Pete Landrys Real Gas.com

Your ONLY Comprehensive Source of Ethanol FREE Gas Locations Throughout Louisiana’s 64 Parishes and Mississippi’s 82 Counties.

Pete Landrys Real Gas.com - Your ONLY Comprehensive Source of Ethanol FREE Gas Locations Throughout Louisiana’s 64 Parishes and Mississippi’s 82 Counties.

WEBSITE NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Breaking News Pic 4

“Pete’s” News Corner

  Your advocate for PURE Gasoline        “Laissez les bon temps rouler”                      Contact “Pete” at:                        way2gopete@yahoo.com                  

   ALL ABOUT ETHANOL GASOLINE ISSUES AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

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    *     *     *     BREAKING NEWS     *     *     *

BREAKING:  The day LSU fans have been waiting for so long is FINALLY HERE!  See the details of the LSU vs McNeese State game with kickoff time and TV channel in the LSU section below!  GEAUX TIGERS!!  To get you ‘Pumped Up” for the game, please view the many LSU videos on the right hand side of this page! 

IMPORTANT: Please see the details of an article I posted today (9/3/2015) concerning a VERY IMPORTANT issue regarding Obama’s attempt to FORCE the UN to TAKE AWAY our GUNS!  It is URGENT that all gun owners and 2nd Amendment advocates respond to this important issue before it is TOO LATE.  See the details in the ‘Gun Control in America’ section below.

ALSO: Notice on the right hand side of this page that I posted a notice that I am putting the website up for sale.  Any interested parties, please contact me at the e-mail address listed in the notice.

ALSO:  Note that I posted another ‘Favorite’ Fishing Babe for September. 

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LSU SPORTS INFORMATION:  

Although LSU website indicates the Tigers have 18 commitments for 2016, Coach Miles yesterday indicate that the total is actually 21, as there are 3 ‘silent commits’ who do not yet want their names announced yet?   Here’s the link to 247Sports.com’s ranking of 2016 recruiting by colleges:

LINK:    http://247sports.com/Season/2016-Football/CompositeTeamRankings

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    *   *  SPORTS ARTICLE SUMMARY   *   *      

LSU SPORTS ARTICLE:

Today (9/4) I posted an article from Tiger Sports Digest which lists the football Team Captains for the 2015 season. 

Read the article in the LSU section

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  *  *  *   TODAY’S FEATURE ARTICLE   *  *  *

Today I posted an ecological article from Scientific America titled “Losing Ground: Southeast Louisiana is Disappearing, Quickly“.  This article was published in 2014, but is certainly still applicable today.  The article discusses the demise of south Louisiana losing over 2,000 square miles of land in the past 80 years!  The many reasons for this soil disappearance are discussed in depth.  According to the article, “Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed“.  The article is a little lengthy but VERY INFORMATIVE!  I urge you to make time to read it and tell your friends about it also.  I also posted a copy of the article on the website’s “Current News” page for retention.  

NOTE:  The full “Today’s Feature Article” is always located below the LSU Sports section on this page.  Just scroll down the page to find it.  ——————————————————————————————————–

PLEASE HELP REPEAL THE ETHANOL RENEWAL FUEL STANDARD BY E-MAILING OUR U.S. CONGRESSMEN!

PLEASE CALL, WRITE OR E-MAIL YOUR STATE’S U.S. SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES AND URGE THEM TO REPEAL THE RFS NOW – READ THE INFORMATION BELOW……the bill is titled “Renewal Fuel Standard Reform Act of 2015″.  

See how to contact your States U.S. Representative and Senator on the website’s “How to Contact U.S. Congressmen” above on the page bar at the top of this page.

