2015 : The Year That Was (Part 2)

In the second part of our review of 2015, we take a look at the major events and announcements in the second half of the year. 


IMG 5514As part of the many measures to increase support for the RFS, Rep. Tim Walz visits the Guardian Energy ethanol plant in Janesville to highlight the importance of the RFS to rural economies. Nationally, the RFA highlights how the EPA's 10 percent "blend wall" is pure fiction, noting how 22 states broke through the oil industry's blend wall in 2013. Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota distances itself from associate profressor, Jason Hill's, anti-ethanol testimony in Congress. The public comment period on the EPA's RFS proposals closes on July 27. E85 usage in Minnesota reaches a 21-month high.


POET releases its first ever economic impact study (it contributed $5.4 billion to the country's GDP in 2014) while the RFS celebrates its 10th birthday. The University of Illinois at Chicago says sticking to the actual 2015 RFS targets would reduce an additional 4.5 million tons of CO2. Fiat Chrysler approves the use of E15 in all of its 2016 models (Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram). We release a 1-minute video highlighting the ethanol industry's economic impact in Minnesota. 


The USDA announces that 21 states, including Minnesota, will receive grants for infrastructure to offer E15 and E85. Minnesota is expected to receive grants to add 620 pumps to dispense blends like E15 and E85. In desperation, the oil industry releases a "study" on the harmful effects of the RFS which gets debunked immediately. Iowa State University's releases an actual study that concludes the original 2016 RFS targets can be achieved through E85 consumption. We release a video that shows how much CO2 can be saved if all gasoline in Minnesota was E15. Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial High School students visit Guardian Energy. E15 sales in Minnesota reach a new record with 246,951 gallons sold.   


The month kicks off with anti-ethanol champions Senators Pat Toomey and Dianne Feinstein wasting more tax dollars with another anti-RFS amendment that gets defeated (again). At the same time, responsible lawmakers like Sen. Amy Klobuchar push the White House to stick with the RFS while Congressman Colin Peterson sends a bipartisan letter signed by 17 members of Congress in support of the RFS to the EPA. A report by the Department of Energy states that ethanol is key for increased engine efficiency and reducing emissions. The University of Tennessee releases a "study" funded by Big Oil that is, unsurprisingly, critical of the RFS. Owatonna Senior High School students visit the Al-Corn Clean Fuel plant in Claremont. E15 use in Minnesota hits a new record at 472,172 gallons.


The USDA announces Minnesota will receive $8 million in federal grants to install or retrofit 620 flex fuel pumps in 165 stations in the state while the White House begins to review the EPA's final rule on the RFS. An anti-RFS letter sent to the EPA from a group of congressmen is disovered to have been authored by the oil industry. We list the positions the presidential candidates, both GOP and Democratic, have on ethanol and the RFS. Long Prairie Grey Eagle High School students visit the Chippewa Valley Ethanol Company plant in Benson. The month is ended by the EPA's announcement of its 2014, 2015 and 2016 RFS targets. Despite being higher than its previous proposal, the final numbers are still below the targets set by Congress and are labeled a "capitulation to the petroleum industry."


IMG 0300Central Minnesota Renewables begins construction of a renewable chemical facility in Little Falls. Global biofuels and biotech industries ask for stronger biofuel policies to combat climate change. As the Iowa caucuses nears, the RFS once again gains the spotlight with polls showing most likely caucus-goers support the RFS while industry supporters ramp up criticism of Sen. Ted Cruz' opposition to the RFS. The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association and KS95 award drivers with prizes for switching to E15 at the Highland Minnoco in St Paul for an hour on Dec 16. More automakers approve the use of E15 in their vehicles.