Court decision casts doubt on dozens of U.S. refinery biofuel waivers

(Reuters) – A U.S. court decision last week striking down three biofuel waivers that the Environmental Protection Agency gave oil refineries in 2017 has cast doubt on the legitimacy of dozens of other EPA exemptions granted under similar circumstances, according to industry experts and agency data.

That spells uncertainty for a handful of independent refiners that secured lucrative waivers from the Trump administration, and could fire up prices for the biofuel blending credits those facilities need to comply with the nation’s biofuel law.

“The potential ramifications are huge,” said James Stock, an economist and professor at Harvard University who has researched biofuel policy.

– Richard Valdmanis, Reuters

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Life Cycle Associates Report: GHG Emissions Reductions due to the RFS2 A 2018 Update

“The expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) has resulted in aggregate GHG emissions reductions from the use of biofuels, which exceed the original projections from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final rule for the first 10 years of its implementation. The RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of nearly 600 million metric tonnes over the period of implementation. The GHG reductions are due to the greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels. These emissions savings occur even though cellulosic biofuels have not met the RFS2 production targets. In addition, EPA underestimated the petroleum baseline in the Rule. Studies by Life Cycle Associates and the Carnegie Institute have shown that the GHG emissions from U.S. petroleum are higher than the EPA calculated in 2005 (Boland, 2014; Gordon, 2012, 2015). This study calculates the annual U.S. petroleum GHG intensity based on the changing trends in feedstock availability over time and determines the GHG savings calculated from the aggregate mix of renewable fuels. The GHG intensity for each category of ethanol plant and biodiesel feedstock is estimated for the resource mix over the past 11 years and combined to determine an aggregate estimate. Figure 1 shows the total emissions reductions from the RFS2 compared with the GHG reductions projected from the rule.”

– Life Cycle Associates: GHG Emissions Reductions due to the RFS2 A 2018 Update

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Court of Appeals rules in favor of California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

In California, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decisive ruling upholding California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard – the state’s landmark program to reduce climate pollution from the fuel used in cars and trucks.

The court sided with California on all issues in the case, dismissed challenges to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard on numerous grounds, and awarded attorneys’ fees to the state.

“This is a thorough victory for the climate and for the health and safety of Californians,” said Tim O’Connor, Senior Director of California Energy Policy for Environmental Defense Fund, which was a party to the case. “California is working hard to address the dangers of air pollution, including climate pollution, from cars and trucks. Today the court affirmed California’s right to develop regulations that can help with that critical work, and can provide cleaner and healthier air for families and communities around the state.”

– Meghan Sapp, Biofuels Digest

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Investment linked US visa programme extended to September end, likely to see rush of new applicants

“MUMBAI: As expected, the EB-5 visa programme has been extended for six months, up to September 30, 2018. This extension is part of the spending bill, funding the US federal government, which was passed by the US Parliament and signed by President Trump.

As this is a mere extension and not an amendment to the EB-5 programme, various proposals such as an increased investment limit for the visa applicants is not included. Thus, applicants can continue to invest at the current lower norms.

According to immigration experts, the extension may see a sudden rush of applicants who want to beat any proposed reforms.”

– Lubna Kably, Times of India

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High-Octane Ethanol Blends Can Help Meet GHG Standards

“Ethanol organizations presented testimony to the EPA Wednesday that high-octane ethanol blends in optimized engines would be the lowest cost means for the country to meet 2022-2025 fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards. The testimony was provided during a hearing on Reconsideration of the Final Determination of the Midterm Evaluation (MTE) of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Model Year (MY) 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicles.”

— Cindy Zimmerman,

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