Nebraska Ethanol Board eager to see action on Trump Administration’s promises to the biofuel industry

LINCOLN, Neb. — This morning, the White House announced its intentions to honor the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by upholding the existing law that requires 15 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol be blended into the U.S. fuel supply each year, starting in 2020. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) committed to implementing a process that will eliminate barriers that inhibit the sale of higher ethanol blends and cause confusion among consumers and fuel retailers.

“The wait for this decision has been agonizing, especially for Nebraska farmers and biofuel producers struggling in today’s industry,” said Jan tenBensel, chairman of the Nebraska Ethanol Board and farmer from Cambridge. “Thank you to the White House for listening, and, to our Congressional delegates for working tirelessly to ensure our voices are heard. As you contemplate how this decision will unfold, hear this: our life’s work is to take the land we are privileged to call home and nurture it to sustain the masses. The decisions made today impacts the now and the future. Thank you for recognizing the importance of the biofuel industry and your commitment to its prosperity.”   

The Nebraska Ethanol Board’s mission is to see that the production of ethanol continues and grows. Over the past several months, the future of ethanol has looked dismal due to the trade wars and refinery exemptions. Seventeen ethanol plants across the country have ceased operation, which has directly affected the price of corn for Nebraska farmers. When the Board submitted comments to the EPA on its proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for ethanol, it urged the EPA to redistribute the more than four billion gallons of ethanol that have been stripped out of the RFS over the last three years. Today’s statement from the White House is a step in the right direction but it does not address the wrongs of the past.     

“We are encouraged by the Trump Administration’s announcement to uphold the law by way of the RFS and to remove barriers that are holding back the biofuel industry’s ability to compete and thrive,” said Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board. “Today’s announcement is good news and we appreciate the step forward but we are disappointed in its lack of details. There is a lot of work that still needs to take place to help stabilize the damage already done and increase biofuel consumption. We look forward to working with the administration and our Congressional champions to help shape a concrete plan of action soon, as our farmers and ethanol producers cannot take any more hits and need immediate relief.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov

###

Choose American Ethanol to Help Fuel the Cure for Breast Cancer

LINCOLN, Neb. – Throughout October, drivers can help Fuel the Cure for breast cancer by choosing American Ethanol at the pump. More than 30 Nebraska gas stations will donate 3 cents for every gallon of higher ethanol blends – E15 to flex fuel E85 – sold between October 1­‑­October 31. All donations will support cancer research at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha

Why support this important cause? 
Chemicals in gasoline are known to cause cancer. Higher blends of biofuels dilute the toxicity and helps reduce cancer-causing emissions. Last year’s campaign raised more than $6,000.

”Cancer touches the lives of nearly everyone in some way,” said Ashley Christensen, Director of Development, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer. “We appreciate that Nebraska fuel retailers are joining forces to empower drivers to support cancer research at the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, which provides life-saving care to people throughout our state. With donors like yourself, we are able to fund researchers working on new treatments each and every day.”

For a complete list of participating fuel retailers, please visit www.fuelthecure.pink. Drivers will be able to identify which retailers are supporting this important cause by looking for pink signage at the pump, on the windows, and at the counter.

E15 (15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline), also called Unleaded 88, is approved for use in all passenger vehicles 2001 and newer. Ethanol blends higher than 15 percent are approved for use in flex fuel vehicles. One in seven Nebraskans are driving a flex fuel vehicle, which can run on any blend of American Ethanol up to E85 (85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). Drivers can check their owner’s manual to see if they’re driving a flex fuel vehicle. The vehicle might also have a flex fuel badge on the trunk or tailgate — or a yellow gas cap.

“The Fuel the Cure program has been a tremendous partnership between Nebraska’s ethanol industry and the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” said David Bruntz, chairman of the Nebraska Corn Board and farmer from Friend. “Ethanol blends already help clean up our air from toxic, cancer-causing chemicals emitted from burning traditional gasoline, but throughout the month, you can make an even bigger impact by using higher ethanol blends to support breast cancer research. Ethanol benefits our health, our environment, our engines and our wallets.”

The Nebraska Corn Board and Nebraska Ethanol Board, along with Renewable Fuels Nebraska, sponsor Fuel the Cure in conjunction with retail stations.

###

Comments on EPA’s proposed Renewable Volume Obligations for ethanol

LINCOLN, Neb. — In July, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued their proposed volume standards for 2020 under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program. They opened the public comment period through Aug. 30.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board and office of Governor Pete Ricketts each submitted separate comments that called on the EPA to adjust the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) and bolster the ethanol market.

“Both the ethanol industry and agriculture in Nebraska are hurting due to the actions of the Trump administration and more specifically, Andrew Wheeler’s Environmental Protection Agency,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “In our comments to EPA, we strongly urged Mr. Wheeler to approve pathways for corn kernel fiber cellulosic ethanol that have been held up for far too long simply due to political meandering.” 

