GREEN Team Newsletter - Issue #214
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced the final renewable fuel targets for 2015 and 2016 under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), setting the final RFS levels well-below the levels called for by Congress in the law.
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw cried foul on EPA’s use of the mythical “blend wall” to justify its lowering of the RFS levels. Shaw noted, “The so-called ‘blend wall’ is a fabrication of the oil industry to explain its anticompetitive behavior. There is simply not a blend wall issue; there is a consumer access issue. At virtually every station offering consumers the choice of fuel blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol, ethanol accounts for well more than 10 percent of total fuel sales. Iowa retailers with blender pumps, offering blends from zero to 85 percent ethanol, consistently average 20 to 25 percent ethanol content across their total fuel sales.”
Shaw concluded: “With the Obama Administration so intently focused on curbing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner-burning renewable fuels should be allowed to grow, and not be held back. This final rule is a severe step backwards for consumers, farmers, the environment and energy security.”
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad stated, “I am extremely disappointed that the EPA’s final decision failed to follow the renewable volume levels set by Congress. Unfortunately, today’s decision shows the lack of interest in providing consumers choice at the pump, creating jobs and increasing incomes in Rural America, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. This rule falls far too short of a robust RFS and short of the standards set by Congress.”
Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds added, “This entire process has negatively impacted Iowa families through reduced commodity prices, farm incomes, and farmland values. We were hopeful that the EPA would fully recognize the importance of renewable fuels after years of regulatory uncertainty. However, the EPA’s decision only marginally improves volume levels in a step that will hurt Iowa families, businesses, and farmers.”
“At a time when corn prices are below the cost of production, this will be a blow to Iowa’s rural economy,” stated Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) President Bob Hemesath. “Contrary to the erroneous criticism spread by the oil industry, biofuels can meet growing consumer demand for these home-grown fuels. We should be strengthening our commitment to renewable fuels, not taking a step backwards.”
“While an increase of biofuels from the original proposed rule is welcome news, the simple truth is, this falls far short of promises made to Iowa farmers by Congress in 2007. We know the EPA is using a flawed methodology to calculate the biofuels targets, which amounts to a win for Big Oil,” said Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) President Craig Hill. “What’s worse is this makes it apparent that the EPA under this administration is continuing its pattern of ignoring and violating Congressional intent, at the detriment of farmers and our economy, which is especially troubling in Iowa, where one out of every five jobs comes from agriculture.”
Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen said, “EPA’s decision turns our nation’s most successful energy policy on its head. When EPA released its proposed RFS rule in May, the agency claimed it was attempting to get the program back on track. The EPA’s decision, however, fails to do that. It will deepen uncertainty in the marketplace and thus chill investment in second-generation biofuels. Unlike Big Oil, the ethanol industry does not receive billions in tax subsidies and the RFS is our only means of accessing a marketplace that is overwhelmingly and unfairly dominated by the petroleum industry. EPA’s decision will severely cripple the program’s ability to incentivize infrastructure investments that are crucial to break through the so-called blend wall and create a larger market for all biofuels.”
Dinneen added, “There is simply no reason for EPA to adopt API’s blend wall narrative. Data shows that EPA, in its initial RFS proposal, understated the likely market for E85 and non-ethanol conventional biofuels in 2016 by at least 440 million gallons. The data suggests there will be at least 14.7 billion gallons of undifferentiated renewable fuel blended next year. With approximately 2 billion surplus RIN credits already available for refiners to use for compliance in 2016, and with another 900 million RINs potentially becoming available from 2015 over-compliance, the EPA’s decision to lower the 2016 RVO below the statutorily imposed level of 15 billion gallons is simply unnecessary.”
Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis stated, “What EPA has done here is a dramatic departure from a program that was working. I believe when we finish our review of the final rule that we will want to stand up for the program, stand up for consumers, stand up for carbon reduction, stand up for rural America , and put this program back where it belongs.”
National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe stated, “This decision means we will displace billions of gallons of petroleum diesel in the coming years with clean-burning biodiesel. That means less pollution, more American jobs, and more competition that is sorely lacking in the fuels market. It is a good rule. It may not be all we had hoped for but it will go a long way toward getting the U.S. biodiesel industry growing again and reducing our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.”
