Archive for April, 2009

Some Fear Biofuel Production Will Dry Up Water Supplies

Posted on April 30, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , |

Some Fear Biofuel Production Will Dry Up Water Supplies

http://www.redorbit.com

April 14, 2009

As corn farmers in the U.S. begin readying their crops, many critics claim that increased pressure to produce large portions of crops for biofuels is robbing the public’s water resources.

Kansas corn farmer Merl “Buck” Rexford told Reuters he hopes to produce more than 150 bushels an acre with this year’s crop. Like many American corn farmers, a large portion of Rexford’s crop will go to an ethanol production plant.

Backers of biofuels like corn-based ethanol say it reduces dangerous greenhouse gas emissions, which have been linked to global warming, and it is a valuable substitute that will lead the nation in a direction away from dependence on foreign oil.

“We really have to ask ourselves, do we want to be driving with renewable fuels or with gasoline made from petroleum resources,” Brent Erickson, executive vice president at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which backs ethanol, told Reuters.

But critics say increased biofuel production is coming at a high cost for Americans, as increased demand for biofuels is leading to a larger demand for water.

Additionally, it takes a substantial amount of energy to create corn-based ethanol, which could prove to be counterproductive, critics claim.

“Biofuels are off the charts in water consumption. We’re definitely looking at something where the cure may be worse than the disease,” said Brooke Barton, a manager of corporate accountability for CERES, a group backed by institutional investors focused on the financial risks of climate change.

According to Reuters, corn plants require about 20 inches of soil moisture per acre to grow a good crop, but most farmers rely on rain rather than irrigation. Manufacturing plants that convert corn’s starch into fuel have a larger thirst for public water supplies.

A typical plant uses about 4.2 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. That’s about 3 gallons of water for every one gallon of fuel, according to the ethanol industry.

As legislators continue to push for the use of ethanol and federal mandates are being put in place, many groups are voicing their concerns that population growth and increased demand for energy will lead to a global drought.

“We’re headed in the wrong direction and this problem is not going away,” Mark Muller, program director at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, told Reuters.

“This water issue is like the financial crisis… and I’m afraid something awful is going to happen.”

“Water use could be a limiting factor (for ethanol) if we don’t introduce and support more water-saving technologies, ” added the Institute’s Jim Kleinschmit.

Those in support of ethanol will not deny the large amount of water that goes into production, but they claim that the corn crop relies primarily on rain rather than ground water.

In January 2009, there were 170 ethanol plants operating in the United States and 24 more new or expanding plants, according to Reuters.

Freshwater demand for consumption is expected to increase 25 percent by 2030 globally as the world population expands from 6.6 billion to about 8 billion and more than 9 billion in 2050, according to Ceres.

On the Net:

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

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Obama Administration Launches Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

Posted on April 29, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , |

Obama Administration launches Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), establishes offshore renewables development framework

By Jim Lane

Biofuels Digest

April 29, 2009

 

 

Major announcements came from Washington regarding new advanced projects energy research funding and rules for offshore development.

 

The Administration announced the launch of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was authorized by Congress in 2007 and funded through the $400 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

 

ARPA-E will develop new energy technologies that offer significant progress toward reducing imported energy; reducing energy-related emissions, including greenhouse gases; and improving energy efficiency. DOE will offer individual awards of $500,000 to $20 million based on eight-page “concept papers” that briefly outline the technical concept, which would lead to grants, cooperative agreements, or Technology Investment Agreements, with the latter two most likely because of the need for substantial interaction between ARPA-E and the awardees. Concept papers can be submitted to DOE from May 12 through June 2. The full solicitation is here with a reference number DE-FOA-0000065.

 

Finally, the Administration established a framework for development of renewable energy projects on the US outer continental shelf.

 

 

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

 

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Protecting Groundwater Expensive Reality for County Stakeholders

Posted on April 29, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , |

Protecting groundwater expensive reality for county stakeholders

By Donna Osborn

South County Mail

April 29, 2009

 

 

 

The neighbors sit around the large dining table inside the old family farmhouse situated on 255 acres of bucolic Webster County farmland. The spring wind howls outside and bangs the chimes that hang from the ceiling of one of the porches. To the south, 50 yards from the house, two greenhouses glow with artificial light as a car whizzes by on state Route U.

 

Coffee brews in the kitchen and a freshly baked cake waits for a blade. As a large yellow Lab snoozes at one neighbor’s feet and a cat brushes up against another, the conversation drifts from neighbor to neighbor and strays from the original intent every now and then. But it always comes back to one thing: The ethanol plant and the financial and emotional cost of protecting a natural resource by fighting big business.

 

 “The six families – we’ve paid off at least $250,000 of legal bills,” said homeowner William Hutcherson. “Collectively, we’ve probably coughed up more than $50,000 of our own money.”

