Blender Pump Exclusion Maintained in House Ag Committee Farm Bill
The U.S. House Agriculture Committee recently passed its version of the Farm Bill by a 35 to 11 vote. The bill, introduced by Republican leadership, modified the existing Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) by specifically excluding blender pumps.
Representative Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) offered an amendment to include blender pumps in the bill, but it was not adopted. Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) gave bipartisan support for including blender pumps stating, “I realize the importance of blender pump grants to the renewable fuels industry. I asked from the beginning that blender pump grants be included in REAP and was disappointed to see they were excluded in the base bill. I was also disappointed that the effort to add grants for blender pumps to the bill failed, but I will continue to support these grants as the 2012 Farm Bill moves forward.”
IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw said, “It was very disappointing to see the blender pump exclusion maintained in the House Ag Committee Farm Bill.” He added, “The House has voted to ban E15, to end the biofuels tax credits, and to discriminate against blender pumps. Yet, the House has done nothing to end the ‘Century of Subsidies’ for Big Oil, to end the federal loan guarantee program for petroleum pipelines, to break up the petroleum distribution monopoly, or to remove the federal 85% petroleum mandate.” Shaw concluded, “It’s becoming quite an embarrassing record for the House and voters in Iowa are taking note.”
To learn more about the massive protections the federal government awards Big Oil go to: http://www.iowarfa.org/IssueBrief.php and http://www.iowarfa.org/BigOilMonopolyFactSheet.php
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Farm Bureau Survey Shows Food Prices Decreased Last Quarter
According to the latest American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Marketbasket Survey, consumers saw food prices drop at their local supermarkets during the second quarter of 2012. The survey showed that meats, cheese, milk and eggs posted the largest price declines.
Most of the decrease was due to an increase in production of sliced meats and dairy products, in turn lowering the retail price. “The decline in retail meat prices for the second quarter is not unexpected,” said AFBF Senior Economist John Anderson. “Wholesale meat prices trended lower at the end of the first quarter of the year and consumers are benefiting from that as retail prices have followed suit.”
To read the entire press release click here.
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Big River Resources Pushing Onward
While multiple ethanol plants including Valero Energy Corporation’s Linden, Ind. and Albion, Neb. production facilities, have either shut down or scaled back operations, Big River Resources is pushing onward.
High corn prices, hot, dry weather, and a surplus of ethanol has made it tough on the ethanol industry. Big River Resources President and CEO Ray Defenbaugh told The HawkEye, “We are in a down cycle.”
“We are managing to make a little profit. The margins are different at all four plants,” Defenbaugh said of Big River’s four ethanol plants.
According to Defenbaugh, the surplus of ethanol is one of the biggest problems. He stated that ethanol production in a year's time was one billion gallons greater than ethanol used by gas producers. He estimates that only 13 billion gallons will be produced this year to, “work through the inventory build-up.” But Defenbaugh doesn’t foresee any of Big River’s ethanol plants shutting down. "One of our goals when we started out was to provide jobs and preserve our rural communities," he added.
Big River Resources has facilities in Galva, Ill., Boyceville, Wis., West Burlington and Dyersville, Iowa with a combined total of more than 350 employees between the four plants and its five grain elevators.
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Biofuels Industry Executives Defend RFS
In an opinion article published by Politico, four biofuels industry executives, Director of Biofuels at DuPont Jan Koninckx, President of Novozymes North America Adam Monroe, President and CEO of Abengoa Bioenergy Javier Salgado and CEO of POET Jeff Lautt, defended the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) and advocated for no change to the policy that could hinder the development of the biofuels industry, especially cellulosic biofuels.
The article argued, “Since 2005, the U.S. has reduced the cost of foreign oil imports by more than $100 billion through biofuels. That’s $100 billion injected back into America, building careers, supporting farmers and expanding our rural economies.” It continued, “The next phase, which is well underway, is to use a wide variety of cellulosic sources, to make advanced biofuels. We represent five global private sector companies now producing advanced biofuels in the U.S. We are making fuel from many sources — including energy grasses, corncobs and other crop leftovers and household trash.”
