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RFA Statement on Senators’ Letter to EPA on E15 Volatility Regulation

WASHINGTON–Today, five Senators, led by Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, asking him to address EPA’s volatility regulation that makes it more difficult to sell ethanol blends above 10% year-round. The senators asked the administrator to extend the 1-psi RVP waiver to E15 and other higher ethanol blends, “to eliminate this needless obstacle to consumer choice.” Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:

“We applaud Senator Ernst and the other senators for their leadership on this critical issue.  The single most vexing issue facing the ethanol industry today is access to the consumer, access that has been denied by arcane rules from EPA that provide neither air quality or consumer price benefit.  On behalf of the members of the Renewable Fuels Association, I’d like to thank Senators Ernst, Grassley, Blunt, Roberts, and Thune for their effort and add my voice to the growing thunder of those that seek higher octane, home-grown ethanol with savings at the pump.”

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RFA Statement on Senate Approval of Scott Pruitt as EPA Administrator

WASHINGTON — Today, the Senate approved Scott Pruitt to be the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency by a 52 to 46 vote. Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:

“The Renewable Fuels Association congratulates Scott Pruitt on Senate confirmation to become the next EPA administrator. As Mr. Pruitt said during his confirmation hearing last month, ‘To honor the intent and the expression of the Renewable Fuel Standard statute is very, very important.’ We could not agree more. We look forward to working with Mr. Pruitt to ensure the RFS remains on track with strong, annual obligations that follow congressional intent. While the RFS remains our priority, we will also continue advocating for the removal of unnecessary volatility restrictions that have discouraged market acceptance of higher level ethanol blends like E15. Ethanol is the lowest cost, cleanest and highest octane source in the world. We encourage Mr. Pruitt to work with us to ensure consumers have more choices at the pump.”

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RFA to EPA: REGS Proposal Should Be Retooled to Truly Address Barriers Impeding Renewable Fuels Expansion

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests its recent Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support (REGS) proposed rule will promote renewable fuels and remove barriers to their production, distribution and consumption. However, the proposal does not adequately address key regulatory barriers that are constraining growth in ethanol production and use, according to comments filed today by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). In order to truly promote expansion in renewable fuels production and use, RFA’s comments encourage EPA to take immediate action to eliminate a number of significant regulatory impediments.

“While well-intentioned, the REGS rule does not adequately address the key regulatory barriers that are significantly limiting growth in renewable fuel production and use,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen in the comments. “In fact, we are concerned some elements of the REGS proposal may actually serve to add complexity and create new barriers to renewable fuel market expansion, an effect that would be the opposite of the rule’s stated purpose. While the proposal does resolve the ambiguity surrounding regulation of certain ethanol blends like E16-E50, it largely overlooks the actions required to truly support and promote an expanded role for renewable fuels in the marketplace.”

Rather than proceeding with the current rulemaking, EPA should “initiate a far more comprehensive process to reform existing fuel regulations in a way that levels the playing field for renewable fuels and genuinely removes regulatory barriers to growth,” Dinneen continued.

Among actions EPA should take to reform existing fuel regulations, RFA recommends:

  • Establishing regulatory parity in the volatility limits for all fuel blends containing more than 9 percent ethanol by volume;
  • Streamlining and harmonizing survey programs intended to monitor and verify fuel quality and regulatory compliance;
  • Simplifying the petition process for new certification fuels and eliminating unreasonable criteria for approval;
  • Eliminating unnecessarily burdensome and costly requirements related to the fuel and fuel additive registration process;
  • Leveling the playing field for all alternative fuel vehicles, including flexible fuel vehicles (FFV), under the fuel economy and light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas program;
  • Rejecting the results of the a flawed fuel effects study and suspending further use or development of the MOVES2014 emissions model until a new emissions study based on appropriate test fuels is conducted; and
  • Updating the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) analysis of corn ethanol conducted for RFS2.

“Implementing these recommendations would go a long way toward truly enabling future growth of the renewable fuels industry,” said Dinneen. “We urge EPA to go back to the drawing board with this proposal and draft new amendments that genuinely stimulate renewable fuels growth, ensuring consumers have greater access to ethanol, the lowest-cost, cleanest-octane transportation fuel on the planet.”

In addition to these recommendations, the RFA comments offer detailed input on specific provisions of the REGS package, such as the proposals classifying E16-E83 as “ethanol flex fuels” and establishing provisions for “biointermediates.”

A full copy of RFA’s comments is here.

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New RFA Report Shows U.S. Distillers Grains Exports Reached 11.48 Million Metric Tons in 2016

WASHINGTON — U.S. exports of distillers grains (DG) — a high protein co-product of dry mill ethanol production used to feed livestock and poultry — totaled 11.48 million metric tons (MMT) in 2016, down 10 percent from 2015’s record-high but still the second-highest on record, according to a 10-page summary of 2016 ethanol co-product trade data published today by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). DG exports were shipped to 50 countries on five continents last year.

