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- 15-17 August 2011, Sioux Falls: America's Grasslands Conference (Themes: agriculture, Conservation Reserve Program, grasslands, species)
- 16-17 January 2008, Brookings: OSHA's Voluntary Compliance Safety and Health 10-Hour General Industry Course for the Ethanol Industry (PDF file) (Themes: ethanol, health, safety)
- 7 states fight California rule over ethanol carbon scores 19 March 2012 by Adam Belz for USA TODAY: "A California rule assigning higher carbon scores to fuel produced outside the state has drawn the ire of the ethanol industry and the Midwestern states that produce most of the ethanol in the U.S."
- "At least seven states — Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota— are opposing California's effort to enforce the mandate, which critics say threatens the renewable fuels business in the nation's grain belt."
- "In December, a federal judge blocked California's Air Resources Board from enforcing the regulation, which encourages refiners to blend gasoline with ethanol produced in Brazil or California. The California rule considers Midwestern ethanol to have a larger carbon footprint. The judge said the rule unconstitutionally interferes with interstate commerce. California officials are appealing the decision."
- "The rule hinges on the concept of indirect land use change, Thorne said. The idea is that if farmers in the U.S. sell their grain for ethanol, farmers in other parts of the world must grow more corn for the food supply, pumping more carbon into the atmosphere, he said."
- "Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, who said the regulation threatens $1.3 billion in annual ethanol sales from his state alone, called the indirect land use change a 'highly controversial and undeveloped theory,' in a brief signed by attorneys general from five other states."
- U.S. Ethanol Industry to Keep Subsidies Until End of 2011, 1 August 2011 by Bloomberg: "U.S. ethanol subsidies aren’t affected by a congressional agreement to lift the country’s debt limit that may be voted on by both chambers today, according to industry groups."
- "The 45-cent tax credit for each gallon of the biofuel blended into gasoline and the 54-cent tariff on Brazilian imports, due to expire Dec. 31, will stay in place for now, according to the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, Washington-based industry trade groups."
- "Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, forged a July 7 deal with Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, to eliminate the government supports and to include it as part of the deficit- reduction package. The agreement proposed to reduce federal deficit by $1.33 billion and to dedicate $668 million to biofuels and new technologies."
- "The U.S. is required to use 12.6 billion gallons of ethanol this year and 15 billion gallons by 2015 under an energy law signed in 2007, known as the Renewable Fuels Standard."
- Senators Reach Deal on Ethanol Subsidy Repeal, Urge Swift Congressional Action for Maximum Benefit, 7 July 2011 by The New York Times: "Bipartisan Senate negotiators today reached a deal to save $1.3 billion through an early repeal of two major ethanol tax benefits, setting what could prove a precedent for more energy-sector tax changes as part of a sprawling deal to raise the nation's debt limit."
- "The agreement released by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would end the ethanol blenders' tax credit and the tariff on imported biofuels this month, routing most of the proceeds to deficit reduction while extending tax breaks for infrastructure as well as cellulosic and smaller producers."
- "But without a House-side buy-in to the deal, its prospects of becoming law -- either as part of a larger measure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or as a stand-alone bill -- are slim."
- "Klobuchar said today that she saw the ethanol accord as a template for a similar tax-benefit compromise with oil and gas companies."
- "Ethanol interest groups largely hailed the terms of the Senate agreement, which would extend the tax credit for cellulosic production through 2015 with an expansion for algae-based fuels, extend tax incentives for infrastructure through 2014 and extend benefits for smaller ethanol producers through 2012."
- It’s Time We Break Down the Blend Wall – For Good, 15 April 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "There is no greater hurdle to the expansion of the American biofuels industry than the artificial barriers to the market. Through flawed policy and outdated regulation, these barriers serve as a mandate for the American people that 90 percent of our fuel must be gasoline."
- "And without a market, we will continue to see private capital sidelines instead of being invested into commercializing the great innovations of our industry."
- "Last year, Growth Energy proposed the Fueling Freedom Plan. This proposal seeks to reform tax policy in order to encourage the installation of as many as 200,000 Flex Fuel pumps, and see every auto sold in the U.S. be a Flex Fuel vehicles."
