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No. 04, Oct. 25, 2017

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ON THE HILL

EPA AND PRUITT OUTLINE 'CONTRACT WITH THE AMERICAN FARMER' 

 
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Late last week, after meeting with several of the ethanol industry’s Senate champions, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt wrote a letter outlining his and the agency’s commitment to leaving biodiesel levels untouched, eliminating the prospect of a foreign market-killing export scheme, leaving the RFS point of obligation unchanged, and examining how to fix the Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) issue. These are very positive steps for America’s biofuels industry and American farmers.

 

Growth Energy led the way in ensuring that the key issues ultimately addressed in Administrator Pruitt's letter were well understood by our gubernatorial and Congressional champions. We made sure that everyone understood just how damaging these proposed changes could be, as well as how critical an RVP waiver is to our future growth. We worked diligently with policymakers for months, using political events, constituent outreach, and regular staff-to-staff meetings to get to a point where our champions trusted us and were willing to stand up and create a stir.

 

The commitments outlined in Administrator Pruitt’s letter—when finalized—will ensure American biofuels continue to deliver value to consumers nationwide. Growth Energy will continue to work with EPA on all matters regarding biofuel regulations, and we look forward to the final Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) with levels greater than the 2017 total levels, including an increase for cellulosic biofuels.

For more details, contact Senior Director of Government Affairs John Fuher.


 

WORKING FOR YOU

 

AT THE PUMP
Working with Sheetz on Higher-Blend Infrastructure

 

Convenience Store News Webinar Today, Wednesday

 

Husker Fuel Pink

IN THE PRESS

Response to Anti-Ethanol Wall Street Journal Editorial

 

Webinar Recap: Media 101

 

Debut of new Growth Energy Podcast

IN REGULATIONS

Comments Filed in Response to NODA

ON THE ROAD
Sixth Annual American Ethanol/RCR Pheasant Hunt

 

Recap of National Association of Convenience Store Show

 

Growth Energy at International Motor Press Association’s Test Days

AROUND THE WORLD

Agriculture Trade Mission to India


Recap of Ethanol Summit of the Americas

IN THE FAST LANE

Kansas Lottery 300 Race Report

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

90th National FFA Convention & Expo

Oct. 25-28, 2017

Indianapolis, Ind.

NAFB

Nov. 9-10, 2017

Kansas City, Mo.

Executive Leadership Conference

Feb. 7-10, 2018

Boca Raton, Fla.


AT THE PUMP

Working with Sheetz on Higher-Blend Infrastructure

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On Monday, Oct. 23, Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor joined a press conference in Middletown, Penn., with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Delaware Department of Agriculture, and Sheetz to discuss our successful partnership, along with Prime the Pump, to complete higher-blend infrastructure in the state and offer Sheetz customers E15 and E85. More than 1,000 fuel stations around the country are offering E15—nearly triple the number of stations from the same time last year. Pennsylvania is now home to 85 of those E15 stations.

Convenience Store News Webinar Today, Wednesday

Today, Wednesday, October 25, at 2:00pm EDT / 1:00pm CDT Convenience Store News is hosting a webinar called "Driving Fuel Sales with E15." In this webinar, Mike O’Brien, Vice President of Market Development for Growth Energy, and Matt Nichols, Senior Manager of Strategic Initiatives for Thorntons, the Louisville, Ky.-based chain of nearly 190 convenience stores, will share lessons on how to drive sales with E15 fuel.

 

Attendees will gain new insight on consumer research, increase their knowledge on availability and projected growth of E15, have an opportunity to ask questions and hear first-hand testimony from Thorntons, and learn specifically about branding efforts, volumes, promotion programs, and marketing. Click the link below if you'd like to sign up!

Husker Fuel Pink

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Nebraska is home to 25 ethanol plants that produce two billion gallons of American ethanol annually. This month, many of the Nebraska retail partners launched “Husker Fuel Pink,” a campaign aimed at raising breast cancer awareness. Seth Harder, general manager of Husker Ag, is leading this effort and says that there has been “an absolute outpouring from the communities supporting the effort.” The campaign, which combines pink with the HuskerFuel.com initiative, will donate 3 cents to breast cancer awareness and research for every gallon of E15 sold from now through Thanksgiving. If you're in Nebraska, stop in at one of the following retailers to fill up with E15 and help support this important cause:

  • Norfolk Speedee Mart
  • Pierce One Stop
  • Pierce Toms Service
  • Plainview Speedee Mart
  • Osmond Mini Mart
  • Hartington Stop and Go

For more details, contact Vice President of Market Development Mike O'Brien or Vice President of Development Kelly Manning.

