Federal legislation, regulation, litigation. Policy. Scholarships and Competitions.  Plus Educational Resources.  And Advanced Biofuels USA activities.  DON'T FORGET us on #GIVINGTUESDAY!
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New life amid the brilliant fading of the old.  Enjoy the bounty of the season!

Reminder - Advanced Biofuels USA Split Newsletter into Two Parts: Conference Calendar, which is sent separately; and Policy, Legislation, Regulations and Happenings--this one.  All can be found archived on our NEWS page.  Watch for news about new newsletter formats and subscription options coming this fall.

Happenings on Capitol Hill, at the White House and in Federal Agencies

Latest Federal Legislation Posts

We follow proposed and actual federal legislation.  Here are some key stories as we head to the final laps of this legislative session.

Key issues? Speculation about the new administration's priorities. Will the Renewable Fuel Standard be repealed or revised?  What about a carbon tax or price on carbon?

For more legislative news,
click here.

We also follow policy developments in the US, other countries and states.  For more information on those topics, click on the name of the country or state that appears along the right margin of our website at
New Survey: Vast Majority of Environmentalists Want RFS Corn Ethanol Mandates Reduced
November 14, 2016 – 10:59 am | 
(American Council for Capital Formation)  With Incoming Trump Administration, Reforms to Ethanol Mandates Could Provide Early, Bipartisan Win  —  As the Trump administration readies to take the reins, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) could serve …
US Elections: Who Wins, Who Loses – What Trump’s Victory Means for the Bioeconomy
November 9, 2016 – 10:17 am | 
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digests)  In Washington, Donald Trump captured the US Presidency in an upset victory that confounded pollsters and political pundits even as it delighted supporters of his maverick candidacy based on themes …
Reject Backward Thinking on Carbon
November 7, 2016 – 3:28 pm | 
by Carol Werner (Environmental and Energy Study Institute/Morning Consult)  … H.R. 5180, a proposal introduced by U.S. Representative Bill Flores (R-Texas), would place a 9.7 percent cap on consumption of homegrown biofuels, rolling back 11 years …
Get Ready for Divided Government, Again
November 6, 2016 – 6:56 pm | 
by Douglas L. Faulkner (The Cleantech Conservative/Biofuels Digest)  … America is divided in so many ways: by ideology, class, gender, education and race, and even by geography. There is a political and economic chasm between the …
Biofuels Finance Conference Meets in Minneapolis
October 24, 2016 – 9:22 pm | 
by Susanne Retka Schill (Ethanol Producer Magazine) … The lame duck Congress offers the next best chance for some movement on one issue important to the ethanol industry, said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American …
A Bridge from City to Country Made of Algae: An Algae Biomass Summit Preview
October 24, 2016 – 7:13 pm
by Jim Lane (Biofuels Digest)  … As algae developers struggled to bring down costs within venture timelines, and then as global commodity prices plunged — algae companies began a steady re-focusing on the higher prices available …
Don’t Let Foreign Interests Prevent US Biofuels Future
October 21, 2016 – 7:34 pm | 
by Retired Maj. Gen. Paul D. Eaton (The Hill/  Ninety-seven percent America’s motor fuel is blended with homegrown ethanol. From an energy security perspective, this is major progress that should be celebrated and encouraged.
Energy is not …
API Will Pursue RFS Reform during 2016 Lame-Duck Congress and Beyond
October 21, 2016 – 5:52 pm | 
by Nick Snow (Oil & Gas Journal)  The American Petroleum Institute plans to press members of Congress to reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard when the federal lawmakers return for their 2016 lame-duck session following …
Lies and Big Oil Fiction
October 21, 2016 – 12:03 pm |
by Bob Dinneen (Renewable Fuels Association/Ethanol Producer Magazine)  Biofuel critics will continue to distort the truth to fit their own narrative, but you can bet the ethanol industry will hit back with the truth each …
RFA: Data Show the So-Called “Blend Wall” Is Crumbling
October 20, 2016 – 3:18 pm | 
(Renewable Fuels Association)  Gasoline supplied to the U.S. market last week contained an average of 10.4 percent ethanol, according to data released this morning by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). It was the second time …
BIO Asks Congress to Extend Critical Bioenergy Tax Credits During Lame-Duck
October 19, 2016 – 10:47 am | 
(Biotechnology Innovation Organization)  BIO today (October 18, 2016) sent a letter to Congressional Leadership, the Senate Finance Committee Chairs, and the House Ways and Means Committee Chairs calling for the extension of renewable energy tax credits …
Once More into the Blendwall Breach
October 19, 2016 – 10:39 am
by Anthony Adragna (Politico’s Morning Energy)  The American Petroleum Institute is hoping that when the EPA sets final biofuel volumes later this year, it will reduce the percentage of ethanol required for blending with gasoline to something …
With Hometown’s Cornfields in Mind, Shimkus Supports Renewable Fuel Standard Reform
October 18, 2016 –
by Ruth de Jauregui (Metro East Sun)  Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) recently expressed his readiness to lead the House Energy and Commerce Committee, on which he is the senior member, in pushing for Renewable Fuel Standard …

