No RVO Proposal Yet

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The biofuels industry was left hanging Friday when the rumored release of proposed blending obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) failed to happen.

American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) CEO Brian Jennings said late Friday they remain hopeful the numbers that were reported would also prove incorrect. “We hope they’re wrong,” said Jennings. “If they are right, it just seems like such a gratuitous shot to reduce volumes for 2020 because we all know the pandemic resulted in lower fuel demand which in turn reduced ethanol blending anyway.”

Multiple reports last week said EPA was planning to retroactively reduce the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for 2020 to 17.1 billion gallons, and set 2021 at 18.6 billion gallons and 2022 at 20.8 billion gallons. That would include lowering conventional ethanol volumes from the statutory cap of 15 billion gallons to 12.5 billion gallons for 2020, 13.5 billion gallons in 2021 and 14.1 billion gallons in 2022.

Jennings said those numbers would be devastating for the industry, and any proposal to retroactively reduce volumes would be met with fierce opposition. “We don’t believe it is legal for EPA to turn back the clock,” said Jennings.

ACE CEO Brian Jennings comments on proposed RVO rumors 3:57

Numerous stakeholder organizations, including the Renewable Fuels Association, Advanced Biofuels Business Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union expressed concerns about the reported numbers and fears the administration is “favoring the oil industry over the environment, rural communities, and hardworking farmers by providing handouts that eclipse those obtained by fossil fuel advocates under the previous administration.”

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also compared the rumored RVO numbers to the Trump EPA small refinery waivers. “The rumors we’re hearing it could be worse that what we had under Trump,” said Grassley on Tuesday last week. “If we get a bad RVO out of EPA, the farmers aren’t going to forget it and they’re going to blame Biden.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, proposed RVO release comments (1:19)

ACE, Audio, Biodiesel, biofuels, EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News

USDA Invests in Climate Smart Ag for Low Carbon Fuel

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest nearly $75 million for 15 partner-led projects to address natural resource concerns on private lands.

The projects include a $7.5 million investment in the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE)-led Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project to secure farmers premier access to low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) markets based on their adoption of USDA climate-smart agricultural practices.

ACE, together with RCPP partners South Dakota Corn Growers Association, Dakota Ethanol, South Dakota State University, Cultivating Conservation, and collaborator Sandia National Labs, will use the USDA financial assistance to compensate farmers for adopting climate-smart practices that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improve soil health. The partnership will pair USDA technical assistance with significant partner financial and in-kind contributions to quantify the resulting soil health and GHG benefits, correlate them with existing models, and develop a non-proprietary verification system. This data will then be used to secure farmer access to clean fuel or LCFS markets for the first time based on the GHG benefits of USDA climate-smart practices.

Press release from ACE

Interview with ACE CEO Brian Jennings
ACE CEO Brian Jennings on USDA grant project 8:10

Jennings comments on rumors of proposed Renewable Volume Obligations.
ACE CEO Brian Jennings comments on proposed RVOs 3:57

ACE, Audio, corn, Environment, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Low Carbon Fuel Standard, USDA

Groups Sound Alarm Over Proposed RFS Cuts

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Farm and biofuel groups are sounding the alarm over detailed reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to announce major cuts to biofuel blending requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“While a formal proposal has not been released, the expected standards would destroy a decade of progress on low-carbon biofuels and brazenly violate the promises that President Biden made to farmers, green voters, and his own allies in Congress,” said eight organizations in a statement Thursday.

The Renewable Fuels Association, Advanced Biofuels Business Council, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, Growth Energy, National Biodiesel Board, National Corn Growers Association, and National Farmers Union expressed concerns that the administration is “favoring the oil industry over the environment, rural communities, and hardworking farmers by providing handouts that eclipse those obtained by fossil fuel advocates under the previous administration.”

Multiple reports say EPA is poised to retroactively reduce the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) for 2020 to 17.1 billion gallons, and set 2021 at 18.6 billion gallons and 2022 at 20.8 billion gallons. The document quoted by news sources indicates ethanol volumes would be reduced from the statutory cap of 15 billion gallons to 12.5 billion gallons for 2020, 13.5 billion gallons in 2021 and 14.1 billion gallons in 2022.