 

IN THE PRESS

Response to Anti-Ethanol Wall Street Journal Editorial

On Sunday, Oct. 22, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial that contained numerous falsehoods and inaccuracies about the ethanol industry. Growth Energy sent the following response to the newspaper:

The editorial board’s October 22nd attack on America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was wrong about biofuels and wrong about the Trump administration. The president campaigned on a promise to protect the RFS, increase rural job opportunities, and promote America’s leadership on homegrown biofuels. He was explicit in that promise, and he won waves of support across the heartland, where biofuels support hundreds of thousands of jobs. His commitment to those workers should be commended.

Yet a handful of refinery owners continue to attack rural supporters in the White House and Congress. They demand a regulatory handout from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would gut the law. The RFS has been on the books for over 12 years. It allows consumers to access renewable fuels in a market controlled by petroleum companies. The program displaced 500 million barrels of imported oil last year. It has saved the average U.S. household about $142 in gasoline expenses, according to the American Journal of Agricultural Economics.

A small minority of refinery owners prefer to purchase credits from others rather than blend biofuels into their product. But even the union official quoted in the editorial has acknowledged that biofuel credits “might not be impacting them as stated.” Some refiners took a hit when Congress lifted the ban on crude exports, but scapegoating the RFS is not an answer.

The editorial also takes a misinformed swipe at the administration for a commonsense proposal to hold lower-cost fuels with 15 percent ethanol to the exact same Reid Vapor Pressure standards as regular fuel blends. It would allow fuel retailers to sell more ethanol, supporting jobs and making compliance with the RFS even cheaper for refiners. Sounds like a win-win.

Webinar Recap: Media 101

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, Growth Energy conducted a webinar focused on the "Media 101" section of the new Member Advocacy Communications Toolkit. Topics discussed included a biofuels messaging overview, the importance of media response and outreach, why your voice as a member is important, how you can work with media, what to say and how to say it, tips for being interviewed, and more. Click the link below to listen to the webinar and watch the slides any time! And make sure to save the dates for the webinars focusing on the other two Toolkit sections: Community Networking 101 on Nov. 15 at 11:00am EDT and Social Media 101 on Dec. 13 at 11:00am EDT.

Debut of New Growth Energy Podcast

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This week Growth Energy launched a new monthly podcast, where we'll comment on the latest news and developments in the ethanol industry.

 

In this first edition CEO Emily Skor discusses this past week in policy, which saw the biofuels industry unite, led by champions in the Senate and state governors, to get the attention of the White House and defend the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). She says the response to the pressure by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in the form of a letter to senators he met with is very encouraging. “I look forward to the promises becoming policy,” said Skor. “There have been commitments made, so we look for the final renewable volume obligations to come out at the end of November. When we see this in writing we will all be able to breathe a sign of relief.”

 

Skor also comments on the Ethanol Summit of the Americas held in Houston last week, which brought together industry and government officials from more than 15 countries in the Western Hemisphere to discuss current and future opportunities for ethanol in the region.

For more details, contact Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs Chris Hogan.

 

IN REGULATIONS

Comments Filed in Response to NODA

Growth Energy filed joint comments with BIO that pushed back against the proposed reductions in biofuel volumes in the Notice of Data Availability (NODA) prior to Administrator Pruitt’s letter (see lead story). Key points from the NODA comments include: 

  • Promotion of U.S. energy independence does not justify a waiver of the RFS volumes.
  • Definition of domestic supply under the RFS for consideration of EPA’s waiver authority includes and has always included foreign-produced renewable fuel that is available to U.S. importers.
  • EPA may not consider RIN costs when assessing their general waiver authority.
  • EPA has no authority to carry through the reductions in advanced biofuel to total renewable fuel.
  • EPA should follow its previous interpretations of the severe harm standard; there is no basis for a waiver of the 2018 volumes based on severe harm.
  • EPA should abandon its attempt to tie RINs to ethanol exports.

At this point, we now expect final Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) on or about November 30. Also, in case you missed it, please see our Technical Alert on Acidity and ASTM Test Methods that was emailed last week, and please be sure to pass along to your lab personnel.

For more details, contact Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley.

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ON THE ROAD

Sixth Annual American Ethanol/RCR Pheasant Hunt 

Last week the Growth Energy membership team gathered with sportsmen from Conestoga Energy, Carbon Green, ERI, Denco II, and Energetix at American Ethanol and Richard Childress Racing's annual pheasant hunt at Thunderstik Lodge, just outside of Chamberlain, S.D. on the Missouri River. The two-and-a-half-day event featured sporting clays, trap shooting, pheasant hunting, and other activities. 

 
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This year, Josh Willis, a former Captain in the U.S. Army, was honored on behalf of Growth Energy and the Board of Directors for his commitment and dedication as he served two tours of duty in Iraq and El Salvador. 