Latest on Federal Regulation

EPA does seem to have made a decision not to change the Renewable Fuel Standard's obligated parties definition.  However, we still await the renewable volume obligation numbers.  Rumor has it that they will be released Thursday, November 17.

And insights into the inner machinations of the US political process, including biofuels regulations, come from leaked emails.

Scroll down for information about regulations related to these topics and others among our latest postings. Others you'll find in the Federal Regulations category online.
Renewable Fuels Advocate Calls EPA’s Actions Regarding Biofuels a Slap in the Face to Farmers
November 14, 2016 – 5:08 pm | 
(Oklahoma Farm Report)  As farmers across the country harvest more corn than ever before this year, paving the way for a future of opportunity in the ethanol business, RON’s Associate Farm Director Carson Horn took …
EPA Rejects Plea to Tweak Ethanol Mandate’s Rules
November 14, 2016 – 4:44 pm | 
by Timothy Cama (The Hill)  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making plans to reject a plea by some fuel refiners to shift responsibility for ethanol mandate compliance away from them.
A handful of refining companies …
Trump’s Victory Shatters Energy Landscape
November 9, 2016 – 2:04 pm | 
by Anthony Adragna (Politico’s Morning Energy)  …  Biofuels: Trump said in Iowa in January that he wants ethanol volumes set under the Renewable Fuel Standard restored to statutory levels, but he has surrounded himself with RFS …
If the U.S. Is Serious about the Paris Agreement, It Needs to Get Serious about Biofuels
November 7, 2016 – 5:29 pm | 
(Renewable Fuels Association)  … Leading up to the Paris Agreement, countries submitted individual plans — called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs) — on how they planned to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets. At least …
Big Oil Companies Reap Windfall From Ethanol Rules
November 7, 2016 – 4:48 pm | 
by Bradley Olson  (Wall Street Journal)  Some refiners stand to rake in $1 billion by selling fuel credits, while others must spend millions to comply  —  Environmental regulations designed to boost the amount of ethanol blended …
Murphy USA: A Misunderstood Model – Weitz Investment Management
November 7, 2016 – 2:53 pm | 
(Value Walk)  Murphy USA is the largest stand-alone fuel retailer in the United States. The majority of its stores are located adjacent to a Wal-Mart, and they pursue a low-cost, high-volume model. —  …  Lastly, …
Koch Brothers Build Biofuel Giant Aided by Mandates They Abhor
November 7, 2016 – 2:23 pm
by Mario Parker (Bloomberg)  Buying bankrupt plants on cheap creates No. 5 U.S. producer; Free-market preachers seek profit without mandated use of fuel  —  Jeremy Bezdek admits that the proposal he made to his bosses at …
Ethanol’s Prime Spot in the E&C Chairman’s Race
November 7, 2016 – 12:20 pm | 
by Mark Drajem & Ari Natter and James Rowley (Bloomberg)  … Similar to Hillary Clinton’s dilemma on pipelines, a Trump administration could be caught between competing interests on approval for renewable projects or transmission lines on …
Time to Rein in the EPA
November 6, 2016 – 8:26 pm | 
by  Dale Christensen (Glacial Lakes Corn Processors/The Hill)  … EPA has either through ignorance at best or malice at worst failed to make our continued transition to cleaner, renewable fuels an easier path.   Recall the nearly …
Commission Proposals on Biofuels Will Damage Romania’s Interests
November 6, 2016 – 4:59 pm | 
by Laurențiu Rebega (EurActiv/Europe of Nations and Freedom Group)  The change of EU policy on biofuels will undermine Romania’s potential to become one of Europe’s most important sources of clean renewable fuel —  … n addition to …
Biodiesel Board to Argue against Argentine Imports
November 6, 2016 – 4:44 pm
by Mark Drajem & Ari Natter (Bloomberg)  Early last year the EPA sent a letter to the Argentine biodiesel board that set out how its members could qualify their fuel as having been produced from “qualified …
EPA’s Final RVO for Conventional Renewable Fuel Simply Has to be 15 Billion Gallons—Here’s Why…
November 4, 2016 – 12:04 pm | 
by Geoff Cooper (Renewable Fuels Association)  … EPA’s proposed renewable volume obligation (RVO) is below the statutory 15-bg level established by Congress in 2007, and the Agency suggested the reduction was necessary because the marketplace …
