Joseph Morton reported on the front page of Thursday's Omaha World-Herald that, "President Donald Trump scanned the Rose Garden on Wednesday as he looked to recognize lawmakers there for his signing of a veterans health care bill. "When he got to Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, he couldn’t help alluding to his rejection of a proposed overhaul of federal ethanol requirements known as the Renewable Fuel Standard. Those changes were fiercely opposed by Midwest biofuel producers. "'I did you a good favor for the farmers yesterday, right?' Trump told Ernst. 'We love the farmers. Right, Joni?'"
On the one-year anniversary of being confirmed by the Senate as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue delivered testimony on Tuesday to the Senate Agriculture Committee at a hearing titled, "The State of Rural America." Sec. Perdue was quizzed by Senators about a variety of issues, including trade and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
Last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Tex.), along with several of his GOP colleagues, met with President Trump and other executive branch officials regarding the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Today's update looks briefly at some of the recent political maneuvering among Senators that led to the RFS meeting with Sen. Cruz, and examines some of the news articles that highlighted the results of that session.
Recall that in December of 2016, agricultural policy observers expressed some measure of unease with President-elect Donald Trump's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. As The Wall Street Journal stated at the time, "After campaigning as a strong supporter of the use of ethanol and other biofuels in the nation’s gasoline supply, President-elect Donald Trump has chosen a forceful adversary of those federal requirements to implement them." Nearly one year later, today's update looks briefly at recent EPA action on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and Administrator Pruitt's visit to Iowa on Friday.
A report earlier this month from USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) ("Global Ethanol Mandates: Opportunities for U.S. Exports of Ethanol and DDGS," by Jayson Beckman and Getachew Nigatu) noted that, "The increased use of ethanol globally could provide strong and diverse export market opportunities for U.S. ethanol and ethanol byproducts." Parts of the ERS report are highlighted in this update.
A recent GAIN (Global Agricultural Information Network) report by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) took a closer look at important variables regarding biofuels and China. Today's update includes some highlights from the report, which is available in its entirety here, "China- Biofuels Annual, 'Growing Interest for Ethanol Brightens Prospects.'"
In late September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal to reduce the volume requirements for biodiesel for 2018 and 2019 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). However, on Thursday, in a letter to several senators, the EPA Administrator committed to at least maintain current blending requirements. Today's update provides a brief timeline of some of the reaction by lawmakers, including Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), that transpired between the EPA proposal in September, to Thursday's letter from EPA.