 

It’s not the first time these families came together to plan and it probably won’t be the last. It’s been a way of life for too long – three years, since Gulfstream Bioflex Energy announced its plan to build a $165-million corn ethanol plant between Rogersville and Fordland on U.S. 60.

 

Hutcherson’s wife, Susan Tolliver, puts the cost into another perspective.

 

“When you think about all the court dates and the emotional toll on us, you can’t put a monetary price on it,” she said.

 

All of them live within shouting distance of the proposed plant that was projected to use 880 gallons of water a minute pulled from the underground aquifer that supplies the region surrounding Springfield proper with drinking water – including Christian County. That water usage amounted to 75 percent of Webster’s County current annual water usage, the group’s attorney William McDonald pointed out in a news story published June 2007.

 

And this is where Citizens for Groundwater Protection launched its assault to stop it. From the table tops inside the homes of ordinary people like Hutcherson and Tolliver and Ronnie and Judy Williams, they took a stand – a costly one.

 

“They were taking our way of life from us,” said Ronnie Williams, shaking his full head of snow-white hair.

 

Had the plant gone forward into ethanol production, the depletion of the water table, as some experts predicted, would have affected more than just six families.

 

“When our wells started to go dry, it would have sucked this community dry,” Judy Williams said.

 

“As soon as the announcement of that plant was made, realtors couldn’t sell anything local,” Ronnie Williams said.

 

The residents organized, filed temporary restraining orders and other litigation and lost every legal challenge during the three-year process. Experts testified about the danger, about groundwater pollution; other experts testified to the reverse. All the while a larger national debate raged over the viability of corn-ethanol as a reasonable alternative to gasoline.

 

“We didn’t win – we lost every battle,” Tolliver said. “But we might have won the war. They have not applied for any more permits. We don’t think they even bought the land.”

 

The protracted process worked in favor of the residents and perhaps in an odd way, in favor of the proponents of the plant. The outlook for new ethanol production in Missouri is dim; and the nation’s love affair with the alternative biofuels has also waned. This time last year, GBE scrapped plans to build a corn-ethanol plant in Monroe City. Officials cited “high feedstock prices.”

 

A May 2008 report from the online newsletter Biofuels Digest said:

 

“Ethanol plant development in Missouri slowed to a standstill at the end of last summer. After boom conditions in recent years, no new plants were submitted or revised permit applications after July 2007, and none of the three pending, approved projects have been built, including Renewable Power of Missouri and Ethanex. The third company, Bootheel Agri-Energy, said it would return equity invested in the company to shareholders, with interest, after the project failed to obtain a required financing commitment by the expiration of the equity offering period.”

 

Missouri’s ethanol industry also suffered setbacks when it was revealed that some investors in the Show Me Ethanol plant were lawmakers with one investor being a brother to then-Gov. Matt Blunt.

 

According to information from Biofuels Digest, the Carrolton plant that eventually did open “lost $6 million in state incentives because of the ties to lawmakers.” Legislators or their immediate families cannot invest in plants that receive “favorable state tax treatment,” the report said.

 

And according to an April 8 online report from BioEnergy Business, the Carroll County facility that finally began production last year lost $19 million in 2008, “including a $14.1 (million) loss from hedging deals for the maize it uses as feedstock.”

 

Tolliver said, and the others agreed, had the plant gone forward as planned, it would have been obsolete before it produced the first ounce of fuel. It would have been a “colossal eyesore” on the landscape of progress.

 

Tolliver said the group didn’t then and doesn’t now have even a narrow political agenda – the only mission was protecting the groundwater that bubbles under their homes and feeds their wells.

 

AFTERMATH
After losing every battle at the circuit level, the group appealed its last and final defeat to the Missouri Court of Appeals. In December 2008, that court upheld the ruling that gave GBE the green light to build the 100-million-gallons-a-year corn-ethanol plant. And, the company had applied for and received its necessary clean-air permit from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

 

And then that’s when the other shoe dropped. On March 31, the judge in the case ordered that the defendants could collect on the $25,000 bond posted by the plaintiffs when securing the temporary restraining order against GBE to keep the company from drilling into the aquifer. The order cited more than $60,000 in damages to be recoverable from the bond.

 

Tolliver said the bond had been returned to the plaintiffs two years ago. And, she doesn’t understand why the judge reinstated it, but views the move as punishment.

 

“The judge said to reinstate the bond for no apparent reason, two years after it was returned to us,” she said. “We don’t have it. It’s obviously a punishment.”

 

The Williams share Tolliver’s distress.

 

“I thought the judge was to work for the people,” Judy Williams said.

 

“They should uphold the law,” Ronnie Williams said.

 

The families believe fighting against the ethanol plant was the right thing to do. And while many people talk about water protection and water conservation, they did something about it.