According to the report, an estimated 31 percent of U.S. DG production was exported in 2016, meaning one out of every three tons produced was shipped to foreign markets. China was the leading destination for U.S. DG, followed by Mexico, Vietnam and South Korea. However, U.S. DG exports to China plunged 63 percent in 2016 compared to 2015, as the country implemented anti-dumping and countervailing duties against U.S. product. Meanwhile, shipments to nine of the other top 10 markets experienced growth in 2016. In fact, DG exports to Mexico, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey, and Thailand grew by a combined 2.06 MMT in 2016 — equivalent to the annual DG production of 10 average-sized ethanol plants.

“Distillers grains and other co-products have become an enormously important component of the global feed market. This report underscores that our co-products are in high demand in every corner of the world,” said Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Unfortunately, we saw a slight downturn in total exports in 2016 because of China’s protectionist actions to shut out U.S. distillers grains. Last week, RFA and our partnering organizations sent a letter to President Trump, alerting him to China’s unfair and illegitimate trade barriers, and urging the incoming U.S. Trade Representative to address the issue. We remain concerned with China’s actions and look forward to the administration’s response to ensure free and fair trade between our countries.”

Among other facts from the RFA report:

  • S. DG exports had a total value of $2.19 billion in 2016, down 27 percent from 2015 and the lowest in four years. DG export prices averaged $191 per MT, down 19 percent from 2015 and the lowest in six years;
  • While U.S. DG exports to East Asia were down, shipments to other global regions surged. In particular, Southeast Asia and the Middle East experienced dramatic growth;
  • S. exports of corn gluten feed (CGF) — a co-product from wet mill ethanol — rebounded to a five-year high in 2016. CGF exports were up 43 percent over 2015 levels. Ireland was the top market, receiving 27 percent of total U.S. CGF exports, while Turkey and Israel were other top markets; and
  • Total exports of corn and corn-based ethanol co-products tallied 73 million metric tons in 2016, the highest on record.

The new report is a companion to RFA’s 2016 ethanol trade summary published last week.

View RFA’s co-product trade summary here.

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USGC, RFA, Growth Energy Urge Administration to Address China Trade Tariffs on Ethanol, DDGs

WASHINGTON — In a letter to President Donald Trump this week, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and Growth Energy are asking for help “in urgently addressing China’s recent implementation of protectionist trade barriers that are shutting out U.S. exports of ethanol and distillers dried grains (DDGS).” Specifically, the three groups are asking the incoming U.S. Trade Representative to put China’s recent actions near the top of the administration’s China trade agenda.

In September 2016, after a nine-month investigation, China imposed a preliminary anti-dumping duty of 33.8 percent against U.S. DDGS and a countervailing duty of 10 – 10.7 percent. In a final ruling last month, China increased its DDGS anti-dumping duty to 42.2 – 53.7 percent and its DDGS countervailing duty to 11.2 – 12 percent. Additionally, the tariffs on U.S. ethanol have increased from 5 percent to 30 – 40 percent.

“It is widely believed that raising these tariffs will put an immediate end to ethanol exports to China, erasing the significant progress our industry made in developing that market over the past several years,” wrote the groups to Trump. “[W]e respectfully ask that reform of these punitive ethanol tariff rates be included in any potential upcoming trade negotiations with China.”

China has grown to be a top export market for U.S. DDGS. In 2015, the country imported 6.5 million metric tons of the ethanol co-product, worth $1.6 billion and accounting for 51 percent of total U.S. DDGS exports. By the end of 2016, China had become the U.S. ethanol industry’s third-largest export market, receiving nearly 20 percent of total exports. Nearly 200 million gallons of ethanol worth more than $300 million were shipped to China last year.

As the letter explained, China’s recent actions have contributed to lower prices for ethanol and DDGS. Ethanol prices have fallen 15 percent since mid-December 2016 while DDGS prices have fallen steadily since the summer of 2016. DDGS prices are currently approximately 40 percent lower than in June 2016.

“President Trump’s message of ‘America First’ with regard to trade policy resonated with the U.S. ethanol industry and farmers across the country,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “China’s growing demand for protein and renewable fuel has triggered significant investment to meet their needs.  The sudden and unnecessary reversal in China’s trade policy, and the barriers to U.S. imports they have imposed, have jeopardized our industry and penalized Chinese consumers.  They need to end.  We look forward to working with the President and his Administration to restore free and fair trade to the betterment of both.”

“The U.S. Grains Council has worked for 35 years in China to help promote export of U.S. grains and their products and, as importantly, the development of the Chinese agriculture sector. We value these partnerships, however several recent moves in China policy are concerning,” said Tom Sleight, USGC president and CEO. “We are working with our industry and will work with the Trump Administration to get our relationship back on an even and fair footing.”