National Biodiesel Board’s Joe Jobe to Deliver Industry Keynote At 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels SummitDecember 15, 2015
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently announced National Biodiesel Board (NBB) CEO Joe Jobe will deliver the industry keynote address at the 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on January 19, 2016 in Altoona, Iowa.
“The IRFA is very excited to have National Biodiesel Board’s Joe Jobe address the 10th Annual Summit, and provide his astute perspective on biodiesel’s role in national energy policy as a very successful, greenhouse gas reducing advanced biofuel,” stated IRFA Managing Director Lucy Norton. “With energy policy currently at the forefront of national discussions, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will be a great place to learn the latest and greatest on the future of renewable fuels.”
The Summit is free to attend and open to the public. The 10th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit will take place at The Meadows Conference Center at Prairie Meadows in Altoona, Iowa on Tuesday, January 19, 2016.
To register to attend, learn more about the Summit, and explore exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities, please visit: www.IowaRFA.org/10th-annual-iowa-renewable-fuels-summit/.
A special “Thank You” To Our Summit Sponsors and Exhibitors
|America’s Renewable Future|
|Iowa Corn Growers Association|
|Lallemand Biofuels & Distilled Spirits|
|American Coalition for Ethanol|
|Beta Tec Hop Products|
|CTE – Global|
|Faegre Baker Daniels|
|ICM, Inc./ Urban Air Initiative|
|U.S. Water Services|
|Video Contest Sponsor|
|BrownWinick Law Firm|
|Association Motor Club Marketing|
|Center for Crops Utilization Research & BioCentury Research Farm|
|Christianson & Associates|
|Clean Harbors Environmental Services|
|DPT Mechanical/ SPX Marley Cooling Tower|
|Ethanol Producer Magazine/ Biodiesel Magazine|
|Fluid Quip Process Technologies|
|Fluid Technology Corporation|
|Iowa Biotechnology Association|
|Iowa Central Fuel Testing Laboratory|
|Iowa Economic Development Authority|
|Iowa Renewable Fuels Association|
|McCormick Construction Company|
|Rasmussen Mechanical Services|
|Renewable Energy Group|
|Rockwell Automation/ Van Meter, Inc.|
|Summit Industrial Products, Inc.|
December 15, 2015
The entire Iowa delegation of the U.S. House recently sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to uphold Congress‘ promise to the renewable fuels industry by opposing any efforts to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on must-pass appropriations bills.
In the letter, the members wrote, “Congress established the RFS in 2005 to reduce the United States’ growing dependency on foreign oil, promote cleaner air, create good-paying jobs, and foster rural economic growth. As with any new industry, it takes time to become self-sustaining. Yet, RFS is working as intended and the renewable fuels industry is continuing to develop. In 2014, Iowa produced nearly 3.9 billion of ethanol and 227 million gallons of biodiesel. Additionally, Iowa has three cellulosic ethanol facilities producing the next generation of renewable fuels. Altogether, the industry has contributed over $19 billion annually to the Iowa economy and supported over 70,000 high-paying jobs.
“Unfortunately, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is creating uncertainty in the renewable fuels sector by releasing Renewable Volume Obligations lower than the Congressional requirement contained in law. This constrains investment in renewable fuels, reduces consumer choice at the pump, and hurts farmers in rural America. Congress should not contribute to this uncertainty or depress an industry which diversifies the employment opportunities in states like Iowa. Instead, we should bolster this viable, domestic industry by keeping the promises made in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.”
Representatives David Young, Dave Loebsack, Rod Blum and Steve King all signed the letter.
A copy of the letter can be found here.
December 15, 2015
U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and U.S. Representatives Rod Blum (R-Iowa), Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) introduced companion legislation to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit through 2016. The bills would convert the tax credit to a production tax credit in 2016, and includes technical updates to earlier legislation passed by the Senate Finance Committee in July of this year.
“We applaud Senator Grassley and Representative Blum for leading the charge to reinstate the biodiesel tax credit,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Ramping up biodiesel production means more high-paying jobs in Iowa and better prices for Iowa’s farmers and livestock producers. This legislation will help biodiesel compete against petroleum products that have been subsidized for more than a century. It will also save the taxpayers money by reforming the credit to cover U.S. production and not foreign biodiesel imports. Now, Congress needs to pass this legislation before adjourning for the holidays.”