 

“I think we’ve done a big favor for the whole southwest Missouri region,” Tolliver said. “We don’t want any more legal trouble. We want to be portrayed as defending all of southwest Missouri’s water.”

 

But fears linger.

“I worry that they will still come back and build it,” Ronnie Williams said.

 

 

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

 

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Ethanol Standards Take Bite From Corn

Posted on April 27, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , |

Ethanol Standards Take Bite From Corn

By IAN BERRY

The Wall Street Journal

APRIL 27, 200

 

 

CHICAGO — California’s decision to adopt new-vehicle fuel standards to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions will have little short-term impact on corn-ethanol demand, but in the long term it is seen hurting the biofuel.

 

The state’s Air Resources Board approved the measure by a 9-1 vote Thursday. The regulation will require a lower “carbon intensity” in fuels starting in 2011.

 

It also includes land-use changes due to ethanol production in assessments of ethanol’s carbon intensity, a facet of the rule fiercely opposed by the ethanol industry.

 

The change would mean that emissions stemming from crop production, including the destruction of forestland or pasture to make way for crops, would be added to ethanol’s carbon footprint. Ethanol industry officials argued that other fuels don’t face the same standard.

 

For instance, the industry has pointed out it doesn’t calculate emissions from military action related to protecting crude-oil supplies.

 

The decision is widely seen as a psychologically bearish influence on the Chicago Board of Trade corn market. Ethanol usage accounts for roughly a third of the U.S. corn crop, and ethanol demand helped push CBOT corn futures to record highs in 2008, although ethanol supporters say it was only a minor factor.

 

Nearby-month May corn closed at $3.77 per bushel Friday, compared with highs last year of around $8.

 

The decision is a long-term roadblock that indicates “less of a bright future for corn-based ethanol,” said Michael Swanson, agricultural economist with Wells Fargo.

 

“We went from having endless ethanol growth to having: ‘hmm, what kind of future do we have there anyway?'” Mr. Swanson said.

 

Fortis Bank said in a Friday research note that corn traders are concerned about the rule’s effect on demand, “but there is likely to be a fierce debate over the details in the meantime.” Mr. Swanson said it’s probably “several court cases and wranglings from being final.”

 

 

California’s View

The chairwoman of California’s Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols, to soothe the ethanol industry, said in a letter to retired U.S. Gen. Wesley Clark, who is heading an ethanol industry group, that the new standard “supports the market for corn ethanol in California over the next decade at least.”

 

Gen. Clark’s group, Growth Energy, says that the proposal unfairly singles out corn ethanol, and he criticized the rule as unfair.

 

Some corn traders noted that the rule isn’t supposed to go into effect until 2011. It also will be implemented incrementally, with a goal of cutting the carbon content of the fuels sold in California by 10% by 2020.

 

“I think the impact today, next week, next month is minimal,” said Vic Lespinasse, analyst for grainanalyst.com. “It could have an impact down the road.”

 

Still, the decision is a reminder that “corn ethanol is a passing phase” in a transition to the next generation of biofuels, Mr. Lespinasse said. Farmers will be producing less corn for ethanol in 20 years than they do now, he said.

 

 

Other States Coming?

Some traders also said that California is seen as a trend-setter for environmental policy, and that several other states have similar proposals in the pipeline.

 

The ethanol market has broader economic concerns, analysts said. Chad Henderson, analyst for Prime Ag Consultants, said that corn traders see ethanol demand as more politically motivated than economically driven.

 

He said he isn’t anti-ethanol or pro-ethanol, “but at some point down the road, you would think ethanol needs to stand on its own two feet economically.”

 

Mr. Swanson said that main problems facing ethanol are weak demand and improved fuel efficiency, which could cause a cut in ethanol demand even as it increases market share. He said there is little bullish news emerging from the ethanol market for corn traders.

 

“There are a lot of people in the ethanol industry who are hoping for a strong corn crop and a gloomy price finish so they can lock up a lot of good supply for next year,” Mr. Swanson said. “Why wouldn’t they? Corn buyers usually like cheaper prices.”

 

Traders point out that over the shorter term, many expect the Obama administration to increase the minimum blend rate for ethanol in gasoline up to as high as 15% from the current level of 10%.

 

 

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

 

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Why Big Oil Should Not be Allowed to Monopolize the Blender’s Tax Credit

Posted on April 24, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Blender's Tax Credit | Tags: , , , , , |

Why Big Oil Should Not be Allowed to Monopolize the Blender’s Tax Credit

By Brian J. Donovan

Renergie

April 20, 2009

 

The issue is whether state legislatures should allow oil companies, or affiliates of oil companies, to have a monopoly on blending fuel ethanol with unblended gasoline.

