Ethanol Politics Hold Up Northey Nomination

Cindy Zimmerman

Refinery state senators are hitting back against the Trump administration for bowing to pressure from ethanol supporters last week and abandoning proposed changes in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) this week put a hold on the nomination of Iowa’s Bill Northey for USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation, who was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee last week along with Greg Ibach of Nebraska for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Ibach was confirmed by the full senate late Thursday but no vote was held for Northey

“Mr. Cruz has put that hold on for purely retaliatory reasons,” said Renewable Fuels Association president and CEO Bob Dinneen during a segment on Agri-Talk radio show on Thursday. “He doesn’t like what happened last week and the fact that Scott Pruitt has affirmed his support for the RFS.” Dinneen says there is no “policy justification” for the hold.

Meanwhile, Senator Cruz and seven other senators from refinery states sent a letter to President Trump this week asking for a meeting “to discuss a pathway forward toward a mutually agreeable solution” together with Midwest lawmakers. Like the ethanol state senators last week, these senators also played the jobs card, saying that there will be a loss of jobs around the country if reforms are not made to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

“This is nothing more than an attempt to roll back the president’s strong commitment to the RFS and undo the pledge issued last week by the EPA Administrator to assure America’s hardworking farmers that the biofuels market will continue to thrive,” said Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, Growth Energy, politics, RFA, RFS

House Ag Chair Says Farm Bill on Track

cindy zimmerman

House Agriculture Committee Chair Mike Conaway (R-TX) says they are moving forward with work on the 2018 Farm Bill.

“Still on track for late for fourth quarter (this year) or early first quarter of next year,” said Conaway during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “We’re going to be ready on the committee…when floor time opens up.”

Rep. Conaway was asked about trade, crop insurance, CRP, budget, nutrition programs, and more. Listen in here: Cong. Conaway call 10-25-17

AgWired AgNewsWire, AgWired Animal, AgWired Energy, AgWired Precision, Audio, farm bill, Government

U.S. Ethanol and DDGS Exports Drop in August

Cindy Zimmerman

U.S. ethanol exports totaled 103.1 million gallons (mg) in August, down 12% from July shipments, according to government data analyzed by the Renewable fuels Association (RFA).

Canada and Brazil were again the top destinations for U.S. exports, combining to receive more than half of total exports in August. Year-to-date U.S. ethanol exports to all destinations stood at 906.5 mg, indicating an annualized export total of 1.36 billion gallons. Top importer, Canada, brought in 38.7 mg of ethanol, while Brazil recorded 27.0 mg in of imports in August, down 20% from July. Through the first eight months of 2017, Brazil was the top market for U.S. ethanol exports, accounting for a third (337.0 mg, or 37%) of all export demand. On a year-to-date basis, Canada has been the No. 2 market (218 mg, capturing 24% of total exports) while India is quickly catching up to the leaders (103.6 mg, or 11%).

Exports of dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) were down 24% at 761,467 metric tons (mt) in August. Mexico remained the top customer with 172,470 mt, increasing its market presence with 23% of total demand. Turkey reduced imports by 61% to 72,376 mt–a 9-month low, while Indonesia boosted its offtake by 12% to 63,074 mt.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Exports, RFA

Ethanol Conference Scholarships Available

Cindy Zimmerman

For the ninth year, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) are joining to offer scholarships for students interested in attending the National Ethanol Conference (NEC), scheduled for Feb. 12-14, 2018 in San Antonio.

Six scholarships are available to students in higher education to attend NEC. Scholarships cover the cost of the conference registration fee—a $925 value. Recipients are responsible for other costs associated with travel to the conference, including airfare, hotel and meals.

“The NEC is the most widely attended ethanol conference in our industry,” said Dana Lewis, chairperson of RFF and chief administrative officer for Redfield Energy. “This scholarship provides an excellent opportunity for students to gather real-world experience by meeting top experts and hearing about the latest issues affecting the ethanol industry. I highly recommend this scholarship to any students interested in pursuing a career in agriculture generally or within our industry specifically,” she said.

The scholarships are available to students attending a U.S. institution of higher learning or foreign students who are affiliated with the U.S. ethanol industry. Interested students should apply by January 8, 2018 and submit a 500-word essay explaining how their attendance at the NEC will help them achieve their future goals. They should also submit two letters of recommendation, an up-to-date resume, and a school transcript.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, National Ethanol Conference, RFA

PA Governor Seeking RFS Waiver

Cindy Zimmerman

In a letter to President Donald Trump late last week, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf asked the administration to waive Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for Northeast refiners “unless or until the prices of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) deflate,” according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

“Numerous studies—including some funded by the oil industry—show that merchant refiners recover their RIN costs at the wholesale level, while retail gasoline prices are unaffected by RINs. However, even if a refiner could show that RINs truly represent a cost that is not recouped, it could not demonstrate ‘severe harm’ to the economy,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “That’s because the Pennsylvania governor’s RFS waiver request doesn’t meet the very high threshold required by the statute and previously utilized by EPA in responding to similar requests. Section 211(o)(7) of the Clean Air Act allows a waiver if the EPA Administrator determines that implementation of the RFS requirements would severely harm the economy of a state, a region or the United States. Further, for a waiver to be granted, EPA must find that implementation of the RFS itself would severely harm the economy, not just contribute to such harm on one sector of the economy.”

In the letter, Reuters reports that Governor Wolf said, “The Northeast and specifically Pennsylvania will experience significant economic impacts” if RIN prices don’t go down, and “the nation’s refinery sector may be almost eliminated in this region of the country, negatively affecting the manufacturing sector, the Commonwealth (of Pennsylvania) and regional economies.”