“The biodiesel industry cannot grow and support good-paying jobs without some level of predictability on tax policy, and the legislative clock is winding down,” said National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Vice President of Federal Affairs Anne Steckel. “This tax incentive has strong bipartisan support, as demonstrated by the bills introduced today. It’s good for the economy, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for consumers. And importantly the reforms included in today’s bills will appropriately focus the incentive on U.S. production…This bill, when passed into law, will go a long way toward creating biodiesel jobs across the country and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”
Biodiesel has displaced about 1.8 billion gallons of petroleum diesel in the U.S. in each of the past two years – and more than 8 billion gallons over the last decade. It is produced in nearly every state in the country and is supporting more than 62,000 jobs. Iowa is the nation’s leading biodiesel producer, with 13 plants capable of producing about 315 million gallons annually.
December 15, 2015
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) has been awarded $5 million to install an estimated 187 blender pumps, through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP). Iowa fuel retailers can now apply for federal funding, as well as state grants available through Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP). Applications are available on the IDALS’ website.
“Thanks to the USDA’s blender pump program, Iowans will now be able to benefit from the wider availability of E15 and E85,” stated Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) Managing Director Lucy Norton. “More blender pumps in Iowa means more competition at the pump, resulting in even lower fuel prices, better air quality and stronger energy security.”
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program is designed to assist retail operators of motor fuel dispensing sites or fueling stations in the conversion of their equipment to allow the expanded availability of renewable fuels in Iowa. The contribution from USDA’s BIP expands this existing program with the goal of adding an additional 187 blender pumps. Eligible projects may receive both state and federal funding through this one-time opportunity.
The grant program will be administered through RFIP, with the application periods set as follows:
- December 31, 2015: Round One Application Deadline
- January 1, 2016: Round Two Application Period Open
- January 15, 2016: Round One Grants Announced
- January 31, 2016: Round Two Application Deadline
- February 15, 2016: Round Two Grants Announced
More details on the program, including applications, are available by visiting: www.iowaagriculture.gov/agMarketing.asp.
December 15, 2015
A new poll released by Convenience Store News, and conducted by sister company Carbonview Research, shows that the majority of consumers are embracing E15.
“People familiar with E15 think it is appealing, intriguing and a quality product,” stated Carbonview Research Manager of Client Research Randi Etzkin during the Convenience Store News 2015 Fuels and Tech Summit.
- 55 percent of respondents want to find out more about E15;
- 44 percent find E15 “appealing;”
- 35 percent want to use E15 for their car; and
- 34 percent said E15 is “believable.”
Additionally, Etzkin noted that price is the biggest factor consumers use when determining whether to purchase E15. According to the polling, if E15 is priced 5 cents less than E10, 49 percent of respondents said they would likely buy E15, while a 10-cent difference would entice 60 percent of consumers to purchase E15 over E10.
Carbonview Research surveyed of 942 fuel decisionmakers aged 18-64 in eight Midwest cities ripe with E15 expansion. E15 is currently offered at more than 175 locations throughout 19 states.
RFA to EPA: New Gasoline Volatility Regulations Needed to Level Playing Field, Encourage Investment in Higher Ethanol BlendsDecember 15, 2015
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently submitted a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to eliminate a regulatory quirk that is impeding growth in the use and availability of E15 and higher-level ethanol blends.
“Many gasoline retailers have rejected E15 because EPA’s current gasoline volatility regulations make it nearly impossible for them to sell E15 to EPA-approved conventional automobiles year-round,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Most gas stations are unwilling to dedicate storage tanks and dispensing equipment to a fuel that they can only sell for part of the year.”
According to the RFA letter, “The 1-psi [Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP)] waiver—originally provided to expand the production and use of fuel ethanol—is now having the perverse effect of discouraging greater ethanol use in today’s gasoline market, and it is obstructing the successful implementation of important fuel and carbon reduction policies enacted since then, including the Renewable Fuel Standard.”