- "In March, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., introduced legislation they called 'Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies,' or SAFEST. Their bill would not only establish a tax-credit for ethanol and biodiesel, but it would use tax incentives to encourage greater production of flex-fuel vehicles and the build-out of infrastructure to deliver ethanol."
- Thune Reintroduces Legislation to Encourage Biofuel Production from National Forests, 11 April 2011 press release by South Dakota Senator John Thune: "Senator John Thune has reintroduced legislation (S.781) to fix the flawed definition of 'Renewable Biomass' included in the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, which currently excludes any material removed from national forests and most private forestlands. Under the EISA definition, cellulosic ethanol derived from this feedstock does not count toward the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) when it is used to produce biofuels, which discourages blenders and refiners from purchasing biofuels produced from these readily available sources."
- "This proposed legislation would change the definition of 'Renewable Biomass' to more closely conform to renewable biomass definitions found in earlier versions of the RFS and the 2008 Farm Bill definition, which included waste material from national forests and private forestland."
- "According to a 2005 U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Agriculture study, about two billion tons of treatable biomass on federal forestland is available for bioenergy production."
- Midwest senators strike back with pro-biofuels bill, 11 March 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "Two Midwest senators proposed legislation March 10 favoring the build-out of biofuels infrastructure and continued federal support of ethanol and biodiesel. The Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., would establish incentives for biofuels infrastructure and deployment, develop a 'more cost-effective' tax credit program for ethanol and biodiesel, establish a renewable energy standard and encourage greater production of hybrid, electric and flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)."
- "The bill immediately received widespread support from renewable fuels and agriculture groups."
- "The 117-page SAFEST Act covers a wide spectrum of renewable fuels interests and contains several important provisions related to the ethanol industry. It amends the definition of 'advanced biofuel' to include corn starch-derived ethanol....It attempts to eliminate liability concerns related to the use of ethanol in combustion engines. It also provides subsidies for the installation of blender pumps and requires any entity that owns or manages 10 or more retail fueling stations to install a blender pump at each station."
- "The legislation also includes text that would prevent the U.S. EPA from considering international indirect land use changes when calculating biofuels’ lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and calls for the National Academies of Science to conduct a review of methodologies used to project indirect GHG emissions relating to transportation fuels."
- Tsunami: Top 10 Impacts for Biofuels from US Elections, 3 November 2010 by Biofuels Digest: "US voters gave control of the House of Representatives to the Republican Party, when Democrats lost at least 57 seats in the House and six Senate seats in the 2012 mid-term elections."
- "But what does it mean for biofuels? ...[Ten] impacts — ranging from people to policies — can be seen even now."
- "The bottom line: moderately positive for biofuels. One of the few areas where Republicans and Democrats agree on priorities is the importance of reforming US energy policy, and biofuels enjoy bipartisan support, especially advanced biofuels. Though the Farm Bill may push to 2013, and gridlock may reign, Obama will have to run on something other than health care and the 2009 stimulus, and is likely to reach out on energy."
- "Among the survivors....Senator Chuck Grassley faced only token opposition, and Senator John Thune of South Dakota was unopposed."
- Corn Crowds Out Wildlife in Prairie Pothole Region, 13 January 2010 press release by National Wildlife Federation: "A new report shows how government incentives for corn ethanol are driving farmers to shift land into corn production, resulting in significant decreases in grassland bird populations throughout the fragile Prairie Pothole Region. The study analyzes the current and potential impacts of increased corn ethanol production on wildlife and habitat in the Prairie Pothole states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota."
- "According to the report, U.S. ethanol capacity has grown almost 200 percent since the passage of the 2005 Energy Bill, which mandated a large increase in domestic ethanol production."
- "By identifying areas with the most dramatic land-use changes in Prairie Pothole states, researchers were able to see where there are 'hotspots' of increased corn plantings and habitat loss." The study's "results showed that counties with high increases in corn plantings had significant declines of nearly 30 percent in populations of sensitive grassland birds between 2005 and 2008."
- Download the full report:
- Cellulosic ethanol plant open in Wyoming, 30 January 2008, Renewable Energy Access. South Dakota-based KL Process Design group is to open a small facility in neighboring Wyoming; the plant will take waste wood and convert it into ethanol.
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