The organizations “urge the president to ensure the EPA avoids a mistake that would undermine the Biden-Harris administration’s relationship with farmers, biofuel producers, and climate advocates across rural America.”

ACE, Ag group, Audio, Biodiesel, corn, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Fuels America, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

House Republicans Urge Biden to Uphold RFS

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U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) and a group of House Republicans, including House Biofuels Caucus co-chairs Adrian Smith (R-NE) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD), are urging President Biden to keep his promise on upholding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Recent reports indicate the Biden Administration is taking steps to weaken Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) which would reduce the demand for biofuels, an action President Biden strongly condemned under the Trump Administration.

“If your Administration makes the unprecedented move to reopen the finalized 2020 RVO, and strip the demand for billions of gallons, the industry will certainly be devastated,” said the members. “As you stated, “Lip service won’t make up for nearly four years of retroactive damage that’s decimated our trade economy and forced ethanol plants to shutter.” If these rumors are correct, demand for over 5 billion gallons of renewable, clean fuels will be lost.”

Reports this week indicate EPA will release the proposed RVOs on Friday and that they will include retroactive reductions in biofuels blending obligations

Biodiesel, biofuels, Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFS

Iowa Senator Concerned About RVO Proposal

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Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is concerned about rumors the Renewable Volume Obligations the Biden administration is reportedly set to release on Friday.

“You know what happens if something is unpopular it always happens at five o’clock on Friday,” said Grassley during his weekly press call with farm reporters Tuesday. “If we get a bad RVO out of EPA, the farmers aren’t going to forget it and they’re going to blame Biden.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley, proposed RVO release comments (1:19)

Concerns within the industry about media reports suggesting the Biden administration was planning to retroactively reduce 2020 volumes have been expressed during meetings with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over the past two weeks. “It is our sincere hope that these news reports are mistaken,” said the Renewable Fuels Association in written comments to OMB. “Retrospective revisions to the 2020 RVO would further destabilize the renewable fuels industry and farm sector, both of which are still struggling to recover from COVID-related market disruptions.”

RFA notified reporters Wednesday that an email with false 2020-2022 RVO numbers that “were supposedly shared by RFA with its members” was being circulated. “We want you to know that this is a complete fabrication and a shameful ‘spoofing’ attempt,” said RFA Communications Director Ken Colombini in a statement. “RFA never sent any such email or circulated any potential RVO numbers to our member companies. RFA does not have any information regarding the 2021-2022 RVO numbers or possible revisions to the 2020 RVO. Like everyone else, we are anxiously awaiting the public release of the RVO proposals and will have more information and comment at that time.”

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA, RFS

Court Decision Maintains Duties on Argentine Biodiesel

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The U.S. Court of International Trade made the decision this week to uphold the U.S. Department of Commerce’s final determination in its changed circumstances review (CCR) of duties on imports of Argentine biodiesel.

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) welcomed the decision. “NBB’s Fair Trade Coalition and members are grateful that the Department of Commerce stood by U.S. biodiesel producers and made the right decisions to maintain fair trade conditions,” said Kurt Kovarik, NBB’s VP of Federal Affairs. “NBB participated throughout the review to ensure the evidentiary record was current and complete. We are pleased that the court’s review supports the outcome of that process.”

The Commerce Department determined in May 2020 that there were no “changed circumstances” in Argentina’s subsidies for its biodiesel producers that would warrant changes in U.S. duty rates first imposed in early 2018 and the Court found that determination was “reasonably determined and supported by substantial evidence.”

Biodiesel, Exports, NBB, Trade

E Energy Adams Celebrates One Billion Gallons of Ethanol

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Over the weekend, E Energy Adams in Nebraska achieved a major milestone, producing its one billionth gallon of ethanol.

The Fagen/ICM designed plant was constructed in 2006 and began operation on October 27, 2007. “It took us nearly 14 years to make a billion gallons of ethanol, and we’re very proud of what we have achieved for our community and investors,” said Carl Sitzmann, who has been the CEO of E Energy from the start of operations. Sitzmann is a member of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) board of directors, serving on its executive committee for the past four years.

“With the achievement of this milestone, E Energy Adams joins an elite group of ethanol biorefineries that have reached one billion gallons of production,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “We congratulate Carl, his excellent staff, and all of the E Energy investors who made this accomplishment possible. Day in and day out for the last 14 years, they have worked tirelessly to support the local economy and provide American consumers with cleaner, greener, and more affordable fuel options.”