“Growth Energy is extremely disappointed with the decision by China to subject U.S. DDGS to anti-dumping and countervailing duties,” said Growth Energy CEO, Emily Skor. “While DDGS sales into other markets have partially offset the reduction in U.S. shipments to China, the economic loss to the industry and U.S. farmers is significant and underscores the uncertainty of China’s reliability as a trade partner. We will continue working with all parties on this important relationship and look forward to the opportunity of revisiting this decision in the future.”

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New Report Shows Net U.S. Ethanol Exports Reached Record-High 1.01 Billion Gallons in 2016

WASHINGTON — Net exports of ethanol from the United States set a new record of 1.01 billion gallons in 2016, according to a new eight-page summary of 2016 ethanol trade data published today by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

Gross U.S. ethanol exports totaled 1.05 billion gallons in 2016, second only to 2011’s record of 1.19 billion gallons. Meanwhile, ethanol imports registered at just 34 million gallons, the lowest total since 2010. Brazil was the leading destination for U.S. ethanol exports, followed by Canada and China. Together, the three countries accounted for 68 percent of total ethanol exports.

“U.S.-produced ethanol continues to be the lowest-cost, cleanest octane source on the planet. Our industry produced 15.2 billion gallons of ethanol last year, and while we continue to meet our domestic needs, ethanol exports are essential for future growth,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Just a few years ago, the U.S. was a net importer of Brazilian ethanol, but as U.S. producers have become more efficient and world sugar prices have risen, Brazil is now the top recipient of our domestic product.”

“Consumers in dozens of countries around the world are now reaping the benefits of U.S. ethanol: better engine performance, reduced emissions and lower cost. RFA will continue to work with its partners to build on the successes of 2016 and further develop the global market for ethanol,” Dinneen added.

Among other facts from the data:

  • S. ethanol exports were valued at $2.02 billion in 2016, up 13 percent from 2015 and the third-highest on record;
  • For the first time, undenatured ethanol for fuel use overtook denatured fuel ethanol as the leading ethanol export product, accounting for 51 percent of total exports in 2016; and
  • Exports to South America and East Asia had explosive growth in 2016, increasing 118 percent and 69 percent, respectively, over 2015 levels.

Printed copies of this analysis will available to attendees at RFA’s upcoming National Ethanol Conference, held Feb. 20–22 in San Diego. Meantime, the conference will also serve as host to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Buyer Program (IBP). Through the department’s network of offices in U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, the IBP recruits pre-screened foreign buyer delegations and brings them to selected trade shows and conferences in the United States, connecting U.S. companies with international buyers. Representatives from 16 countries, including China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Korea, are expected to attend.

View RFA’s summary here.

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Former White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer to Address National Ethanol Conference

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Association is pleased to announce that former White House press secretary and popular political pundit Ari Fleischer is scheduled to speak at the 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference, Feb. 20–22 in San Diego.

Fleischer will be the featured luncheon speaker on Tuesday, Feb. 21.

From 2001 to 2003, Fleischer was the primary spokesperson for President George W. Bush. He previously served as the Bush campaign spokesman in 1999 and 2000. In his almost four years working for George W. Bush, he served as spokesman during the historic presidential recount, September 11th, two wars and the anthrax attack. Now president of his own firm, Ari Fleischer Communications Inc., he offers advice to clients in the corporate and sports worlds on how to handle the press. He is a frequent guest commentator on many of the leading political and news shows.

“We’re excited to have Mr. Fleischer address our conference attendees,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “Since leaving government service, Mr. Fleischer has become an insightful and refreshingly objective source for perspective on the political and policy debates of the day. “As the voice of the President George W. Bush administration for nearly four years, he can offer first-hand insight on what it was like to work with the press during some of the most extraordinary circumstances. Additionally, working as the first press secretary for a new, incoming administration, Mr. Fleischer can provide observations into the unique challenges facing the current administration and the new Congress. NEC attendees will benefit from his experience and advice on working with the media and overall public relations messaging.”

The NEC is the most widely attended executive level conference for the ethanol industry. For up-to-date details on the NEC, visit: www.NationalEthanolConference.com.

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RFA, TRANSCAER Hosting Four Ethanol Safety Webinars

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Association and TRANSCAER® are hosting four free ethanol safety webinars this year for ethanol emergency response teams. The first webinar will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

The “Train the Trainer” webinars, funded through a Federal Railroad Administration / TRANSCAER® grant, are a pay-it-forward type of program. A single webinar can train a group of individuals, who can then turn around and pass that information forward, equipping entire communities with the knowledge necessary to respond to any potential ethanol-related emergency. RFA is a founding member of the Ethanol Emergency Response Coalition (EERC) and this program is based on the EERC’s Training Guide to Ethanol Emergency Response.