Automakers Outperform Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for 4th Consecutive Year
November 2, 2016 – 10:56 pm | N
(Environmental Protection Agency)  Average fuel economy reaches record 24.8 miles per gallon  —  Passenger vehicles achieved record-high fuel economy while outperforming greenhouse gas emission standards in model year 2015, according to two reports released today …
M&A Transactions Help Define Current US Biodiesel Era
November 2, 2016 – 10:23 pm | 
by Ron Kotrba (Biodiesel Magazine)  For better or worse, the U.S. biodiesel industry continues to consolidate. While 2014-’15 has been a rough period in the sector, the fallout has presented undeniable opportunities for key players …
Changes Sought for RFS Compliance Mechanism
November 2, 2016 – 8:50 pm | 
by Anthony Adragna (Politico’s Morning Energy)  Rep. Bob Brady is going to press for changes in the Renewable Fuel Standard compliance mechanism that the refineries in his district say costs them millions — and he may …
EPA Schedules Public Hearing on Proposed Rule to Update RFS
November 2, 2016 – 3:49 pm | 
by Erin Voegele (Biomass Magazine)  The U.S. EPA has announced plans to hold a public hearing on Dec. 6 in Chicago for its proposed Renewables Enhancement and Growth Support Rule. Those who wish to testify …
Biofuels Finance Conference Meets in Minneapolis
October 24, 2016 – 9:22 pm | No Comment
by Susanne Retka Schill (Ethanol Producer Magazine) … The lame duck Congress offers the next best chance for some movement on one issue important to the ethanol industry, said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the American …
Here’s How Ethanol COSTS Farmers At Least $57 BILLION
October 24, 2016 – 8:40 pm | 
by Andrew Follett  (The Daily Caller)  A federal ethanol mandate has cost American farmers at least $57 billion dollars through increased corn prices, according to calculations by the National Chicken Council.   ...   When America became the world’s …
Sponsler: There’s More to the Story When It Comes to the Renewable Fuel Standard
October 24, 2016 – 8:15 pm
by Mark Sponsler (Colorado Corn/Greeley Tribune)  … In spite of its supporters being hugely outspent, the RFS passed based on the common-sense approach of diversifying fuel sources beyond the effective monopoly of petroleum interests, lessening our dependence …
Emails: Clinton Team Mulled Repeal of EPA’s Ethanol Program
October 24, 2016 – 8:02 pm | 
by John Siciliano (Washington Examiner)  Hillary Clinton’s campaign mulled supporting the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency’s renewable fuels program before a campaign tour through the corn state of Iowa last year, according to illegally …
Ethanol in U.S. Gas Tanks Is Backfiring for Climate Change
October 24, 2016 – 3:57 pm | 
by John Upton (Climate Central)  It may have seemed apparent to members of Congress a decade ago that if a motorist pumped a gallon of fuel made from corn into their gas tank, a gallon …
Energy Lessons from Podesta’s Inbox
October 21, 2016 – 6:00 pm |
by Anthony Adragna (Politico’s Morning Energy)  … Comb through the tens of thousands of messages from John Podesta’s hacked inbox long enough, and you can find a veritable roadmap to the energy policy Hillary Clinton would …
White House OMB Reviews 2017 RFS Rule
October 21, 2016 – 12:45 pm | 
by Erin Voegele (Ethanol Producer Magazine)  On Oct. 19, the U.S. EPA delivered its proposed rule to set renewable fuel standard (RFS) volume standards for 2017 and biobased diesel standards for 2018 to the White …
#Ethanol Breaking Through Blend Wall
October 21, 2016 – 12:30 pm | 
by Cindy Zimmerman (  The average amount of ethanol in the nation’s gasoline supply hit a new record last week of 10.4 percent, just breaking through the 10% blend wall for the second time in …
UAI: EPA Emails Show Oil Industry Helped Design Test Fuels
October 20, 2016 – 3:30 pm | 
(Urban Air Initiative/Ethanol Producer Magazine)  The Urban Air Initiative has discovered that the U.S. EPA relied heavily on the oil industry to help design test fuels used for the EPAct Study. This is a critical …
Path to Improved Fuel Economy Includes Ethanol
October 19, 2016 – 3:01 pm | 
by Mark Dorenkamp (Brownfield Ag News)  A Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) director says the auto industry path to improved fuel economy includes higher blends of ethanol.
Randall Doyal, CEO of Al-Corn Clean Fuel in southeast Minnesota, tells …

