages long, the coalition noted in their petition. In these short two pages, EPA purported to resolve 36 pending petitions for disproportionate economic hardship exemptions—a decision that exempted small refineries from having to blend almost one and a half billion gallons of renewable fuel.

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News

New Court Docs Show EPA Abuse of Waivers

Cindy Zimmerman

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today highlighted newly available court documents which show how EPA “inappropriately granted Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance exemptions to certain small refineries that did not even qualify for the waivers, and that there was division within the Trump administration about its new approach to small refinery hardship exemption requests.”

Specifically, the briefs and supporting documents show EPA granted disproportionate economic hardship exemptions to small refineries whose previous exemptions had fully lapsed, meaning the Agency disregarded the requirement that refiners may only obtain an “extension” of an existing exemption.

The redacted briefs and other documents filed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals pertain to Renewable Fuels Association et al. v. EPA, which addresses EPA’s decisions to retroactively grant hardship exemptions to two refineries owned by HollyFrontier and one refinery owned by CVR’s Wynnewood subsidiary.

Other parties in the lawsuit with RFA are the American Coalition for Ethanol, the National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union.

An audio file of the oral argument was also recently made available by the court and it really helps explain the biofuels industry position in the case. Listen:
RFA et al. vs. EPA oral argument

The opening and reply briefs filed by the biofuels coalition.

Read more from RFA.

ACE, Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, NCGA, RFA, RFS

Trump Praises Refinery Waivers

Cindy Zimmerman

During a cabinet meeting on Monday, President Donald Trump praised EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler for making small refineries happy by granting them waivers from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“And I know you’re working on the small refineries — getting that straightened away so that it’s going to be terrific for the small refineries,” President Trump said to Wheeler. “They’ve been hurt for a long time, and we gave them waivers for this year. And that will — that’s helped them a lot. But I want you to work on that. Make sure the small refineries are happy.”

The president then turned to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to talk about “ethanol for our farmers” and what the administration has done and how “ethanol now has been fully approved.”

Sec. Perdue first noted the president’s approval of E15 for year round sales this summer as good for farmers. “You’ve also balanced up the smaller refinery waivers with the farmers and RFS,” he added. “And once they fully understand what you’ve done here, they’ll be fine, and — as they see it implemented.”

Listen here: Trump Cabinet meeting ethanol remarks (1:15)

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News

NBB Announces New West Coast Office

Cindy Zimmerman

The National Biodiesel Board is opening a new west coast office to be led by long-time California Air Resources Board (CARB) Division Chief Floyd Vergara. The expansion will bolster NBB’s presence on the west coast where climate programs are a substantial market driver for low carbon fuels like biodiesel and renewable diesel and will also bring critical regulatory expertise to the association as similar programs take flight across the country.

Vergara brings more than 32 years of experience at CARB to the NBB team. Most recently, he served as Chief of the Industrial Strategies Division and Assistant Chief of the Research Division. Over the years, Vergara has overseen a number of CARB’s key climate and air quality programs, including the Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Cap-and-Trade program, among others.

The new office will be in Sacramento, co-located with the California Advanced Biofuels Alliance office. Vergara will serve as Director of State Regulatory Affairs for NBB.

Biodiesel, NBB

USDA Deputy Reassures Senators About EPA Proposal

Cindy Zimmerman

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing Thursday to hear from USDA Deputy Secretary Steve Censky regarding implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill, but several senators were more concerned about the EPA supplemental proposal out this week.

Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) was first to ask about it. “I can just assure you directly from conversations with the president and the president is insistent that EPA administer this to make sure we achieve 15 billion gallons,” said Censky. Listen to that exchange:

Sen. Smith and USDA Deputy Censky - EPA RFS proposal (3:07)

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News

Ethanol Report on RFA Reaction to EPA Proposal

Cindy Zimmerman

The Environmental Protection Agency issued a Supplemental Proposal for Renewable Fuels Volumes October 15, following up on the administration plan announced October 4. However, biofuel groups were surprised to find that the proposal is very different than the promise.

“Simply put, this proposal is not what was promised by the administration just over a week ago and fails to answer President Trump’s personal call for a stronger conventional biofuel requirement of more than 15 billion,” says Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) president and CEO Geoff Cooper

In this edition of The Ethanol Report podcast, Cooper explains the proposal and how it differs from what the industry was told as to how EPA would account for small refinery waivers going forward.

Ethanol Report on RFA Reaction to EPA Proposal

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