“We also urged the EPA to redistribute the more than four billion gallons of ethanol that have been stripped out of the Renewable Fuel Standard due to Small Refiner Exemptions over the last three years,” Berry said. “The only way to right the wrongs of the past and make the ethanol industry whole again is for the EPA to seriously consider the suggestions of the Nebraska Ethanol Board, and a multitude of other ethanol interests that have submitted comments. If the EPA would right the wrongs, it will preserve the ethanol industry that is fighting an uphill battle with those opposed to ethanol, and will continue to contribute to a lower priced fuel for Nebraskans’ cars and cleaner air for all.”

View Nebraska Ethanol Board’s submitted comments here.

To read Gov. Ricketts’ press release and submitted public comments, visit here.

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov

###

Nebraska Ethanol Board September board meeting and EHS industry training

LINCOLN, NEB – The Nebraska Ethanol Board will hold a board meeting in Lincoln on Friday, Sept. 13 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be at Cornhusker Marriott (333 S 13th St.) in the Hawthorne Room. Visit here for the agenda. This agenda contains all items to come before the Board except those items of an emergency nature.

Then, on Sept. 19, safety professionals from across the state will gather in Kearney, Nebraska, for the 15th annual Environment, Health and Safety Summit. The daylong summit presented by the Nebraska Ethanol Board will feature speakers from agencies and organizations across the region, including the Nebraska Department of Environment & Energy, Flint Hills Resources safety department, Trinity Consultants covering OSHA and risk management plans, NAQS Environmental Experts, and Olsson.

For full details, visit the registration page. Registration is due by Sept. 11. The event is open to professionals who work in environmental compliance, worker safety, and processing and manufacturing. College students are invited to attend and may qualify for a scholarship to waive the $50 registration fee.

“This is a great opportunity to network and learn about the latest regulations and compliance changes, especially as ethanol plants implement new technology and expand operations,” said Roger Berry, Nebraska Ethanol Board administrator. “We are proud that the summit is attracting companies both directly and indirectly related to the ethanol industry, including organizations that focus on air quality and environmental compliance.”

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

###

Ethanol Board offers fuel retailer training to install E15 blends and higher

August 28 at the Younes Center,
416 W Talmadge Rd, Kearney, NE, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

To sign up, fuel retailers should register by Aug. 23 at http://bit.ly/E15WKSHPKearney. The workshop is free, and food and drink will be provided throughout the day.

LINCOLN, Neb. — Since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted regulations against the sale of E15 throughout the summer months, the market and industry feedback has proven positive. For the first time ever, consumers driving 2001 or newer vehicles can access the fuel with up to 15% ethanol year-round. Because customers see a decrease in price, an average of 3-7 cents cheaper per gallon than E10, fuel retailers making room for E15 experience an increase in patrons.

“In 2017, our sales of E15 increased over 300 percent; in 2018, they went up another 225 percent,” said Randy Gard, COO of Grand Island-based Bosselman Enterprises. “And with the help of President Trump opening the door for year-round E15, our newest projections for this year show an increase of another 400 percent.”

Bosselman Enterprises operates 45 Pump & Pantry convenience stores in the state, and they have been offering E15 since 2016. Gard said sales growth has been tremendous and it is a huge market opportunity. He encourages other retailers to join the E15 movement to offer a better fuel, at a better cost, that’s better for the environment.

The biggest hurdle that often stops fuel retailers from adding higher ethanol blends is cost, but Roger Berry, administrator for the Nebraska Ethanol Board (NEB), said that might not actually be a hurdle at all. To help dispel these myths and to educate fuel retailers on the benefits and ease of offering E15, NEB will host a free workshop for fuel retailers Aug. 28 in Kearney, Nebraska. Attendees will hear best practices from fuel retailers who’ve seen success selling E15, a keynote from Ron Lamberty of American Coalition of Ethanol, and will learn about resources to make implementing and labeling infrastructure easy and affordable.

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the costs associated with adding E15 to the pump,” Berry said. “Many gas stations can begin to sell E15 with very little investment in their current infrastructure. If a pre-blended E15 is available at the rack where the fuel retailer sources their fuel, they can often times replace one of their current choices, such as an 89 octane mid-grade that they generally sell very little of, with very little to no investment. Of course they must have the Nebraska State Fire Marshall’s office out for an inspection prior to putting E15 in that tank and dispensing it through the dispenser. The retailer does not have to install the more expensive blender pumps in order to sell E15.”

Additionally, some of the burden can be relieved through a grant program from the Nebraska Corn Board, who will award qualifying retailers money for equipment and infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol fuel.

The increase in E15 sales will provide an additional value-added market for Nebraska farmers and ethanol plants, who are experiencing many challenges this year. Weather, the strain of tariffs that have cut U.S. exports drastically, and the EPA’s indiscriminate approval of small refinery exemptions (SREs) are weighing heavily on the industry. Fuel retailers who offer E15 will not only be driving customers seeking lower costs and environmental change to their stores, they will have a real impact on Nebraska’s farmers and economy. 

The Nebraska Ethanol Board works to ensure strong public policy and consumer support for biofuels. Since 1971, the independent state agency has designed and managed programs to expand production, market access, worker safety and technology innovation, including recruitment of producers interested in developing conventional ethanol, as well as bio-products from the ethanol platform. For more information, visit www.ethanol.nebraska.gov.

The Advancement of Ethanol in Nebraska