 

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 established the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (“VEETC”), also known as the “Blender’s Tax Credit.”  Excise taxes on highway fuels have been a dedicated source of funding for the Federal Highway Trust Fund since its creation in 1956.  The Federal Government levies a tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on domestic gasoline sales.  The blender’s tax credit provides a credit against federal gasoline taxes that is worth 45 cents for every gallon of ethanol blended into the gasoline pool.

 

The excise tax credit is fully refundable. To receive a refund, a blender must first apply the excise tax credit against any excise tax liability for a particular taxable year. To the extent the blender has any excise tax credit remaining after applying the credit against its excise tax liability, the blender may request a refund of the excess credit or may apply the excess credit against its income tax liability.

 

It was never the legislative intent of the U.S. Congress, nor the intent of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to allow oil companies to be the sole beneficiaries of the blender’s tax credit. Section 6426 of the Internal Revenue Code creates a credit against the excise tax on taxable fuels. The excise tax credit is generally available to any person that blends alcohol or biodiesel with taxable fuel in a mixture. To qualify for the credit, a qualifying mixture must either be sold by the producer to a buyer for use by the buyer as a fuel or be used as a fuel in the trade or business of the producer.

 

If U.S. ethanol producers are able to be blenders of fuel ethanol and unblended gasoline, and thereby receive the 45 cents-per-gallon tax credit, small-capacity ethanol producers would be able to enter the market. The result would be fair and healthy competition in the marketing of ethanol blends.

 

The benefits of allowing ethanol producers to blend and directly market ethanol blends to the consumer are the following:

(a) Rural economic development and job creation would be maximized. Increased investments in plants and equipment would stimulate the local economy by providing construction jobs initially and the chance for full-time employment after the plant is completed. On average, an ethanol plant supports 45 full-time jobs and nearly 700 jobs throughout the entire economy;

(b) The resulting increase in local and state tax revenues would provide funds for improvements to the community and to the region; and

(c) Federal and state renewable energy technology grants for ethanol would not be required. The blender’s tax credit and the market would reward the ethanol producer/blender.

 

In 2008, ExxonMobil reported the largest annual profit in U.S. history. ExxonMobil’s annual profit jumped 11%, or $5.2 billion, to $45.2 billion on the back of record oil prices. ExxonMobil returns most of its profit to shareholders, distributing about $40 billion in 2008 in the form of share buybacks and dividends. Chevron was also up more than $5 billion for the year, to $23.9 billion. A substantial portion of Chevron’s increase came in a fourth-quarter jump in its profits for refining and marketing of gasoline and other fuels.

 

Currently, oil companies are refusing to sell unblended gasoline to ethanol producers. The sole beneficiaries of the 45 cents-per-gallon blender’s tax credit are the oil companies, blenders affiliated with oil companies, and oil company shareholders. As a result, the farmers/landowners, ethanol producers and consumers never realize any benefit from the blender’s tax credit; rural economic development is ignored; and U.S. jobs are not created. 

 

State legislatures should not permit only oil companies and their affiliates to blend and receive the 45 cents-per-gallon blender’s tax credit. This monopoly impairs fair and healthy competition in the marketing of ethanol blends. U.S. ethanol producers have the legal right, and must be assured the availability of unblended gasoline, to blend fuel ethanol and unblended gasoline to receive the blender’s tax credit and be cost-competitive.

 

Rural development and job creation, not the maximization of oil company annual profits, should be the focus of our state legislatures.

 

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

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California Approves Nation’s 1st Low-Carbon Fuel Rule

Posted on April 24, 2009. Filed under: Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , , |

California approves nation’s 1st low-carbon fuel rule

By SAMANTHA YOUNG

The Associated Press

April 24, 2009

 

 

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California air regulators on Thursday adopted a first-in-the-nation mandate requiring low-carbon fuels, part of the state’s wider effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The California Air Resources Board voted 9-1 to approve the standards, which are expected to create a new market for alternative fuels and could serve as a template for a national policy that has been advocated by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress.

 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the rule would “reward innovation, expand consumer choice and encourage the private investment we need to transform our energy infrastructure.”

 

“I think we’re creating the framework for a new way of looking at automotive fuels where no longer will gasoline derived by petroleum be the only game in town,” board chairwoman Mary Nichols said.

 

The rules call for reducing the carbon content of fuels sold in the state by 10 percent by 2020, a plan that includes counting all the emissions required to deliver gasoline and diesel to California consumers — from drilling a new oil well or planting corn to transporting it to gas stations.

 

Transportation accounts for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

 

“The emissions from this sector have traditionally grown in California at a rate that exceeds even our growth in population,” Nichols said before the vote. “It has led to a host of environmental problems.”