The article also stated, “We have invested in this because it answers to big energy challenges — while offering a competitive business opportunity. Yet it is important that the policy remains consistent.” It went on to state, “Cellulosic ethanol will likely soon become competitive with gasoline made from increasingly expensive oil. As the industry expands, consumers will have greater choice at the pump — and we can help U.S. energy security.”
Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen also highlighted the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) through testimony at a recent hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and Subcommittee on Energy and Power.
Dinneen stated, “America’s ethanol industry — buttressed by a visionary Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — is already decreasing our reliance on foreign oil, already exerting downward pressure on gasoline prices, already employing tens of thousands of American workers, and already cleaning up our air.” He added, “As a result of the forward-looking nature of the RFS, the industry is poised to make even more significant contributions to our nation’s economic and environmental security in the future.”
To read the entire Op-ed click here.
To read the full release of Dinneen’s comments click here.
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Navy’s Successful Biofuels Program
Logo on a biofuel powered FA-18 in the Great Green Fleet. Photo by the USDA
The world’s single largest oil consumer, the U.S. Military, is now touting a successful test of biofuels, the U.S. Navy’s Great Green Fleet. A group of fighter jets and warships powered by biofuels blends made their debut as the Senate is preparing for a fight over the inclusion of biofuels use and purchase in the Department of Defense’s (DOD) budget.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus told a gathering at the demonstration, “Those aircraft are flying the way they always do. The ships steamed the way they always do. There was no difference with the fuel.” Mabus and other supporters highlight that curbing the military’s reliance on fossil fuels and making renewable fuels more commercially viable will ultimately lower costs and increase national security.
Senators, Others Urging Support for Biofuel Use in Defense Budget
In an opinion article, Senator Jeannie Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) expressed their support for amending the new National Defense Authorization Act to allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to buy and use biofuels.
|Photo Courtesy of Politico
Noting that the DOD is the federal government’s largest energy consumer, the article stated, “Without changes to the new National Defense Authorization Act, which the Senate Armed Services Committee just passed, the Defense Department’s ability to buy domestic biofuels will be curtailed significantly. This would be a setback for achieving energy independence, strengthening long-term national security and protecting service members in harm’s way. We hope to correct that short-sighted mistake when the bill reaches the Senate floor.”
The article went on to state, “The Navy has successfully tested nearly all of its ships and aircraft on biofuel blends — including an F-18 fighter flying at twice the speed of sound and a ship moving at 50 knots. It will soon conduct its largest biofuels test ever.”
Even former military leaders are calling for more support of renewable fuels in the National Defense Authorization Act. Retired Marine Corps General Stephen Cheney also voiced that we need to wean the military and the U.S. in general off of foreign oil. “We need to fuel America’s fleet with made in America fuel. It’s America’s fleet, America’s fuels, made by American farmers,” he stated.
To read the Senators’ opinion article click here.
To read Domestic Fuel’s article on retired Military leaders and biofuels click here.
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TV Ad Campaign Attacks Opposition to Military’s Biofuels Program
The Truman National Security Project’s Operation Free launched a TV ad campaign targeted at lawmakers for their opposition to the military’s biofuels program.
One ad features Veteran Chris Marzoni asking why lawmakers don’t trust military leaders when it comes to biofuels. “When the Navy says advanced American biofuels make our forces more effective and energy-independent, I trust them,” Marzoni says in the ad. The ad takes a more specific approach when it states, “That’s why I’m disappointed that some in Congress are trying to stop our military’s biofuels programs...I’m a veteran, and I trust our military leaders. Why don’t you?”
The ad campaign was launched Tuesday, July 17 and comes as Congress is threatening to kill the Navy’s biofuels program with provisions restricting the military from purchasing renewable fuels. The ad also targets specific Congressmen who serve on the House Armed Services Committee and voted in favor of the provisions to the bill.
To watch one of the ads click here.
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Peck Motorsports Going Green with Biodiesel
|Todd Peck with Grant Kimberly, Iowa Soybean Association, and Randy Olson, Iowa Biodiesel Board. Photo courtesy of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.