Latest in Federal Litigation 

Federal litigation news sometimes overlaps with Federal Regulation items, so check both sections.  Fraud once again gets attention from the courts.

Sad to report that the VW settlement promotes use of fossil fuel powered vehicles rather than renewable fuel power.

Find more items about federal litigation on our website, click here.
Wealthy Florida Businessmen Sentenced to 10-Plus Years in Prison for Biofuel Scam
November 9, 2016 – 1:34 pm | 
by Brett Murphy ( Naples Daily News)  A federal judge sentenced two Florida men to 10-plus years in prison for their part in a $46 million scheme that defrauded government agencies and the renewable energy industry …
Biodiesel Board to Argue against Argentine Imports
November 6, 2016 – 4:44 pm | 
by Mark Drajem & Ari Natter (Bloomberg)  Early last year the EPA sent a letter to the Argentine biodiesel board that set out how its members could qualify their fuel as having been produced from “qualified …
VW Billions to Foster Natural Gas Vehicles?
October 26, 2016 – 10:54 pm | 
by Rich Piellisch  (Fleets & Fuels)  NGVAmerica Urges States to Take Advantage of Settlement  —  States should take advantage of the big diesel emissions settlement with Volkswagen to promote natural gas vehicles to reduce pollution, …

Advanced Biofuels USA Current Policy Analyses and Suggestions

Disappearing Fee on Non-Renewable Carbon Emissions

On occasion, Advanced Biofuels USA develops policy analyses and suggestions.  Over the past year, our focus has been on how to even the playing field among fossil fuels and renewables; how to recognize costs of externalities such as environmental damage; and how to weigh in on conversations about carbon taxes.

One suggestion we have proposed is a fee on the non-renewable portion of transportation fuel; a fee that would NOT apply to the renewable portions of the fuel.  We believe this will both create a revenue source for research, development and deployment of renewable fuels AND give market-based incentives for transitioning to renewables.

Most recently, BioFuelNet Canada published a summary of these ideas in their blog post:

After the Fall: Rebuilding US Liquid Fuel Production – Invest in Our Land or the Shale Oil Fields?

Every day that oil prices remain below the approximately $55/barrel breakeven point to produce US shale oil, the probability of restarting the US shale oil industry with private capital decreases. Not only are oil service industry companies going out of business and laying off well-paid workers (oil well drilling is running at about 29% of the 2014 maximum, 467 versus 1609 rigs), but the industrial infrastructure is closing down as well.