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA, RFS

Commerce Department Finds Biodiesel Dumping

Cindy Zimmerman

The U.S. Department of Commerce has made a preliminary determination biodiesel exports from Argentina and Indonesia are being sold the United States below fair value, constituting dumping on the market and cause for imposing duties.

The department determined that exporters in the two countries sold biodiesel in the U.S. at “dumping margins of 54.36 percent to 70.05 percent and 50.71 percent, respectively.”

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Fair Trade Coalition, which brought the case to the department, is pleased with the ruling.

“It is reassuring with each decision that the Commerce Department is reviewing the data and facts at face value. The law is clear, and violations of trade law shouldn’t be ignored at the expense of the livelihoods of thousands of Americans employed or affected by biodiesel,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer of the National Biodiesel Board.

The coalition, made up of NBB and 15 biodiesel producers, filed the petitions to address a flood of subsidized and dumped imports from Argentina and Indonesia that has resulted in market share losses and depressed prices for domestic producers. Biodiesel imports from Argentina and Indonesia surged by 464 percent from 2014 to 2016, taking 18.3 percentage points of market share from U.S. manufacturers. Imports of biodiesel from Argentina again jumped 144.5 percent following the filing of the petitions.

Duty deposit requirements will be imposed when the preliminary determination is published in the Federal Register sometime next week. The Commerce department is currently scheduled to announce its final determinations on January 3, 2018.

Biodiesel, International, Trade

Ethanol Trade Teams Tour Prior to Summit

Cindy Zimmerman

USGC team visit in South Dakota – (USGC photo)

The U.S. Grains Council took three ethanol trade teams to three states to learn about the ethanol value chain from the field to the pump ahead of the Ethanol Summit of the Americas last week. The three teams included representatives from 12 countries that explored the U.S. ethanol industry in Missouri, South Dakota and Ohio.

Representatives from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala and Bolivia traveled to Missouri to visit local farms and ethanol plants and learn more about U.S. ethanol production, retail ethanol sales, rail infrastructure and other topics.

In South Dakota, trade team members from Colombia, Panama, Uruguay, Peru, Paraguay and Costa Rica met with the American Coalition for Ethanol and toured local farms, grain elevator facilities and ethanol plants.

A third delegation, from Mexico, traveled to Ohio to experience corn production from the field to fuel with Ohio farmers and the clean air benefits of ethanol blended fuel with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest. They also met with contacts knowledgeable about ethanol production, consumer acceptance, logistical concerns and solutions, pump and retailer competition and other topics.

“Huge opportunities exist in Mexico for Mexican ethanol stakeholders, and these tours provide more educational background regarding the development of the U.S. industry,” said Ryan LeGrand, USGC Mexico director, who traveled with the team. “Trade teams like the one this week are part of continued ethanol market development efforts to boost the Hemisphere’s use of ethanol.”

Ethanol, Ethanol News, USGC

Ethanol Summit Focuses on Trade in Americas

Cindy Zimmerman

Industry and government officials from more than 15 countries in the Western Hemisphere got together last week at the Ethanol Summit of the Americas in Houston to discuss current and future opportunities for ethanol in the region.

The Summit was sponsored by the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board, working together to promote the global use of ethanol and U.S. ethanol exports.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor said the Summit highlighted the use of ethanol in transportation fuels to help improved air quality, extend the current fuel supply and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The United States is the world’s top ethanol exporter, providing countries around the globe with an alternative to toxic gasoline additives and helping to reduce air pollution,” said Skor. “Removing unnecessary barriers that impede free trade of ethanol and DDGS will not only benefit consumers in the United States but throughout the world.“Removing unnecessary barriers that impede free trade of ethanol and DDGS will not only benefit consumers in the United States but throughout the world.” Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor comments on Ethanol Summit

The two-day conference also included technical presentations on ethanol-related policies, infrastructure and use in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Canada and Paraguay.

“This event is well-timed because dialogue and improved relationships among the hemisphere’s ethanol leadership is desperately needed right now to stem the growing scourge of protectionism that will only thwart our united efforts to expand this important industry and address pressing regional energy and environmental priorities,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “If we are ever going to be a successful international industry and compete effectively with petroleum across the globe, you don’t do that by implementing protectionist measures, you do that with free and fair trade.” RFA CEO Bob Dinneen comments on ethanol trade in the Americas

The United States set an all-time high for ethanol exports in the 2016/2017 marketing year at 1.37 billion gallons (488 million bushels in corn equivalent), exceeding the previous record set in 2011/2012.

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Growth Energy, International, RFA, Trade

Biodiesel Board Weighs in on EPA Letter

Cindy Zimmerman

In a letter to seven senators last week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt committed to final 2018 Renewable Fuel Standard renewable volume obligations at levels “equal to or greater than the proposed amounts, including at least 2.1 billion gallons for biomass-based diesel in 2018 and 2019.” But just “equal to” what has been proposed is well below what the biodiesel industry is capable of supplying.

“Flat volumes of biodiesel show that the Trump administration is considering implementing policies that will harm the American biodiesel industry. We are going to continue to work closely with the EPA and the White House to help them understand that a robust biodiesel industry is what the law requires. We cannot settle for the biomass-based diesel volume remaining flat at 2.1 billion gallons,” said Doug Whitehead, chief operating officer at the National Biodiesel Board (NBB).

In comments on the EPA Notice of Data Availability (NODA) that would further reduce overall biofuels volumes under the RFS, NBB said the U.S. biomass-based diesel industry “can generate 2.6 billion gallons right now and has the additional registered capacity to ramp up production even higher with sufficient continuing support from the RFS volumes.”

Read more from NBB.

Biodiesel, EPA, RFS

New Growth Energy Podcast

Cindy Zimmerman

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