 

Representatives of the ethanol industry have criticized the rule, saying state regulators overstated the environmental effects of corn-based ethanol. They also have criticized the board’s intention to tie global deforestation and other land conversions to biofuel production in the United States.

 

The board has said Brazil converted rainforest into soybean plantations as a result of the growth in corn-based ethanol in the U.S. A formula being considered by the board would take into account the destruction of forests and grasslands elsewhere to grow fuel crops for U.S. demand.

 

The ethanol industry also said it was unfair to penalize it for agricultural land changes abroad. “We are not convinced expansion of ethanol in the U.S. has caused or will cause land use changes,” said Geoff Cooper, vice president of research at the Renewable Fuels Association.

 

John Telles, the dissenting board member, said before the vote that he had a “hard time accepting the fact that we’re going to ignore the comments of 125 scientists” who questioned the agency’s decision to estimate the emissions tied to land-use changes.

 

“They said the model was not good enough,” he said.

 

Representatives for BP PLC and Chevron Corp. said their companies supported the new standards, with the caveat that the board periodically review the standards. The air board agreed to ensure that the most up-to-date science is incorporated into the rule and that the alternative fuels have become available as expected.

 

Under the low-carbon fuel standard, petroleum refiners, companies that blend fuel and distributors must increase the cleanliness of the fuels they sell in California beginning in 2011.

 

The petroleum industry warned that the state was moving too quickly without assurances that the alternative fuels they will be required to sell would be available for the market. Representatives asked the board to delay a decision until next year.

 

“It’s frankly unclear to us how we will comply with this regulation,” said Catherine Reheis-Boyd, chief operating officer of the Western States Petroleum Association.

 

The statewide efforts come two years after Schwarzenegger directed air regulators to develop a rule that would boost the amount of renewable fuels sold in the state.

 

Nichols said Thursday that a low-carbon mandate would reduce California’s dependency on petroleum by 20 percent and account for one-tenth of the state’s goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

 

On the Net:

·                     California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board: http://www.arb.ca.gov

 

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

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Don’t Sink Energy Independence by Crimping Biofuels

Posted on April 22, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , |

Don’t sink energy independence by crimping biofuels

By Gal Luft

The Detroit News

April 20, 2009

This week, the California Air Resources Board, or CARB — the same agency that only five years ago gained notoriety for its role in “killing” the electric car — could be in a position to deliver another crippling blow to the United States’ effort to achieve energy independence.

As part of California’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels, CARB is pushing for the enactment of a low-carbon fuel standard, or LCFS, that aims to regulate the emissions level of petroleum refiners, biofuels producers and others that produce or import the transportation fuels used in California. The credit or penalty would be assessed according to both the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions associated with each of the steps in the fuel’s life cycle, including production, transport and tailpipe emissions.

Such “cradle to grave” accounting sounds logical only if it allows all fuels to compete on an equal footing. But this is what the fuel standard in its current version fails to do.

At a time when the U.S. is charting its way out of its debilitating — and growing — oil dependence, CARB’s plan puts biofuels at a comparative disadvantage against petroleum. It does so by requiring that indirect greenhouse gas-emitting activities, such as deforestation and plowing up grasslands — which are often associated with increased use of biofuels — be considered, while failing to account for indirect carbon-emitting activities related to petroleum production. CARB’s explanation: “No other significant indirect effects that result in large greenhouse gas emissions have been identified.”

That statement may be true for roughly half of California’s oil, which is either drilled in the state or imported from Alaska, but certainly not for the half coming from distant places such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Colombia. Some of the direct carbon-intensive activities that CARB’s staff prefer to ignore are: pumping seawater into the wells of Saudi Arabia to increase reservoir pressure, transporting the crude to processing facilities where sulfur and other impurities are removed, and powering a tanker during a long voyage across two oceans.

But what makes their model truly discriminatory is the failure to account for the environmental impact of indirect activities, such as the military operations related to our oil use. The jets, tanks, ships and Humvees patrolling the Persian Gulf or used by the Special Forces protecting the oil pipelines in Colombia don’t run on vegetable oil, and the electricity powering military bases dedicated to protecting our access to oil is not made in wind farms. Ignoring those factors while speculating about the role of deforestation (much deforestation has nothing to do with biofuels but with the logging industry) is intellectually dishonest.

Recent studies have shown that the amount of fossil fuel needed to make gasoline is nearly twice the amount needed for corn ethanol production and more than 10 times that for cellulosic ethanol (made from switchgrass and other non-food plants). Further, there is a net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of using ethanol as fuel. The Argonne National Laboratory found that, on a per-gallon basis, even the most inefficient form of biofuel — corn ethanol — reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 18 percent to 29 percent compared with gasoline; sugar-cane ethanol reduces emissions by 56 percent, and cellulosic ethanol has an even greater benefit with a more than 80 percent reduction.

