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OIL INDUSTRY, OIL-STATE LAWMAKERS WANT RFS GONE

Brownfield Ag News | Posted on April 16, 2018

Petroleum refiners made it clear they would like to see the Renewable Fuel Standard go away.  American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association CEO Chet Thompson testified Friday before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on a proposal to change America’s octane standards.  “Sunsetting the RFS and transitioning to a 95 RON performance standard would end mandates, reduce overall compliance burdens, and provide achievable regulatory targets.” Growth Energy’s Emily Skor testified in favor of higher octane but insisted the RFS needs to be a part of that.  “Ninety-five RON is a 91 premium fuel that’s currently sold on the marketplace, often with a 10% ethanol blend, so if we move to a national standard of 91, there would be little to no incentive to further use biofuels in our national transportation mix.The RFS is not popular with oil-state Congressmen, including Joe Barton of Texas, who said he would repeal it if he could.  “Nobody can say ethanol is a struggling start-up industry anymore, so you really don’t need all of the protection, the mandates, the quotas that we have today.”


Despite support from Trump, EPA continues to examine 15% blend

The Progressive Farmer | Posted on April 16, 2018

Although President Donald Trump made clear on Thursday his support for granting a waiver to allow year-round sales of E15, the EPA told DTN on Friday the agency hasn't yet made a decision on E15. E15 fuel is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% of gasoline.  At a White House meeting Thursday focusing on agriculture and trade, Trump said his administration will approve E15. Talking briefly to reporters, the president said regarding ethanol, "We're going to raise it up to 15% and raise it to a 12-month period."Trump's brief comment came after news reports last week surfaced that EPA granted small-refinery hardship waivers at a breakneck pace in 2017.On Friday, an EPA spokesperson said the agency hasn't reached a decision on E15."EPA has been assessing the legal validity of granting an E15 waiver since last summer," the spokesperson said. "The agency has been awaiting a clear outcome from the ongoing RFS (Renewable Fuel Standard) discussions with the White House, USDA and Congress before making any final decisions or developing any associated regulatory actions."


The Keystone Pipeline oil spill was nearly twice as big as TransCanada said

Vice News | Posted on April 13, 2018

In November, the Keystone Pipeline spilled hundreds of thousands of barrels of highly-polluting tar sands oil, leaving a visible stain across a swath of South Dakota farmland. It came at an inopportune time: four days before a Nebraska commission was set to vote to approve an extension of that pipeline, the Keystone XL, which would move 830,000 extra barrels of oil per day through the Midwest to refineries in Texas and Illinois. The pipeline operator, TransCanada, won approval for the Keystone XL over the concerns of local Native American tribes, landowners, and environmental groups, in part because the three-person commission approving the extension was not allowed to consider the spill in its deliberations due to the Major Oil Pipeline Siting Act, passed in 2011, which prevents “safety considerations, including the risk or impact of spills or leaks” to be included when approving or denying route permits for new pipelines.


Rising Costs, Not Natural Gas, Main Driver of Coal Mine Closures

West Virginia Public Broadcasting | Posted on April 12, 2018

A new study finds rising production costs, not cheap natural gas, was the lead factor that drove thousands of coal mines across Appalachia to close. The analysis, published last week by the nonpartisan, environmental think tank, Resources for the Future, scrutinized the impact that natural gas prices, stagnant electricity demand and rising costs had on the ability of coal mines to stay in business.  The researchers created a model that allowed them to study different factors that affected the profitability of coal mines using public data from the Mine Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Energy Information Administration and information reported by public coal companies in their annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Illinois town leases 20 acres of city owned land for solar

East Peoria Times Courier | Posted on April 11, 2018

A divided Lacon City Council tentatively agreed Monday night.to lease 20 acres of city-owned farmland for 35 years to a solar energy developer that has never addressed or met with the council. The panel voted 3-2, with one abstaining, to move forward toward finalizing an agreement with Minnesota-based Solar Energy Ventures in a contract expected to come up for a final vote next month.The company would pay the city $1,300 an acre per year for the 2 megawatt installation, for a total of about $1.3 million over the life of the contract, said Acting Mayor John Wabel,


Illinois county works on solar ordinance

Rantoul Press | Posted on April 11, 2018

Work continues on a Champaign County zoning ordinance by the Zoning Board of Appeals that would regulate solar farms. A rural Ludlow Township site is one of two that a Washington, D.C-based company hopes to turn into a community solar farm. The zoning board will determine such things as the adequate separation of the solar farm from neighboring dwellings; a road use agreement for construction, (“Although with one of these small farms, that can be waived if the highway commissioner is not necessary,” Hall said); and the noise level, something that Hall said shouldn’t be a problem with this development.


Honolulu leads the nation in installed solar capacity per capita

Biz Journal | Posted on April 5, 2018

Hawaii's state capital has nearly three times as much solar PV per capita as the next leading city, San Diego, California.


First Floating U.S. Wind Farm May Be Built Off California Coast

Bloomberg | Posted on April 5, 2018

An agency that leads sustainable energy efforts for cities and counties along the state’s Redwood Coast chose a consortium of companies -- including Energias de Portugal SA’s EDPR Offshore North America LLC and Principle Power Inc. -- to build a floating wind farm that may generate as much as 150 megawatts of power.


Rick Perry mulls request to save coal, nuclear plants

Washington Examiner | Posted on April 4, 2018

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is considering a request from utility First Energy for an emergency order to save nuclear and coal power plants in the regions where it operates. The Energy Department confirmed the request by the utility company for an emergency must-run order under section 202 of the Federal Power Act, which gives Perry the authority to direct the "temporary" continued use of power plants in circumstances that include war, energy shortages or sudden surges in demand.


Judge dismisses Exxon’s ‘implausible’ attempt to stop climate investigations

The Hill | Posted on April 2, 2018

A federal judge dismissed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s attempt to stop the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts from investigating its alleged fraud regarding what company officials knew about climate change and when. The country’s largest oil company argued that probes by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) violated its free speech rights and were improperly motivated by political bias, among other claims.Exxon wanted Judge Valerie Caproni in the District Court for the Southern District of New York to stop the attorneys general from issuing subpoenas or other demands for records or dispositions.But in a big loss for Exxon, Caproni, whom former President Obama nominated to the bench, said the company’s allegations were “implausible,” and dismissed its case.


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