Here’s how Biden is subdued with Elon Musk

The Biden administration trusts that Tesla will guide the reform of the renewable fuel policy despite the disagreements between Elon Musk and the White House. It writes Reuters

US President Joe Biden rarely mentions electric car maker Tesla in public. But privately, his administration has leaned on the company to help shape a new policy that allows electric vehicles (EVs) to benefit from the attractive national subsidies for renewable fuels, according to emails reviewed by . Reuters.

The Biden administration contacted Tesla on his first day in office, marking the start of a series of meetings on the subject between federal officials and companies related to the electric car industry in the following months, according to emails.
The administration’s early and extensive outreach activity reflects the fact that expanding the scope of the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to make it a tool for electrifying the nation’s fleet is one of Biden’s priorities. in the fight against climate change – he writes Reuters.

WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES ‘RENEWED FUEL (RFS) STANDARD

RFS, which dates back to 2005, is a federal program that requires transportation fuels sold in the United States to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuels. So far, it has primarily been a supplement to corn-based ethanol.

The White House’s contact with Tesla also shows that despite the public grudge between Biden and Tesla founder Elon Musk, Biden’s team has from the beginning tried to involve the carmaker in one of its major political initiatives. Biden has set itself a goal of making half of all new cars sold CO2-neutral by 2030.
The US Environmental Protection Agency, which manages RFS, is expected to roll out proposed policy changes later this year and define new winners and losers in a multi-billion dollar credit market known as RIN, which has supported corn farmers and biofuel producers for more than a decade.

AGAINST REVIEW OF RFS POLICY

Early signs indicate that the administration is moving towards a regulation that benefits car manufacturers like Tesla by giving them maximum access to so-called e-RINS or electric RINs. However, according to industry players, the reform could also extend subsidies to related sectors, such as car charging companies and landfills that supply renewable biogas to power plants.
“We have heard that car companies will greatly appreciate this rule,” Maureen Walsh, director of federal policy for the American Biogas Council, said at a conference in May. But he added: “We all discarded that pile.”

INCLUDING ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN RFS

The idea of ​​including electric vehicles in RFS has been under consideration for years, but it caught on when Biden’s transition team turned to electric vehicles as an employment solution to the climate crisis. Transportation is responsible for over a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The White House did not respond to requests for comment.
The EPA said it was consulting “all interested parties” in its RFS policy review.
The current RFS requires oil refineries to mix ethanol and other biofuels in the fuel pool or buy RINs from those that do. This policy has spurred an economic boom in the Farm Belt states.

POSITION OF ENVIRONMENTAL FORESTS

But it has also angered environmental groups, who say extra corn production is damaging land and water and prolonging the era of the internal combustion engine.

Friends of the Earth, an environmental group, expressed disapproval of the e-RIN program. The group believes that RFS is a policy that has failed to increase the production of the next generation of low-carbon fuels while harming the environment. The group also believes that the expansion of the program is a slippery slope towards increasing the use of raw materials such as wood and wood waste that can generate electricity.
“RFS should be reformed to counter homage to dirty corn ethanol. It should not be extended to include new incentives for industrial agriculture and woody biomass,” said Lukas Ross, a spokesman for Friends of the Earth.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WAS IMMEDIATELY TESLA

On the morning of Biden’s inauguration in January 2021, EPA employees Dallas Burkholder sent an email to a prominent Tesla lobbyist, Rohan Patel, to arrange a meeting on how to incorporate electric cars into RFS. according to the documents examined by Reuters. Documents show that the meeting was scheduled for a week later.

Since then, Biden’s EPA has held other meetings on the subject with Tesla, groups representing biogas producers such as Waste Management Inc and Republic Services Inc, and charging station companies such as ChargePoint Holdings Inc, according to the documents.

According to emails, the EPA also organized at least one meeting with White House staff, including climate adviser Ali Zaidi, to discuss the reforms.

Biden Hvide Hus has been a convinced supporter of the electric car industry and has put much of its climate hope on the circulation of more electric cars. The two-part infrastructure law passed last year included $ 7.5 billion for new charging stations for electric vehicles, and Biden sought to restore overdue tax deductions to help consumers pay for new vehicles.

However, Tesla’s CEO Musk has often been at odds with the White House and sent harsh tweets directly to Biden. In February, Biden publicly acknowledged Tesla’s role in the manufacture of electric vehicles, after Musk repeatedly complained that he was being ignored.

EVERYONE’S WISH

Tesla is seeking to make changes to the RFS that will allow it to earn renewable fuel credits based on kilowatt-hours driven or the like, according to two sources familiar with the plan. The company has also explored partnerships with biogas producers to make an impact in any market that comes out of the new rule, the sources say.
Tesla did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Meanwhile, members of the car charging industry are also pushing for a share.
Matthew Nelson, a lobbyist at Electrify America, a commercial group of charging companies, wrote to the EPA in October, saying e-RINs would do more than any other policy to meet Biden’s 2030 target of 500,000 stations. charging and 50% of EV sales, according to emails. He added that charging companies need the credit to compete with gasoline.

According to data from the Department of Energy, the United States currently has about 48,000 charging stations, concentrated in coastal areas. Biogas producers, like landfills, also want to get credit and claim to supply renewable fuels to the grid that generate electricity for electric vehicles.
Electricity from biogas is already suitable for generating RIN. But the EPA has never approved an industry request because it has not yet decided how best to trace the source of the energy going into electric vehicles. By 2020, landfill gas generated approximately 10 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, or 0.3% of industrial-scale electricity in the United States.
“We believe that the implementation of the RFS electricity program is in line with the Biden administration’s climate goals,” Carrie Annand, CEO of the Biomass Power Association, wrote to the EPA, according to the documents.

(Excerpt from the foreign press release of Epr Comunicazione)

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