Archive for December, 2016



December 21, 2016

Anyone else notice anything strange about Trump’s cabinet appointment process? There is only one secretary level cabinet appointment left: Secretary Of Agriculture. Why is SOA the last appointment? Is there some controversy within the new administration already?

Remember, Trump campaigned in the heartland, pandering to the corn state voters, promising he would not repeal the RFS.

But he has packed his cabinet with Big Oil stooges: Pruitt at EPA, Perry at DOE and Tillerson at State, all opponents of government mandated ethanol blending. Ironically, Pruitt at EPA has challenged the RFS in past legal battles with the EPA. These appointments do not bode well for the ethanol mandate. And when you consider that Trump has no qualms about lying to voters, I’m wondering if this is why the Trump team can’t find the right candidate at Agriculture. Who wants to be known as the Ag Secretary who couldn’t protect the RFS? Especially after Trump promised it wouldn’t be touched. Of course, he also promised that Medicare and Social Security were sacred, yet House Speaker Ryan is already gleefully wringing his hands to introduce the bill to privatize Medicare. As a retiree on Medicare, I doubt anything is sacred in his administration.

Considering some of his other picks, I believe they are searching for some clueless billionaire who is totally unqualified to run a cabinet level department and knows nothing about agriculture. They’ve certainly done that with a number of other departments. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, you are probably one of the Gullibles who couldn’t tell when candidate Trump was lying to you, so you voted for him. Hint: it was when his lips were moving.

For those of you who believe that Congress won’t repeal the RFS, consider this. Many in Congress don’t believe you should be forced to buy medical insurance if you don’t want it. Let the market decide, they say. So why should they believe you should be forced to buy gasoline laced with ethanol if you don’t want it. Shouldn’t the market decide?

Update 01/04/2017: Trump’s cabinet is still: Big Oil 3 – Big Ag 0

Update 02/17/2017: Anyone getting nervous out there in the Corn Belt?

Southerner, Sonny Perdue, Veterinarian, nominated for Secretary of Ag

Big Oil confirmed at Department Of Energy: Rick Perry; vowed to abolish EPA, anti RFS

Big Oil confirmed at Department Of State: Rex Tillerson

Big Oil confirmed at Environmental Protection Agency today: vowed to abolish EPA, anti RFS

Bill to terminate EPA (H.R. 861) introduced in Congress 02/03/2017.



December 7, 2016

For the first time in several years, the EPA has published the ethanol blending quotas for next year in accordance with the schedule set in the law, EISA 2007. The EPA Final Renewable Fuel Standards for 2017 can be found here at the EPA website.

Suffice it to say, the upbeat tone of the announcement masks the serious problems with mandating ethanol blending into the nation’s gas supply. There are many ironies in this announcement, but to give you a little insight into the absurdity that abounds, I’ll present just one fact. EISA 2007 mandated that the amount of renewable fuels that must be blended into our fuel supply in 2017 shall be 24.0 billion gallons, yet this announcement specifies that only 19.28 billion gallons shall be blended. If you want more information about this divergence, you might peruse this article in the Ethanol Producer Magazine. Be warned, there is a pile of gobbledygook in the article.

There are a couple of interesting sidelights in the Renewable Fuel Standards. Number one: we are essentially at the blending wall. In order to blend more ethanol into our gasoline, it will have to be E15 or higher. Number two: we have finally reached the corn ethanol ceiling of 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol. Or course, we’re a couple of years late according to the Act. All increases in renewable fuel for auto gasoline must now be made up by “advanced ethanol,” and there isn’t much of that around because it can’t be made by any known commercially viable process. All of this is monumentally ironic since EISA 2007 is not a mandatory E10 law and E10 is nowhere defined as “renewable fuel” in the Act.

The result of this announcement is: the availability of ethanol free unleaded auto gas (E0) may be coming to an end. According to this article in Hemmings Daily, the days of ethanol free auto fuel are numbered. The EPA wanted to do away with it in 2017, but that doesn’t look likely. If you don’t want to take the time to read the article, here is the pertinent quote: “Despite worries that the Environmental Protection Agency would put an end to ethanol-free gasoline sales with its Renewable Fuels Standard ruling for 2017, the agency permitted E0 a reprieve at the same time it declared its intention to transition the entire nation’s fuel supply to E10 and above.

So we’ve been warned. (Actually, there are some scarier statements by the EPA in that article about what is coming.)

Wonder if the new administration which claims to be more attuned to unleashing free enterprise will recognize the largest federally mandated market manipulation program in history for what it is, corporate socialism, and repeal EISA 2017. One can always hope.

12/8/2016: Whoa there. Maybe more than hope. Team Trump is proposing Scott Pruitt, AG of Oklahoma, waterboy for big oil as head of EPA. Yes, that Scott Pruitt “… who filed a friend of the court brief in a lawsuit against EPA over the RFS, arguing that using corn for ethanol increased food prices, and that the biofuel posed a risk to automobile engines. “The evidence is clear that the current ethanol fuel mandate is unworkable,” Pruitt said.”