Archive for December, 2014

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WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO SECTION 203

December 19, 2014

Not only does the EPA not follow the law in managing the ethanol quotas as outlined in Section 202 of EISA 2007 it appears to be completely ignoring SEC. 203. STUDY OF IMPACT OF RENEWABLE FUEL STANDARD and SEC. 204. ENVIRONMENTAL AND RESOURCE CONSERVATION IMPACTS

According to Section 203 the EPA is supposed: ” to assess the impact of the requirements described in section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act on each industry relating to the production of feed grains, livestock, food, forest products, and energy.

According to Section 204 the EPA is supposed to study: “Environmental issues, including air quality, effects on hypoxia, pesticides, sediment, nutrient and pathogen levels in waters, acreage and function of waters, and soil environmental quality.” It’s supposed to also study: “Resource conservation issues, including soil conservation, water availability, and ecosystem health and biodiversity, including impacts on forests, grasslands, and wetlands.”

These studies are supposed to insure that: “… in the case of any such renewable fuel produced from new facilities that commence construction after the date of enactment of this sentence, achieves at least a 20 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to baseline lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.”

Well, what do you know? According to this study, things aren’t going so well:

http://www.ewg.org/agmag/2014/12/corn-ethanol-lump-coal-your-christmas-stocking

If anyone believes that corn ethanol is achieving: “… at least a 20 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to baseline lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.” is smoking some pretty good shit and I want them to share.

Pretty damn hilarious.

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NO END TO MADNESS

December 17, 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, it is interesting to note that the ethanol mandate in EISA 2007 is all but dead, though nobody seems to have a silver bullet to put it out of its misery or the nation’s misery. No one is willing to drive a stake through its heart, so we will pretend that it’s still a viable program.

Funny thing happened on the way to the funeral. Not only did the EPA fail to fulfill its legal responsibility for issuing the 2014 quotas, it has now said it won’t set quotas for 2015 until some indeterminate time in 2015 (if ever), according to this article in Bloomberg Businessweek. Seems the EPA has decided the 2014 quotas will be whatever the gasoline producers used; somewhere around 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol, not the 14.4 billion gallons proscribed in the table in Section 202 of EISA 2007.

Of course, once that table became meaningless when the EPA couldn’t enforce the advanced biofuel quotas back in 2011, I guess it naturally became easy to ignore it completely in 2014 and now 2015.

It’s time to cease the charade that anything in the RFS in EISA 2007 is legally meaningful. The quota table gets more absurd every year. In 2015 the table requires 3 billion gallons of cellulosic biofuel, yet the industry can’t make even 100 million gallons after 30 years of trying to find a commercially feasible process. The funniest thing is that 2015 marks the cap of corn based ethanol, the amount of which cannot be blended into our gasoline production because nobody wants to buy E85, which was the whole intent of the law. But nobody wants to talk about that problem. After 2015 all of the increases in the quota table are supposed to be satisfied with cellulosic ethanol, which can’t be made.

Oh, and on more slight little snag, that nobody is willing to talk about. Pretty soon, ethanol will cost more to blend into gasoline than the gasoline itself. This has happened twice since 2007 when the RFS was passed. So now, instead of reducing the price of gasoline, which the ethanol industry promised when oil was $100 / barrel, it will raise the price of gasoline while reducing mileage.