EPA

Biofuel groups push EPA to maximize RFS levels

The Renewable Fuel Standard is the most successful clean energy tool available to the government, which should make full use of it when setting the biofuel mandate for 2023 and future years, said farm and biofuel trade groups on Thursday. “What we’re really looking to take place with EPA is that they maximize the full potential of the RFS,” said Emily Skor, chief executive of Growth Energy.

Despite stricter rules, thousands of complaints of dicamba damage, says EPA

A week before the 2020 presidential election, the EPA issued new instructions on the use of dicamba that it said would tame the notoriously volatile weedkiller. But complaints of damage to crops in nearby fields and to plants in parks, wildlife refuges, and residences continued to roll in, said the EPA on Thursday during a review of the herbicide.

Climate ruling could ripple into food and ag regulations

The U.S. Supreme Court limited the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from power plants on Thursday. The ruling could have broad impact with its reasoning that Congress must give an agency specific authority to act on particular issues.

Neonicotinoid insecticides have broad reach, says EPA

Three widely used neonicotinoids are likely to adversely affect, in at least some way, most of the threatened and endangered species in the country, said the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday.

EPA rejects 36 small-refiner exemptions from biofuel mandate

Facing a court-ordered deadline for action, the Environmental Protection Agency denied on Thursday 36 requests by small refiners for "hardship" exemptions from the U.S. ethanol mandate. Biofuel and farm groups lamented the decision "fails to remedy the economic harms" of reduced demand for corn ethanol.

Sales of E15 surge by 62 percent, says trade group

The recovering U.S. economy, aided by wider availability of the fuel, helped boost sales of E15 — gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol — to a record 814 million gallons in 2021, said the Renewable Fuels Association on Wednesday. Sales were 62 percent higher than the 504 million gallons sold in 2020, according to RFA estimates.

Report: agriculture runoff is leading cause of water pollution in the U.S.

Last week, water experts marked the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act with a dire warning: After evaluating over 700,000 miles of rivers and streams across the country, they concluded that half of those waters are too polluted to fish or swim in—and agriculture is often to blame.(No paywall)

Supreme Court rejects bid for year-round E15 sales

The Supreme Court, without comment, refused to hear an ethanol industry appeal to reinstate year-round sales of E15, gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol. A federal appeals court ruled last July that the EPA, acting at the direction of then-President Trump, exceeded its authority in approving summertime sales of E15 in 2019.

Time running out for Chesapeake Bay cleanup

At their current pace, the three major states in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, responsible for 90 percent of pollution in the bay, will miss their targets for reducing sediment and nutrient runoff by 2025, said the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Wednesday. Maryland and Virginia need to step up efforts to address agricultural pollution, and "Pennsylvania remains far off track," the foundation said.

As damage continues, EPA ponders whether dicamba is safe to use at all

The notoriously volatile weedkiller dicamba was blamed for 3,500 incidents of "off-target" damage this year, including to more than 1 million acres of soybeans, said the EPA on Tuesday. The regulator said it was reviewing whether dicamba "can be used in a manner that does not pose unreasonable risks" and said it would help states that wish to restrict use of the herbicide.

Ambitious ‘biofuel America’ plan faces overhaul in 2022

During the ethanol boom of the early 2000s, Congress set an ambitious target of quadrupling the amount of renewable fuel mixed into gasoline for America's cars and pickup trucks. But while corn ethanol has lived up to its part of the plan, cleaner-burning "advanced" biofuels have been slow to come to market — two factors for the EPA to consider as it faces a regulatory reset of the Renewable Fuel Standard in the new year.

Lawsuit challenges EPA over pesticide-coated seeds

Renewing a fight that began five years ago, two environmental groups have sued the EPA to force it to regulate pesticide-coated seeds in the name of protecting bees and other pollinators. Seeds coated with neonicotinoid insecticides are used on 80 percent of corn land and 40 percent of soybean land, although researchers question their value against late-emerging crop pests.

Biofuels sector rankled although EPA proposes highest ethanol mandate ever

The Biden administration said it would set the ethanol mandate at its highest level ever in 2022 and reject 65 requests from small refineries for exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Both were welcome steps for biofuel backers, but they rebelled at companion proposals to retroactively set the RFS for 2020 and this year below the maximum possible — "a betrayal" of rural America, said a Nebraska senator.

Biden administration ditches Trump water rule

The Biden administration said on Thursday it would re-establish the "waters of the United States" rule that was in place before 2015, a step that would repeal a narrow regulation written during the Trump era. The National Wildlife Federation said that "many streams and wetlands nationwide will regain undisputed protections."

Biofuel groups push for ‘strong’ ethanol mandate, citing climate and gas prices

Amid reports the EPA might scale back the ethanol mandate, biofuel groups said on Tuesday there was no U.S. path to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions or lower prices at the fuel pump without homegrown ethanol. In testimony before Congress and in a letter to the White House, the trade groups …

Renewable diesel boom is bane of bakers

Bakers are experiencing a "soybean oil supply crisis" of soaring prices and limited availability due in part to the land rush of investors into renewable diesel fuel, said an Ohio baking executive on Wednesday. Soy oil is a key ingredient in baked goods as well as the feedstock for making renewable diesel.

Snyder is named EPA ag adviser

Ron Snyder, with a background in traditional and sustainable agriculture, will serve as the EPA's agriculture adviser, announced administrator Michael Regan on Thursday. Snyder said he would pursue "practical, science-based solutions that protect the environment and ensure a vibrant and productive agricultural system."

EPA to ban agricultural use of chlorpyrifos

Ending 14 years of regulatory and court battles, the EPA announced on Wednesday that it would ban agricultural use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos, which has been linked to learning disorders and can cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. Regulators ended residential use of the pesticide, which works by attacking the nervous systems of insects, two decades ago.

EPA renews approval of paraquat, including aerial application

After nine months of review, the EPA finalized its interim decision on the weedkiller paraquat on Monday, effectively keeping the herbicide on the U.S. market for 15 years. The agency decided to allow aerial application of the chemical on a broader range of crops than it proposed last October …

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