While the original plant capacity was 50 million gallons per year, various expansion efforts and projects to remove bottlenecks over the years brought the current capacity to 100 million gallons. In addition to doubling ethanol capacity, the plant also increased corn storage, added various new technologies, and gained unit-train capability to ship to California.

“We have a huge impact on the surrounding community. In addition to the significant tax revenue we provide to the county and local village, we’re boosting corn prices for the local producers, providing a protein-rich distillers grains to livestock feeders, and our distillers corn oil is used as either livestock feed or as feedstock for renewable diesel production,” said Sitzmann.

The company is celebrating their billion-gallon milestone throughout the month of September.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA

Vilsack Discusses Sustainable Aviation Fuel

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During an appearance before the Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City and Agri-Pulse Ag Outlook Forum Monday, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed concerns about the proposed tax credit for sustainable aviation fuel that it might leave out corn and soybean feedstocks.

Agri-Pulse editor and president Sara Wyant asked the secretary if we can expect the administration to “weigh in for inclusion of corn and soybeans” in the SAF tax credit language.

“The fact that the (Sustainable Aviation Fuels) Grand Challenge focused on the work that USDA is doing in terms of feedstocks, I would hope would indicate to people that is the administration’s position,” said Vilsack. “You want to make sure when you create a new industry that you provide opportunities in every part of the country to participate. Is it going to be corn and soybeans only? No, it’s not.”

Secretary Vilsack also talked about other ways the administration is helping the biofuels industry during the forum.

KC Ag Outlook Forum - Vilsack on biofuels (9:10)

Agri-Pulse, Audio, aviation biofuels, biojet fuel, Ethanol, Ethanol News, feedstocks, Soybeans, USDA

NBB Renews Request to Meet with EPA Administrator

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The National Biodiesel Board sent a second request to EPA Administrator Michael Regan last week asking for a meeting to discuss the findings of a new study on the potential health benefits of using biodiesel as a transportation fuel. NBB previously requested a meeting with Regan in May.

The study from Trinity Consultants quantifies at a community level the public health benefits and resulting economic savings of using higher blends of biodiesel. The findings complement those of a new EPA report, “Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States,” that details the unequal impacts of carbon and associated emissions on socially disadvantaged communities.

“We believe that our industry’s goals are consistent with your agency’s plans to address carbon and focus on environmental health,” writes Kurt Kovarik, NBB Vice President of Federal Affairs. “Replacing petroleum with drop-in alternatives like biodiesel and renewable diesel immediately reduces carbon. Additionally, biodiesel and renewable diesel reduce particulate matter and hydrocarbon emissions that contribute to cancer, lung, and heart disease rates.”

The Trinity Consultants study provides insight on one potential solution to the challenge EPA identifies in its new report. EPA’s report first identifies U.S. areas projected to experience the highest impacts of climate change, including air quality impacts on asthma rates and premature deaths. It then estimates the likelihood that socially vulnerable populations live in these areas.

“EPA’s new report highlights an important issue but does not go further to discuss solutions,” Kovarik adds. “We would like an opportunity to show Administrator Regan how biodiesel and renewable diesel can support EPA’s goals to address climate change and environmental justice issues.”

Biodiesel, EPA, NBB

Ethanol Report RFA 40th Anniversary – Randy Doyal

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The Renewable Fuels Association was born in 1981 and RFA is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year by spotlighting some of the pioneers in the ethanol industry who were there at the beginning, like Randy Doyal.

Doyal is CEO of Al-Corn Clean Fuel in Claremont, Minnesota and has been an RFA board member since 1995, serving as board chairman in 2015-2016. Last year, Al-Corn celebrated its billionth gallon of ethanol production.

But Doyal actually got his start in the ethanol business over 40 years ago about a thousand miles southwest of Minnesota in Portales, New Mexico.

Listen to his story in this edition of The Ethanol Report.

Ethanol Report 9-17-21 (13:15)

The Ethanol Report is a podcast about the latest news and information in the ethanol industry that has been sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association since 2008.

Choose an option to subscribe

Audio, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Ethanol Report, Renewable Fuels Association, RFA