These webinar courses are intended to develop instructors to lead operations-level training. The webinars, led by national hazardous materials trainer Joel Hendelman, are open to all professional individuals above the technical level of training who are interested in learning how to teach ethanol emergency response. These professional individuals must also have an awareness level of hazardous material storage, handing and emergency response. The webinar courses are intended to develop instructors to lead operations-level training.

Future webinars will be held April 11, June 14 and Aug. 2. All four webinars will be held from noon to 2 p.m. ET. Registration is free, but is limited to the first 100 attendees per webinar. Certificates of attendance will be awarded following the completion of the safety seminar.

For more information or to register, visit www.rfa.traincaster.com.

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Two Purdue University Ph.D. Students Awarded NEC Scholarship

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Association and the Renewable Fuels Foundation are proud to announce Daehwan Kim and David Orrego as winners of the student scholarship that will send them to RFA’s 22nd annual National Ethanol Conference: Building Partnerships, Growing Markets next month in San Diego.

The RFA/RFF scholarship provides students enrolled in higher education with complimentary registration at the conference, giving scholarship recipients the chance to connect with hundreds of leaders, policymakers, and experts associated with the renewable fuel industry. Only students who focus on renewable fuels in their studies and intend to pursue a career in the industry are eligible to receive the scholarship. This is the eighth consecutive year in which this scholarship has been made available to students.

Kim is a Ph.D. candidate at Purdue University, pursuing biofuel research in the Laboratory of Renewable Resources Engineering and the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. His Ph.D. thesis addresses enzyme-catalyzed liquefaction of corn pericarp and fermentation to cellulosic ethanol, and also the development of inhibitor tolerant yeast strains.

Orrego is also a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. His work focuses on the design, optimization and scale-up of bioprocesses, with a focus on biochemical catalysis and bioreactor design.

“The NEC is the most widely attended ethanol industry conference and provides a great opportunity for those interested in pursuing a professional career in ethanol. With more than 1,500 attendees expected, these students will have access to a wide variety of participants in the ethanol industry, providing for unique networking opportunities,” said Bob Sather, chairman of the RFF and chairman of ACE Ethanol. “We congratulate Mr. Kim and Mr. Orrego and look forward to them attending NEC to learn much more about our global industry.”

The National Ethanol Conference will take place Feb. 20–22 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. For more information, visit www.NationalEthanolConference.com. For additional resources, visit the RFA and RFF at www.EthanolRFA.org and www.RenewableFuels-Foundation.org.

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RFA Sponsorship of Crappie Masters Tournament Trail Begins Friday in Florida

WASHINGTON — Last fall, the Renewable Fuels Association announced it would be a co-title sponsor of the Crappie Masters Tournament Trail, in an effort to educate boaters, conservation enthusiasts and consumers about ethanol’s benefits and its use in boats and other marine applications. The first of 19 tournaments begins this Friday in Deland, Florida, between Daytona and Orlando.

The tournament is being held Jan. 27–28 at St. Johns River.

“We are looking forward to the first Crappie Masters Tournament Trail event this week,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White, who will attend the event to meet the various teams and other attendees, educating them about ethanol. “There continues to be misinformation surrounding boating and ethanol, but for nearly 30 years, 10 percent ethanol (E10) has been used in all types of marine engines and the fuel blend is approved for use by all major marine engine manufacturers. E10 is safe to use in marine engines, and provides an octane boost, and dilutes the harmful ingredients in gasoline to help conserve these fishing habitats.”

“Crappie Masters is proud and honored to be teaming with the Renewable Fuels Association as a title sponsor of the Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail,” said Crappie Masters President Mike Vallentine. “We have worked hard over the past few years, dispelling the myths and mistruths regarding E10 fuel in outboard engines. This partnership will allow Crappie Masters to take this effort to a new level through nationwide television, radio, print, social media, and face-to-face interaction. We aim to educate boaters and all outdoor lovers that ethanol is safe for your boat, safe for the water and fisheries, safe for the environment, safe for the future and the best choice all around, along with supporting America’s farmers. We are privileged to take ethanol and renewable fuels to a mainstream, expected, and accepted level.”

Crappie Masters Television will also highlight each tournament. The weekly show can be found on the Pursuit Channel, which is on DIRECTV 604, Dish Network 393, Verizon, CenturyLink and Roku. RFA also recently produced a TV commercial to highlight the partnership with Crappie Masters, which you can view here. It will appear at least once during each of these scheduled broadcasts:

  • Tuesdays: 9:30 a.m. Central
  • Thursdays: 5:00 p.m. Central
  • Sundays: 12:30 p.m. Central

Additional funding for the sponsorship came from the National Corn Growers Association. The next Crappie Masters Tournament Trail event is Feb. 3–4 at Lake Talquin in Gadsden County, Florida.

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