NASCAR Driver Todd Peck filled his race hauler with B15 (a 15 percent blend of biodiesel) as part of Peck Motorsports’ commitment to be the greenest team in NASCAR.
The race team, with the help of Renewable Engineered Systems, modified its race hauler with solar panels on the roof to power newly installed LED lights and equipment. Peck Motorsports also uses biodiesel blends to drive to and from race events.
“Peck Motorsports is dedicated to be environmentally clean leaders in NASCAR,” said Peck. “Fueling our team transporter full of biodiesel has been a part of that process. We can’t thank the Iowa Biodiesel Board (IBB) enough for joining our efforts in Iowa this race weekend in making our journey as ‘green’ as possible.”
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BP Looks to Renewable Fuels to Increase Market Presence
British Petroleum’s (BP) Alternative Energy Business CEO Katrina Landis is eyeing wind energy and biofuels as attractive business opportunities.
BP projects that biofuels will make up 30 percent of the gasoline pool by 2030, and is specifically watching cellulosic ethanol as possibly being the energy of the future. Landis said, “Our cellulosic ethanol energy grass feedstock grows 15 to18 feet high and produces 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of fuel per acre.” Landis said of BP’s investments in cellulosic ethanol, “We’re going to go to market with a 16 percent ethanol blend.”
The BP CEO also says they’ll be making significant investments in wind energy projects as part of their plan to invest $8 billion over a 10 year period. BP’s alternative energy division started in 2005, and its plans to invest $8 billion are ahead of schedule, having already invested a total of $7 billion, with $4 billion being invested in the United States.
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New Cargill Facility Under Construction in Fort Dodge
According to the Fort Dodge Messenger, the renewable fuels industry continues to grow in Iowa as Cargill Inc. begins construction on new wet mill ethanol plant in Fort Dodge. The new facility will have the capacity to grind 150,000 bushels of corn per day and produce 115 million gallons of ethanol annually.
|Photo Courtesy of Fort Dodge Messenger
Currently, the plant employs 21 people, but is projected to employ more than 100 when the wet mill is operational in the fall of 2013. Cargill believes the new facility can mirror the success of its biorefineries in Eddyville, Iowa and Blair, Neb.
Greater Fort Dodge Alliance CEO Dennis Paultz said, “You can make hundreds of value-added products out of corn. Companies like Cargill will help transform our region from an ag commodity-based economy to a high-tech, high-wage economy.”
Iowa’s north-central region’s renewable fuels business seems to be taking off. The Cargill plant, when fully operational, combined with the Valero plant near Fort Dodge and the POET facility in Gowrie, will grind a total of about 500,000 bushels of corn per day. “That’s the total amount of corn that’s grown in an average year on 1 million acres. If this demand changes the basis price of corn by 40 cents per bushel, just the price of the corn alone will inject about $75 million a year into an 11-county area around Fort Dodge,” stated Plautz.
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KBR and DuPont Plan Cellulosic Plant Construction in Iowa
DuPont announced that KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown & Root) has been awarded the contract for engineering and procurement services for its first cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada, Iowa. The facility is designed to process 1,300 tons of corn stover per day and has the capacity to produce 27.5 million gallons of ethanol annually.
“The cellulosic biofuel industry is at a pivotal stage in its development as a viable alternative fuel. Few companies can bring to bear the advanced technology and the operational expertise critical for success. DuPont is such a company and I am proud to have the opportunity to be a part of this distinguished team,” said DuPont Cellulosic Ethanol Business Director Steve Mirshak.
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Six Biofuels Groups Petition to Intervene in AFPM Lawsuit
Six biofuels industry groups jointly petitioned the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to intervene in a lawsuit filed by American Fuel & Petroleum Manufacturers (AFPM) and the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The six organizations are asking to join the AFPM et al v. EPA suit to support the EPA’s denial of a waiver of the 2011 Cellulosic Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The six biofuels groups jointly filing the petition include the Advanced Biofuels Association, Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC), American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE), Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).