Recap of National Association of Convenience Stores Show

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The Market Development team wrapped up a successful NACS conference, where we celebrated Sheetz’s Convenience Store of the Year Award alongside them, engaged our current retail partners, and had productive meetings with the Executive Vice President of Sheetz, the COO and Senior Vice President and fuels team from Kum & Go, the executive leadership team from Minnoco, the Vice President of Fuels and Executive Vice President of Hy-Vee, the fuels team from Wawa, and the Vice President of Fuels from Family Express.

Growth Energy at International Motor Press Association’s Test Days

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For the second year in a row, Growth Energy was a major sponsor of the International Motor Press Association’s (IMPA) Test Days, which takes place at the Monticello Motor Club in the Catskills region of upstate New York. The annual event, held this year October 17 and 18, brings together automakers and leading automotive writers, bloggers, and journalists. Test Days is a unique opportunity for the auto media to test drive and review a variety of new vehicles, engage with peers, and share industry perspectives.

 

Under our American Ethanol brand, we had a booth set up onsite at the Motor Club venue and were able to talk to auto journalists about engine performance, environmental benefits, and consumer choice at the pump. We were joined by American Ethanol Performance Team Ambassador and professional Formula Drift driver Kyle Mohan and POET Vice President of Corporate Affairs Doug Berven, who were able to engage in extensive fact-checking discussions with reporters and bloggers. Notably, these conversations with AAA spokesman Robert Sinclair, built on a foundation begun at last year’s Test Days, were so successful that Sinclair tweeted out support for ethanol along with a photo with Berven at the American Ethanol booth.

 

Kyle Mohan took a few reporters on driving interviews as he piloted a variety of vehicles around the Motor Club’s 4.1 mile track while also conveying the many engine performance benefits provided by biofuels like ethanol. 

For more details, contact Vice President of Development Kelly Manning, Vice President of Market Development Mike O'Brien, or Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs Chris Hogan.

 

AROUND THE WORLD

Agriculture Trade Mission to India and Ethanol Summit of the Americas

This week, Growth Energy’s Jim Miller, Marquis Energy’s Bart Piper, and POET’s Shailesh Sahay will head out for the Agriculture Trade Mission to India led by the USDA's newly confirmed Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. The team representing the U.S. ethanol industry will meet with industry and government officials in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, and New Delhi to discuss the opportunities for India to achieve success in its efforts to expand fuel ethanol blending throughout the country. The team will encourage India to consider allowing fuel refiners and marketers to tender for imported fuel ethanol, which has been disallowed for several years, in order to bolster their total supply of ethanol and reduce their dependence on imported fossil fuels.

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The Ethanol Summit of the Americas (ESOTA) was held October 18 and 19 in Houston, and a large number of industry representatives from the Western Hemisphere took advantage of the trip to Houston to travel to U.S. ethanol plants to gain first-hand knowledge about our industry. 

 

The Summit, organized by the U.S. Grains Council and sponsored by Growth Energy, Iowa Corn Board, and the Renewable Fuels Association, provided a forum for discussion of the challenges and opportunities the ethanol industry faces throughout North and South America. Presentations and discussions included ways to promote stronger ethanol blending policies, to address environmental challenges, to ensure that both policy-makers and consumers have access to up-to-date information about the benefits of ethanol, and to recognize the positive role of trade in advancing the industry in individual domestic economies.


In addition to formal comments presented at the meeting by Green Plains, Inc. President and CEO Todd Becker, POET's Vice President of Corporate Affairs Doug Berven, and Growth Energy's Emily Skor and Jim Miller, numerous Growth Energy members attended the Summit and had the opportunity to engage with ethanol industry and government representatives from throughout the Western Hemisphere. 

For more details on international markets, contact Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Chris Bliley.

 

IN THE FAST LANE

Kansas Lottery 300 Race Report

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Last weekend, Casey's General Stores partnered with American Ethanol for RCR's Brandon Jones’ No. 33 NASCAR Xfinity Series car at the Kansas Lottery 300 in order to highlight E15's performance.


Brandon came in 11th place in the race, and said: “It's always a challenge when radio issues happen during a race, but the No. 33 American Ethanol/Casey's General Store team really came together and managed to still get a great 11th-place finish out of the day. We fired off lacking rear grip at the start of the race, but that grip came in eventually. From there on out, I was just fighting a snug feeling all day. Having to communicate with hand signals back to my crew chief, Brandon Thomas, was tough but luckily we have a great spotter in Doug Campbell and he was able to relay to the team what I was feeling. It feels good to overcome an issue like that and still walk away with a solid finish." 

For more details on American Ethanol's performance team, contact Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs Chris Hogan.

 
 
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The Weekly Rundown is the weekly newsletter for Growth Energy's members, published by the communications staff at Growth Energy. For more information, email team@growthenergy.org

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