January 23, 2020

Biofuels; Crop Insurance; Climate Issues; Ag Economy; and FSA Update


The “Washington Insider” section of DTN indicated yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency published its final criteria for federal renewable fuel standards established by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Those targets total 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022, including 21 billion gallons from cellulosic sources such as switchgrass or crop residues. The targets ratchet up annually, but require that 12.95 billion gallons, or 8.25 percent of the fuel supply come from renewable sources by 2010.

“The law also requires EPA to define what fuels qualify as ‘renewable,’ and there has been some nail-biting in the biofuels industries on this score. Already existing ethanol plants or those under construction on Dec. 19, 2007 — the day the law took effect — were grandfathered, so their products automatically qualify. However, corn-based ethanol from new plants must emit at least 20 percent less greenhouse gas than gasoline over its life cycle to qualify. The rule EPA published Friday says corn-based ethanol produced in modern plants powered by natural gas are ‘renewable’ under that standard, while that produced in new coal-fired facilities would not.

The main concern of ethanol proponents was the requirement in the law that EPA’s analysis consider ‘indirect emissions’ — those from land-use changes resulting from using corn and other food grains for energy.”