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   *  *  *   GUN CONTROL IN AMERICA   *  *  *

Today (9/3/2015) I posted a new gun control  article on the “Gun Control in America” website page titled “Urgent: Obama’s Top Secret ‘Fast Track’ Bill Authorizes Total Gun Control….Read More Here“.  Obama and his surrogate Secretary of State John Kerry attended a UN meeting in Mexico a few weeks ago.  The intent of the meeting was to finalize details of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty which Kerry signed for the President two years ago.  I recently posted in this location the details of the Treaty whose TOTAL intent is to STRIP AWAY private ownership of guns in America!  Obama CANNOT BE TRUSTED and he is desperately trying to find a way to bypass the U.S. Congress on gun control, knowing they will NEVER approve of this Treaty.  Please read the article on the website’s ‘Gun Control in America‘ page (see the link on the article tool bar on top of this page).  After you read the article, I URGE you to join either the NRA of NAGR advocates for gun owners TODAY.  They need our involvement and financial support to fight this issue for us.  

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I’ll ONLY post here when I add a new article to the “Gun Control in America” page. 

American gun owners and defenders of the 2nd Amendment NEED HELP in fighting off the Government and State ‘gun control’ advocates!  If you are not currently a member of the NRA (National Rifle Association) or the NAGR (National Association for Gun Rights), you are urged to join TODAY.  Dues for the NRA are only $25/year and $35/year for the NAGR.

Here’s how (the NRA is the most powerful and influential):

NRA:   http://home.nra.org/

NAGR:  http://www.nationalgunrights.org/ 

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 *    *    *   WEBSITE NEWS    *    *    *

 I have resumed my update of our website’s Louisiana ethanol free gas list.  As I indicted when I began this considerable effort, I will update the list on the website when I am completed.  This is a VERY time consuming effort, so bear with me.  

I finished Livingston Parish (going alphabetically), and am now working on Orleans Parish.  I had stopped working on the gas list update during the peak of football season.  I will resume working on the list later this week.

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 *   *   *   FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE   *   *   *

          *     *     *   GAME DAY    *     *     *

'Death Valley' on Saturday Night

*’Death Valley’ on Saturday Night

 Here is the link to the LSU Tigers 2015 Football Schedule:  

Link:  www.lsusports.net/SportSelect.dbml?&&DB_OEM_ID=5200&SPID=2164&SPSID=27811

REMEMBER, the LSU vs McNeese State game is to be televised on the SECN ‘Alternate’ channel.  Click the link below to find the channel on your cable provider.

NOTE:  To find your cable or satellite carrier’s SECN ‘Alternate’ channel, click on this link:  www.getsecnetwork.com/

 

Saturday is GAME DAY!

Saturday is GAME DAY!

 

 *  LSU TIGER 2015 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE * 

  DATE             TEAMS                LOCATION  TIME(CT)   TV/RADIO

Sat (9/5)    LSU vs McNesse State   Home       6:30 pm   SECN-Alt/98.1 FM

Sat (9/12)  LSU vs Mississippi State  Away       8:15 pm      ESPN/98.1 FM

Sat (9/19)  LSU vs Auburn                  Home       2:30 pm      CBS/98.1 FM

Sat (9/26)  LSU vs Syracuse               Away         TBA            TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (10/3)  LSU vs East Michigan     Home           TBA           TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (10/10) LSU vs South Carolina    Away           TBA           TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (10/17) LSU vs Florida                   Home         TBA           TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (10/24) LSU vs West Kentucky     Home          TBA           TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (10/31)    BYE WEEK

Sat (11/7)  LSU vs Alabama                  Away           TBA         TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (11/14)  LSU vs Arkansas               Home           TBA         TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (11/21)  LSU vs Ole Miss                 Away           TBA         TBA/98.1 FM

Sat (11/28)  LSU vs Texas A&M            Home           TBA         TBA/98.1 FM

SEC Championship Game            Atlanta       2:00 pm CST    CBS/98.1 FM 

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    *    *    *    LSU SPORTS ARTICLE    *    *    *

Today I posted an article from Tiger Sports Digest which indicates that the LSU football team and coaches have selected their Team Captains for the 2015 season.  