Rather than asking EPA to extend the 1-psi RVP waiver to E15, RFA’s letter encourages the agency to take action to eliminate the relevancy of the waiver for E10 by requiring refiners to slightly lower the volatility of summertime conventional gasoline blendstock. This would ensure that retailers can freely offer E15 to conventional automobiles year-round. It would also clear the way for higher-level ethanol blends like E20 or E25 to meet applicable gasoline RVP requirements.
To read the entire letter, please click here.
December 15, 2015
New research shows the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the United States by 354 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions since 2008, according to a recent analysis by Lifecycle Associates.
“The RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 354 million metric tons over the period of implementation,” according to the report. “The GHG reductions are attributed to greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels.” Specifically, the authors ascribe the larger-than-anticipated GHG emissions reductions to: technology improvements in grain ethanol production, increased consumption of low-carbon advanced biofuels, and the steadily rising carbon intensity of petroleum fuels.
Whereas the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses a 2005 petroleum “baseline” for estimating RFS2 emissions impacts, the Life Cycle Associates study uses a “dynamic” petroleum baseline that reflects the true emissions impacts associated with U.S. petroleum consumption. The report, which builds on earlier work regarding marginal petroleum emissions, states that “…the advent of new crude oil extraction and processing technologies has raised the aggregate CI of petroleum fuels above the 2005 (EPA) baseline.”
“This report, which uses globally accepted GHG accounting methods, demonstrates that the RFS has been tremendously successful in reducing the carbon intensity of our transportation fuels. In fact, the study found the RFS has actually exceeded expectations in terms of GHG reduction,” said Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “As the Obama Administration considers both its approach to the Paris climate talks and the 2014–2016 RFS final rule, we strongly encourage them to examine this report and think carefully about the carbon impacts of the important policy decisions they are about to make. As documented in the study, the carbon footprint of American biofuels continues to shrink, while the carbon emissions associated with petroleum continue to increase. The RFS has absolutely lived up to its promise of delivering cleaner fuels to consumers, while displacing and delaying the need for increasingly dirty sources of petroleum. Now is the time to renew our national commitment to biofuels—not to walk away from it.”
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) sponsored the Lifecycle Associates study. To read the entire study, please click here.
December 15, 2015
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) recently announced its Board of Directors, Officers and Executive Committee for 2016, elected at its December 10, 2015 annual meeting. Each producer member has a seat on the Board and votes on officers. New officers will serve a one-year term during the 2016 calendar year.
2016 IRFA Board of Directors Officers
President Tom Brooks, Western Dubuque Biodiesel
Vice President Eamonn Byrne, Plymouth Energy
Treasurer Rick Schwarck, Absolute Energy
Secretary Steve Bleyl, Green Plains, Inc.
Executive Director Monte Shaw (non-voting)
“For renewable fuels in Iowa, 2015 was both a great and challenging year,” stated IRFA President-elect Tom Brooks. “I’m looking forward to leading IRFA, and continuing to build upon our progress as a leader in renewable fuels production and use.”
The IRFA Executive Committee is comprised of the IRFA Officers and other members as elected by the Board. Elected to join the IRFA Officers on the Executive Committee for 2016 are:
Past President Brian Cahill, Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy
At-Large Derek Winkel, Renewable Energy Group
At-Large Craig Willis, Archer Daniels Midland
At-Large Bill Howell, POET – Coon Rapids
December 15, 2015
The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) recently announced that users of E85prices.com will now have the ability to win free E85. Each month, RFA will draw one random user from those that have submitted E85 price experiences during the past month and reward them with a $100 E85 fuel card. The more users submit prices, the better chance they have of winning.
“We want to drive consumers to the website in order to capture more data and reward them for doing just that,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “Data has never been more important for expanding retail availability of higher ethanol blends and defending the Renewable Fuel Standard against the ‘blend wall’ rhetoric. This new effort will help ensure that our station database and associated price reports are the most accurate possible.”
RFA purchased E85prices.com in February and has since released a new version of the website and the associated mobile app. Users can submit prices for all blends of ethanol like E15 and E30, but must always submit prices for E85 and regular unleaded.
Existing users do not need to do anything new in order to qualify. Non-users need to register at www.E85prices.com and submit your pricing experiences.