RFS

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.

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.

Rebuffed in court, ethanol makers look to EPA to limit RFS exemptions

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.

Appeals court vacates three last-minute RFS waivers

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.

EPA wants to retract three last-minute RFS waivers

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 …

EPA agrees RFS exemptions should be tightly limited

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 …

February deadline proposed for RFS ‘hardship’ waiver

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 …

Corn export boom to China likely to soften by fall 2021

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.

EPA late in setting ethanol mandate for 2021

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 …

In new fuel clash, oil refiners ask for 52 retroactive ethanol exemptions

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.

When it comes to RFS petitions, Wheeler makes no promises

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)

Ethanol market is ‘disturbing as hell’ to American farmers. And now there’s Covid-19.

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)

Farm and ethanol leaders to administration: Don’t file that appeal

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.

EPA to stick with RFS proposal that ethanol industry opposes, says report

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.

Biofuel advocates challenge EPA on RFS waivers

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.

Trump ‘chose oil companies over family farmers,’ says senator

The Trump administration is siding with Big Oil despite announcing a plan to increase ethanol consumption, farm state senators told the No. 2 USDA official on Thursday. “That’s a president that has chosen oil companies over family farmers,” said one of the critics, Democrat Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

EPA ethanol plan ‘falls short of the promises,’ says House ag chairman

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.

‘Patriot farmers’ urge Trump to act on ethanol

As recently as Wednesday, President Trump lauded farmers as “great patriots” for their forbearance in the face of ag exports lost due to the Sino-U.S. trade war. A handful of corn and soybean farmers active in biofuels policy said on Thursday that there is less patience in farm country for the administration’s handling of the ethanol mandate.

Midwestern Senators ask, ‘Where’s our ethanol deal?’

Roughly ten days ago, Midwestern senators left a meeting with President Trump believing they had an agreement to solidify corn ethanol’s share of the gasoline market. Yet Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said on Tuesday he had no idea why the administration has not announced the plan, arguing “it ought …

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