A 2009 report commissioned by the International Energy Agency reached similar conclusions. Despite these clear benefits to the environment, CARB is bent on singling out biofuels as enemies of the planet.

Putting aside the bureaucratic nightmare the state of California would have to endure in analyzing the carbon footprint of each step in the pathway for each gallon of fuel sold in the state, the indirect carbon accounting could have a chilling effect on new investment and the development of new technologies — all at a time when the nascent biofuels industry is already challenged by the economic downturn. This is all too unfortunate because scientific advancement is exactly what is needed to advance biofuels from corn to ultra-low carbon sources such as switchgrass, forestry residues, urban waste or algae.

The proposed standard is not simply a scientific or environmental issue. It is a matter of national security, which is threatened by our reliance on oil. With hundreds of billions of dollars leaving our economy annually to finance our oil dependence, it is also a matter of economic security.

It is often the case that as California goes, so goes the country. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should realize that implementing the fuel standard as proposed would only cement oil’s virtual monopoly in the transportation sector and dial back the progress made toward energy independence.

Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and co-founder of the Set America Free Coalition, is a coauthor of “Energy Security Challenges for the 21st Century” and “Turning Oil into Salt: How Breaking the Oil Monopoly Can Make Us Prosper Again.” Originally published in the Los Angeles Times.

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

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Plan Would Mandate Fuels Have Less Carbon

Posted on April 21, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , |

Plan would mandate fuels have less carbon

Ethanol industry fears punishment

By Michael Gardner

The Union-Tribune

April 21, 2009

 

 

 

SACRAMENTO – California is on the verge of adopting another landmark policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce demand for imported oil, this time by requiring fuel providers to cut the carbon intensity in gasoline and diesel by 10 percent by 2020.

 

If it approves the plan Thursday, the state Air Resources Board will extend its reach far beyond the tailpipe and take into account the emissions generated at every step of production – not just for petroleum, but also for cleaner-burning substitutes such as ethanol and other biofuels.

 

“For the first time, it holds fuel providers accountable,” said Bonnie Holmes-Gen of the American Lung Association of California, which supports the plan.

 

The goal, regulators say, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming by 16 million tons and replace up to 3 million gallons of oil annually with alternative fuels.

 

But the approach has raised alarms from San Diego to Brazil. Farmers, scientists, investors and even a former national security adviser argue that the proposal could punish the struggling corn ethanol industry. In turn, that could discourage investment in alternatives and set back national efforts to develop biofuels that could help curb the nation’s appetite for oil.

 

“To put this burden on biofuels threatens to slow down or even preclude development of the biofuels industry precisely at the time we need to make the transition to the next generation of fuels,” said John Howe, a spokesman for Verenium, a Massachusetts-based company that operates San Diego-area labs exploring new sources of biofuels other than crops.

 

The air board’s proposal is another in a string of aggressive moves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

This one also provides more certainty, officials say, for those involved in California’s shifting transportation fuels market as they set a new course based on availability, demand and profits through 2020.

 

“What we’re trying to put in place is a durable and doable policy that sends the right investment signals,” said Anthony Eggert, the air board’s science and technology policy adviser.

 

In doing so, regulators hope to accelerate the production of the cleanest blends of transportation fuels, both gasoline and diesel, without forcing the industry to provide a specific type or mix.

 

Gasoline, different ethanols, liquefied natural gas and hydrogen, among others, are welcome as long as the overall carbon content of the fuel is reduced. Providers also could receive credits for investing in even cleaner fuels, such as battery-powered vehicles or waste-to-energy plants.

 

“The marketplace is going to decide which fuels are going to be the winner,” Eggert said.

 

Ethanol producers and some biofuel makers say they will be the losers.

 

Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla and former California Secretary of State Bill Jones, along with other influential ethanol industry leaders, urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to weaken the proposal during a private meeting last month.

 

Schwarzenegger had issued an executive order in 2007 laying out the 10 percent reduction goal. Last week, he suggested the state may need to be “flexible in some areas so we don’t chase business away or make businesses close down . . . We are working with everybody together to make sure we do it the right way.”

 

Much of the debate centers on grading ethanol. The new standards would assign poor grades to ethanol produced in coal-fired plants, or that displace fields once used for food production.

 

Regulators also want to take into account emissions indirectly generated from producing biofuels, such as the additional emissions generated when rain forests are cleared. The damage is twofold: the rain forest no longer sequesters carbon dioxide and the land is usually converted to grow crops for ethanol, such as Brazilian sugarcane.

 

“The real strength of this standard is it takes a comprehensive cradle-to-grave approach,” said Mary Nichols, the air board’s chairwoman.

 

But Tom Buis, chief executive officer of Growth Energy, a coalition advocating ethanol, insists that corn-produced fuel is being unfairly singled out.

