The Biden administration on Wednesday called for an 8 percent increase in biofuel consumption through 2025, with lower-carbon “advanced” fuels as the beneficiaries. Corn ethanol would remain the dominant biofuel at 15 billion gallons a year in the updated Renewable Fuel Standard.
The EPA, to settle a lawsuit over biofuel regulation, said on Monday it would consult with federal wildlife agencies on whether the Renewable Fuel Standard adversely affects endangered species. The consultation would be performed before the EPA finalizes the RFS for 2023-23, now expected in June.
The EPA has a free hand in writing the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2023, but the agency could be 18 months late and operating under a court order when it finally issues its proposal this fall. A biofuel trade group says nailing down the release date is a milestone in the campaign for expanded use of the alternative fuels.
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.
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.
The ethanol industry is optimistic the Biden administration will issue far fewer exemptions from the ethanol mandate than the Trump administration did despite a Supreme Court setback. Justices overturned, 6-3, an appellate court ruling that greatly restricted the eligibility of small refineries for "hardship" waivers from complying with the Renewable Fuel Standard.
The federal appeals court that greatly restricted access to "hardship" exemptions from the U.S. ethanol mandate in 2020 granted an EPA request on Wednesday to cancel three exemptions issued on President Trump's final day in office.
In a legal motion filed in Denver, the EPA asked a federal appeals court to vacate RFS exemptions granted to three small refineries during President Trump’s last day in office. The EPA, now directed by Biden appointees, said the outgoing Trump officials “did not analyze determinative legal …
In a reversal from the Trump era, the EPA said on Monday that it supports an appellate court ruling that greatly reduces the availability to small refineries of exemptions from the Renewable Fuel Standard. The agency is not acting on requests for RFS waivers while the appellate ruling is under …
In a Federal Register notice, the EPA said it would decide by Feb. 19 under a proposed consent order whether to approve a 2019 request by a small Pennsylvania oil refiner for an exemption from the ethanol mandate. The pro-ethanol trade group Growth Energy called for the EPA to resolve all 66 …
China is buying huge amounts of U.S. corn as it rebuilds its hog herd and recovers from the pandemic but its appetite for imports could weaken by next fall, when U.S. farmers are expected to harvest their second-largest crop ever, said University of Illinois economists on Tuesday. Chinese imports of 13 million tonnes this year could taper to a still-large 10.5 million tonnes during the sales year that begins on Sept 1.
Despite entreaties from ethanol makers and farm groups, the EPA missed the statutory deadline on Monday to finalize the Renewable Fuel Standard, which assures a share of the gasoline market for biofuels such as corn ethanol, for 2021. EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has pointed to the steep …
Oil refiners are attempting to evade an adverse appellate court ruling by asking the EPA for retroactive exemptions from the ethanol mandate, said biofuel trade groups on Thursday. Refiners have filed 52 petitions for exemptions stretching as far back as 2011, potentially creating a chain of annual waivers that would allow them to seek exemptions now.
Senators with opposite views of the ethanol mandate verbally leaned on EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler on Wednesday, with one asking for relief from the requirement to mix the biofuel into gasoline and the other calling for him to unflinchingly enforce it. Wheeler said he has not reached a decision on petitions to waive the RFS during the coronavirus pandemic. (No paywall)
Some 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop is refined into ethanol, but over the last two weeks, Covid-19 has joined a host of other disrupting factors to create what Geoff Cooper, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, calls “not just a perfect storm for ethanol, but a perfect tsunami.” Since the outbreak, ethanol prices have plunged to an all-time low of 88 cents a gallon and manufacturers are warning of more plant closures and reduced run rates.(No paywall)
President Trump will endanger his standing with farmers, who voted for him in landslide numbers in 2016, if his administration appeals a U.S. appellate court ruling against RFS exemptions, said ag and biofuel leaders on Wednesday.
With the EPA expected to act as soon as Friday, biofuel supporters have called for President Trump’s direct intervention to assure a market for 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol in 2020.
The EPA justified its exemption of 31 refineries from the Renewable Fuel Standard in a two-page memorandum that it did not reveal for weeks, said a coalition of four biofuel groups and two farm groups in a challenge filed in a U.S. appeals court. The petition was filed at the same time biofuel backers are accusing the EPA of a “bait and switch” on promises to increase ethanol consumption.
The Trump administration “has yet ... to produce a concrete plan to meet the annual 15 billion-gallon requirement” for mixing corn ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply, said House Agriculture Committee chairman Collin Peterson on Wednesday.