When world oil prices return to levels that would make fracking oil drilling profitable, should the US government pay Wall Street for their bad bets of over $200 billion while also providing financing to the drillers to restore US liquid fuel production of 2-3 million barrels/day?

Or, should the US invest a small portion of the past debt bailout in a US advanced renewable biofuel industry that would be more sustainable, significantly reduce GHG emissions, and create and retain more jobs than the boom-and-bust US oil industry? 

Robert Kozak explores three strong arguments for the US to invest in the biobased renewable fuel industry to produce these liquid fuels instead of restarting shale oil production with US taxpayer money.

More Educational News and Resources

Educational Tours

Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association regularly organizes tours of biorefineries for high school students.  Here's the latest:

Sleepy Eye High School Toured Highwater Ethanol  (Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association)  Twenty-three students from Sleepy Eye High School toured Highwater Ethanol today to get a closer look at clean renewable energy production.

During the tour, the students learned about the various processes of ethanol …

  AND, the White House invited youngsters' opinions.
White House Hosts the First-Ever Meeting of Kid Science Advisors

(White House)  Assistant to the President for Science and Technology Dr. John Holdren is meeting with 11 students who will share their ideas for science and STEM education.  —  … At the 2016 White House Science …

And, teachers get training

EPA Awards $10.8M for National Environmental Education Training Program
(Environmental Protection Agency)  More than 4,400 environmental educators will gain training and leadership opportunities in 2017 through a new cooperative agreement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North American Association for Environmental …

Scholarships and Competitions

RFA, RFF to Offer National Ethanol Conference Scholarships

(Renewable Fuels Association)  For the eighth year, the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) is partnering with the Renewable Fuels Foundation (RFF) to offer scholarships to students who are interested in attending the National Ethanol Conference (NEC), …

Accepting Applications for 2017 Borlaug Global Research Alliance Fellowships

(US Department of Agriculture)  The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2017 Borlaug Global Research Alliance Fellowships. Fellows will work with a mentor at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service or a U.S. …

Minnesota Student #Biodiesel Contest Adds Video

by Joanna Schroeder (  The Clean Air Choice® Biodiesel Scholarship contest offers high school seniors awards to help with college. Now in the eighth year of the program, students may submit a short video of …

Young Scientists Scholarship to National Biodiesel Conference

by Jamie Johansen (  College science students interested in learning about all aspects of the biodiesel industry can apply for a travel scholarship to attend the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo, Jan. 16 – 19 in San …

NIFA Announces $3.1 Million in Available Funding to Train the Next Generation of Agricultural Leaders
 (U.S. Department of Agriculture)  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced the availability of $3.1 million to train the next generation of agricultural leaders. This funding is …
Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry
This annual green chemistry award sponsors the participation of students—from high school through graduate school—to attend an American Chemical Society (ACS) technical meeting, conference, or training program, having a significant green chemistry or sustainability component. …
CBMNet Funding Announcements; Includes Undergraduate Vacation Scholarships  Various deadlines  (Crossing Biological Membranes Network)  At CBMNet we foster collaborations between academia and industry to tackle research challenges in Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy (IBBE). We are working to understand the mechanisms by which substances are transported into, …
The Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) is a signature effort to invest in the next generation of African leaders. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders as they spur growth and prosperity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across Africa.

The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders brings 500 dynamic young African leaders, ages 25-35, from across the continent to the United States for 6 weeks of leadership training and mentoring at twenty U.S. universities and colleges in three areas: business and entrepreneurship, civic engagement and public administration. In 2014, the Fellows were also hosted in Washington, D.C. for a three-day Presidential Summit featuring a Town Hall with President Obama. Following their in-depth academic coursework and leadership training, some Fellows remained in the United States to participate in eight-week professional internships with American NGOs, private companies, and governmental offices. Selected from nearly 50,000 applications, participants in the 2014 Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders represent the extraordinary promise of an emerging generation of entrepreneurs, activists, and public officials. Upon returning to their home countries, the Fellows have access to professional development opportunities, mentoring, networking and training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.

Grant Opportunities

For a list of grant opportunities, CLICK HERE.

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