 

“We’re not saying, ‘California, bail us out,’ ” he said. “We’re saying, ‘California, treat us equally.’ ”

 

President Ronald Reagan’s national security adviser, Robert McFarlane, warned in a letter to the governor that the complex standards could scare away investment in biofuels.

 

McFarlane, now part of the Washington-based Truman National Security Project, wrote: “This in turn will prolong the United States’ reliance on fossil fuels and deepen the damage caused by both our reliance on oil and by climate change.”

 

Corn ethanol interests also argue that they offer a bridge to the newer generation of biofuels that show promise, but are not ready to fill gaps in the market.

 

One of those is the emerging waste-to-fuel industry. Those on the technology’s ground floor see the state’s standards generating demand for their alternative fuels and spurring new investment. “This technology is ready for prime time,” said Ted Kniesche, a vice president of Fulcrum BioEnergy, which will open a biofuels plant east of Reno to turn municipal solid waste into 10.5 million gallons of ethanol a year.

 

But that doesn’t mean ethanol from corn will be squeezed out immediately, particularly since separate federal renewable fuel goals call for 15 billion more gallons from corn-based ethanol, he said.

 

“There’s no doubt corn ethanol will be part of the mix,” Kniesche said.

 

Holmes-Gen of the lung association advocates a quick transition from corn ethanol.

 

“The air board’s standard is a protection against these fuels that are not sustainable,” she said. “There is a competition between food and fuel in the marketplace. It’s a bad trend.”

 

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

 

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EPA Issues Proposed Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases

Posted on April 19, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , , |

EPA Issues Proposed Endangerment Finding for Greenhouse Gases:

Proposed Cause or Contribute Finding Identifies Motor Vehicles as Contributing Source

Green Car Congress

17 April 2009

 

After a thorough scientific review ordered in 2007 by the US Supreme Court, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposal with two distinct findings regarding greenhouse gases. (Earlier post.) The endangerment finding proposes that the current and projected concentrations of the mix of six key greenhouse gases—carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)—in the atmosphere threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations. The issuance of an endangerment finding enables the regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

The proposed cause or contribute finding concludes that that the combined emissions of CO2, CH4, N2O, and HFCs from new motor vehicles and motor vehicle engines contribute to the atmospheric concentrations of these key greenhouse gases and hence to the threat of climate change. Combined with the endangerment finding, this enables the regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act.

In both magnitude and probability, climate change is an enormous problem. The greenhouse gases that are responsible for it endanger public health and welfare within the meaning of the Clean Air Act.

—Proposed Endangerment Finding 

 

The proposed findings now enter the public comment period, which is the next step in the deliberative process EPA must undertake before issuing final findings. The proposal does not include any proposed regulations. Before taking any steps to reduce greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, EPA would conduct an appropriate process and consider stakeholder input.

Notwithstanding this required regulatory process, both President Obama and Administrator Jackson have repeatedly indicated their preference for comprehensive legislation to address the issue.

There are two public hearings scheduled for this proposed finding: 18 May at the EPA Potomac Yard Conference Center, Arlington, VA; and 21 May at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle, WA.

The scientific analysis also confirms that climate change impacts human health in several ways. Findings from a recent EPA study titled “Assessment of the Impacts of Global Change on Regional US Air Quality: A Synthesis of Climate Change Impacts on Ground-Level Ozone,” for example, suggest that climate change may lead to higher concentrations of ground-level ozone, a harmful pollutant.

Climate change has the potential to produce increases in ground-level ozone in many regions, according to the report. Ground-level ozone is formed in the presence of sunlight by a chemical reaction between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted from sources like motor vehicles and industrial facilities. Climate change also could increase the number of days with weather conditions conducive to forming ozone, potentially causing air quality alerts earlier in the spring and later in the fall.

Additional impacts of climate change include, but are not limited to:

  • increased drought;
  • more heavy downpours and flooding;
  • more frequent and intense heat waves and wildfires;
  • greater sea level rise;
  • more intense storms; and
  • harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

In proposing the finding, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson also took into account the disproportionate impact climate change has on the health of certain segments of the population, such as the poor, the very young, the elderly, those already in poor health, the disabled, those living alone and/or indigenous populations dependent on one or a few resources.

Resources

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

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EPA to Propose Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Posted on April 17, 2009. Filed under: Advanced Biofuel, Field-to-Pump | Tags: , , , , |

EPA to Propose Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions

By Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
April 17, 2009

 

The Environmental Protection Agency today plans to propose regulating greenhouse gas emissions on the grounds that these pollutants pose a danger to the public’s health and welfare, according to several sources who asked not to be identified.

