Ethanol advocates are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to raise the 2019 federal ethanol production mandate to make up for waivers granted this year. Scott Pruitt, the EPA Administrator who resigned earlier this month, issued waivers so some small refineries didn’t have to blend ethanol into gasoline. Ethanol advocates say more than two billion gallons of the corn-based fuel would have been added to gasoline if Pruitt hadn’t granted those waivers. Lamberty and others are lobbying the EPA to add onto the 2019 federal production guidelines to make up for the losses.
Rural households across the United States spend a disproportionately high share of their income on energy bills — about 40 percent more than their metropolitan counterparts, according to a new report released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) coalition. The problem is most glaring in the East and Southeast, and among low-income households across all regions. Overall, rural households have a median energy burden — the percentage of a household’s income spent on home energy bills for needs such as air conditioning, heating, lighting, appliances, and cooking — of 4.4 percent, which is one-third higher than the national burden. Those with low incomes have a median energy burden of 9 percent, which is almost three times that of higher-income counterparts. In several rural regions, this burden exceeds 15 percent for one of every four low-income households.
Amid Scott Pruitt's departure as administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, biofuel interests are ramping up their calls for a course correction at the agency as it looks to set upcoming blending levels. Amid Scott Pruitt's departure as administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency, biofuel interests are ramping up their calls for a course correction at the agency as it looks to set upcoming blending levels. Biofuel leaders also urged the agency to act on the President’s pledge to lift outdated restrictions on the summertime sale of higher ethanol fuel blends, specifically E15, a fuel blend containing 15% ethanol. In its proposed rule, the agency declined to accept comments on the controversial waiver program or Reid vapor pressure restrictions on E15, but advocates are hopeful that the new EPA leader is ready to reopen an honest dialogue with rural America.
Weeks after Minnesota regulators approved the replacement of an oil pipeline that crosses the state, Native American and environmental groups are starting to oppose the project with a similar playbook to a failed effort to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A $1.1 billion U.S. shale pipeline on Monday was denied an exclusion to the Trump administration’s tariff on imported steel, the first such ruling on a major energy project since the tariff went into effect. Pipeline operator Plains All American Pipeline LP’s request was denied because suitable product is available from domestic producers, the Commerce Department ruling said.The Trump administration this spring slapped a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent on imported aluminum to safeguard U.S. jobs. It allowed companies to seek exemptions if metals were not available in sufficient quality, quantity or in a reasonable time.
House lawmakers in both parties are hoping to use a spending bill to block offshore oil and natural gas drilling in the waterways off their states’ coasts. A handful of lawmakers, mainly from coastal states, are sponsoring proposed amendments to the annual appropriations bill for the Interior Department and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would block Interior funding to allow drilling in particular areas.
The Ray C. Anderson Memorial Highway, or "The Ray" for short, is a section of Interstate 85 in southwestern Georgia that has implemented environmentally minded projects in honor of its namesake. Anderson founded carpet manufacturer Interface Inc. and was called the "greenest CEO in America" for his efforts to make his company environmentally sustainable. The Ray was dedicated in his memory in 2014."We haven't thought about how to make a road smarter, be able to communicate with drivers," says Harriet Langford, Anderson's daughter and founder and president of The Ray, an organization that is dedicated to working on the highway. "We haven't really thought about the extensive land we have. Just on our 18-mile corridor, we have 250 acres of land that's just underutilized."The Ray works to use that land. Kernza wheat, whose deep roots help retain clean water and trap carbon, grows on the shoulder. Bioswales, drainage ditches filled with native Georgia vegetation, capture pollutants during rainstorms. The I-85 visitor center in West Point, Georgia, has a solar-powered charging station, a solar-paved roadway and a tire pressure system to improve road safety, another goal of The Ray. After cars drive over the system, they come across a kiosk where drivers request a paper ticket or enter their phone number to get a text with information about their tire pressure. A 7,000-square-foot pollinator garden provides a butterfly and honeybee habitat.
Six New Hampshire biomass plants might be in jeopardy of closing after a bill was recently vetoed by Gov. Chris Sununu. The governor said the bill could have cost Granite Staters millions, but plant managers and employees said the plants are in jeopardy if lawmakers don't act. The governor issued the veto in June, saying the veto would not take anything away from the biomass industry. He said the bill would have given the industry an additional $30 million in subsidies, and vetoing it saved ratepayers about $25 million. Plant managers said the veto has already had an impact. At Pinetree, the pile of wood chips that fuels the plant is running low and will likely last for about a week."Once we go through that fuel, we will go into economic shutdown," manager Robert Lussier said.Officials at six biomass plants that employ about 900 people said they could close if nothing changes.
EPA Administrator and refining industry ally Scott Pruitt resigned earlier this month after losing the support of the White House. Shortly before his departure, the EPA implemented substantial reductions to biofuel blending volumes under the national blending mandate. Recently-released EPA documents show that the reductions were implemented in a way that will keep ethanol blending at roughly 10 vol% of gasoline consumption. The EPA documents also show that the reduction decision occurred shortly before Mr. Pruitt's departure. If finalized later this year, the reduction to future blending volumes will continue to put downward pressure on ethanol operating margins.
A five-year study in Chippewa County has transformed a reclaimed frac sand mine into a successful wild prairie. Researchers are hopeful that lessons learned can be used at other mining operations around the state beginning to fill in their pits. In a rare collaboration, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls worked with industrial sand mining firm Superior Silica Sands and Chippewa County’s Department of Land Conservation and Forest Management to learn how sand mining impacts soil that is stripped away, stored and replaced after mining operations wrap up. "Although sand mining is an inherently destructive process, we were able to reclaim within three years a reasonably diverse and fully vegetated native prairie on these pretty low nutrient, difficult soils," said Diboll.