 

The move, coming almost exactly two years after the Supreme Court ordered the agency to examine whether emissions linked to climate change should be curbed under the Clean Air Act, would mark a major shift in the federal government’s approach to global warming.

 

Former President George W. Bush and his deputies opposed putting mandatory limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for years on the grounds that it would harm the economy; Congress is considering legislation that would do so but it remains unclear whether it can pass the proposal and enact it into law in the near future.

 

Late last month EPA sent the White House a formal finding that greenhouse gases endanger public health and welfare; the Office of Management and Budget signed off on the determination Monday.

 

When reached this morning, EPA spokesman Allyn Brooks-LaSure declined to comment on the matter.

 

President Obama pledged to limit greenhouse gases as a candidate, but has urged Congress to send him a bill that would cap them and allow emitters to trade pollution allowances nationwide. EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson, in a speech at the Aspen Environment Forum last month, emphasized that the administration still hopes the country will develop a legislative answer to the question of how best to limit greenhouse gases.

 

“The best solution, and I believe this in my heart, is to work with Congress to form and pass comprehensive legislation to deal with climate change,” Jackson said. ” We hope to avert a regulatory thicket where governments and businesses spend an inordinate amount of time fighting. We are not looking for a doomsday solution.”

 

Some business groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have warned that if the federal government regulates carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act it will end up imposing an enormous regulatory burden on small operations such as individual stores and even some office buildings.

 

EPA must hold a public comment period before finalizing its finding, and it would then have to look at regulating individual sectors of the economy, such as motor vehicles and power plants. Those two sectors account for roughly half of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions.

 

In a teleconference with reporters this week David Doniger, policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate center, said he did not think the agency would target small emitters of greenhouse gases if it began regulating emissions under the nearly 40-year old Clean Air Act.

 

“That is just not true,” said Doniger. “EPA is able to focus on the big stuff, the big sources of global warming pollution.”

 

Even before the formal announcement, experts predicted the decision would transform the federal government’s role in regulating commercial operations across the country. Roger Martella, who served as EPA’s general counsel under Bush and is now a partner at the firm Sidley Austin in Washington, issued a statement saying, “The proposed endangerment finding marks the official beginning of an era of controlling carbon in the United States.”

 

“This means that EPA’s mission of environmental protection will burst outside those bounds and place it on the stage as one of the most influential regulators of both energy use and the greater economy in the upcoming year,” Martella added. “The proposal, once finalized, will give EPA far more responsibility than addressing climate change. It effectively will assign EPA broad authority over the use and control of energy, in turn authorizing it to regulate virtually every sector of the economy.”

 

Many opponents of regulating carbon dioxide will now turn their attention to Congress, hoping to achieve a more modest cap on greenhouse gases through the legislative process than one that could be imposed by the federal government.

 

Fred Singer, who heads the Arlington, Va.-based Science and Environmental Policy Project and has repeatedly questioned the idea that humans contribute to climate change, said in a statement that the EPA proposal “is based on shoddy science and would impose a huge economic burden on American households . . . Congress must stop this unwarranted action by means of legislation, but without committing the same errors as EPA.”

 

 

About Renergie

Renergie was formed by Ms. Meaghan M. Donovan on March 22, 2006 for the purpose of raising capital to develop, construct, own and operate a network of ten ethanol plants in the parishes of the State of Louisiana which were devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  Each ethanol plant will have a production capacity of five million gallons per year (5 MGY) of fuel-grade ethanol.  Renergie’s “field-to-pump” strategy is to produce non-corn ethanol locally and directly market non-corn ethanol locally. On February 26, 2008, Renergie was one of 8 recipients, selected from 139 grant applicants, to share $12.5 million from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Renewable Energy Technologies Grants Program.  Renergie received $1,500,483 (partial funding) in grant money to design and build Florida’s first ethanol plant capable of producing fuel-grade ethanol solely from sweet sorghum juice. On  April 2, 2008, Enterprise Florida, Inc., the state’s economic development organization, selected Renergie as one of Florida’s most innovative technology companies in the alternative energy sector.  On January 20, 2009, Florida Energy & Climate Commission amended RET Grant Agreement S0386 to increase Renergie’s funding from $1,500,483 to $2,500,000. By blending fuel-grade ethanol with gasoline at the gas station pump, Renergie will offer the consumer a fuel that is renewable, more economical, cleaner, and more efficient than unleaded gasoline.  Moreover, the Renergie project will mark the first time that Louisiana farmers will share in the profits realized from the sale of value-added products made from their crops.

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    Renergie created “field-to-pump," a unique strategy to locally produce and market advanced biofuel (“non-corn fuel ethanol”) via a network of small advanced biofuel manufacturing facilities. The purpose of “field-to-pump” is to maximize rural development and job creation while minimizing feedstock supply risk and the burden on local water supplies.

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