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LSU SELECTS TEAM CAPTAINS FOR 2015 SEASON

By Hunter Paniaagua – Tiger Sports Digest – Sept 1, 2015

Les Miles announced Monday the six LSU team captains for the 2015 season.

They areJerald Hawkins and Vadal Alexander on offenseTre’Davious White and Kendell Beckwith on defense; and Jamie Keehn and Reid Ferguson on special teams.

Both Hawkins and Alexander decided against leaving for the NFL early. They return for the 2015 season as the starters at the two tackle spots, Hawkins on the left and Alexander on the right.

Hawkins has started 26 consecutive games since 2013, when as a redshirt freshman he became LSU’s starting right tackle. He spent the last two seasons there before making the switch to left tackle in the spring. Hawkins had 43 knockdowns last season and played every offensive snap in each of LSU’s last five games.

Alexander entered the starting lineup early in his freshman season. He’s maintained that spot ever since, playing both right tackle and left guard. He played tackle as a freshman before spending the last two years at guard. He’s now back at right tackle for his final season at LSU.

White was chosen to wear LSU’s No. 18 jersey this season, the number given to the player that best represents LSU both on and off the field. He’s entering his third season as one of LSU’s starting cornerbacks. He is also LSU’s No. 1 punt returner and brought one back for a touchdown last season.

In his career, he has 88 tackles, four interceptions and 13 pass breakups.

Beckwith took over as LSU’s starting middle linebacker in the seventh week of last season. He played a key part in turning around an LSU defense that finished atop the SEC. He has 88 career tackles to go with 8.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks.

Keehn averaged 44.9 yards-per-punt in 2014 and set a school record in total punting yards with 3,189. His 43.4-yard career average ranks third in LSU history.

Ferguson has been LSU’s starting long snapper through all three of his previous seasons with LSU. He’s taken part in 372 total snaps and has only missed one, which happened in his first collegiate game back in 2012.

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LSU’S 2016 FOOTBALL COMMITMENTS:

The Tiger’s 2016 class with 18 commitments is now ranked 2nd in the Nation by BOTH 247 Sports and Rivals!

NOTE:  Eric Monroe from North Shore, Houston has been re-ranked a ‘5 STAR’ player – this gives LSU three (3) ‘5 STAR‘ commits for 2016.

The Tigers received it’s 19th commitment for the 2016 class on August 3, 2015 from Kicker Connor Culp from Phoenix, Arizona.  

 LSU’s 2016 Class commitments as of August 4, 2015 (19 total):

- Saivion Smith (5 STAR) – CB, 6’1”, 175,  Bradenton, FL

- Edwin Alexander (5 STAR) – DT, 6;2”, 310, St. Thomas Aquinas, NO

- Eric Monroe (5 STAR) – S, 6’0”, 180,  North Shore, Houston, TX

- Erick Fowler (4 STAR) – LB, 6’1”, 232,  Manor, TX

- Andre Anthony (4 STAR) – DE, 6’3”, 225,  Edna Karr, NO

- Clifford Chattman (4 STAR) – LB, 6’5”, 190,  McDonough, NO

- Jamal Pettigrew (4 STAR) – TE, 6’5″, 225,  St Augustine, NO

- Cam Lewis (4 STAR) – S, 6’2”, 190, Wossman, LA

- Feleipe Franks (4 STAR) - QB, 6′ 5″, 205, Crawfordville, FL

- Dee Anderson (4 STAR) – WR, 6’4”, 176, Mesquite, Texas

- Andraez Williams (4 STAR) – CB, 6’2”, 166, Calvary Baptist, LA

- Glen Logan (4 STAR) – DT, 6’4”, 300, Destrehan, LA

Connor Culp (3 STAR) – K, 5’10”, 180, Phoenix, Arizona

- Da’Monte Coxie (3 STAR) – WR, 6’3″, 180, East St John, LA

- Rahssan Thorton (3 STAR) – LB, 6’3”, 215, Killeen, TX

- Donavaughn Campbell (3 STAR) – OL, 6’6″, 340, Ponchatoula, LA 

- Caleb Roddy (3 STAR) – DE, 6’5”, 241, Denham Springs, LA

- Jakary Savage (3 STAR) – OL, 6’6”, 300, Bay Minette, AL

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HERE ARE THE TOP 10 SCHOOLS IN RANKING:

 The Chase for the Recruiting Champion powered by 247Sports Composite
Team Total 5 4 3   Avg
1 Ohio StateOhio State 19 1 14 4 92.20 275.83
2 LSULSU 19 3 10 6 91.57 273.55
3 Florida StateFlorida State 18 1 11 5 90.79 259.21
4 AlabamaAlabama 18 0 10 8 89.94 245.80
5
2
Ole MissOle Miss 19 1 7 11 89.64 242.98
6 Penn StatePenn State 18 0 9 9 89.41 240.40
7
2
MichiganMichigan 22 0 9 13 87.44 234.66
8
2
GeorgiaGeorgia 15 2 4 9 90.51 233.32
9
-4
USCUSC 15 1 10 4 90.61 232.77
10
-2
MiamiMiami 21 0 9 12 87.89 231.90

NOTES:  The ‘Total‘ column indicates the number of commitments.  The 5, 4, 3 columns represent 5 Star, 4 Star and 3 Star ratings for commits. 

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* NEW CHANGES TO ETHANOL FREE GAS LIST *

 We removed TWO ethanol FREE location in Louisiana recently:

Dalton’s Grocery, 12198 LA Hwy 165S, Glenmora, LA (Rapides Parish) – caught selling ethanol gas WITHOUT pump labels. Thanks to Mr. Miller for the info.

United Food Store, 3500 Airline Hwy, Metairie, LA – store closed and for sale.
Thanks for Mr. Williams for letting me know.

We added FIVE new ethanol FREE location in Louisiana recently:

Tensas One Stop, 1106 Plank Road, Saint Joseph, LA (Tensas Parish) – 318-766-4325.  Thanks to Mr. Roberts for the info!

MandeBay Car Wash & Gas Station, 2595 Florida St, Mandeville (St Tammany Parish) – 985-778-0820. Thanks to Mr. McCormick for the info!

Steven Dupuis Oil Bulk Plant, 114 Cason Road, Broussard, Lafayette Parish, 337-445-3188 – Thanks to Mr. Dupuis for letting me know!

Lee’s Hardware, 3525 N. University Ave, Lafayette, Lafayette Parish, 337-896-4186 – Thanks for Mr. Guilbeau for letting me know. 

James Truck Center, 221 Taylor Road, DeRidder, Beauregard Parish, 337-462-8884 – Thanks to the Store owner for letting me know.

NOTEIf any reader locates a store that is selling ethanol FREE gas but is not on our list, PLEASE send me the information asked for on the “Ethanol Facts” page so we can add it to the list!

We encourage all readers to patronize retailers who sell ethanol FREE gas.  If they are not profitable selling EO, they may convert to sell ethanol gas and stores with EO will become harder and harder to find.                                             ——————————————————————————————————- 

Have a GREAT week readers!  

“Pete”        

LOSING GROUND: SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA IS DISAPPEARING, QUICKLY

LOSING GROUND: SOUTHEAST LOUISIANA IS DISAPPEARING, QUICKLY

By Bob Marshall/The Lens and ProPublica – Scientific America – August 28, 2014

A football field–sized area of land is being washed away every hour, and lawsuits are being filed to hold oil and gas companies responsible for the destruction

In just 80 years, some 2,000 square miles of its coastal landscape have turned to open water, wiping places off maps, bringing the Gulf of Mexico to the back door of New Orleans and posing a lethal threat to an energy and shipping corridor vital to the nation’s economy.

At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater.

At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater.

And it’s going to get worse, even quicker.

Scientists now say one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in the nation’s history is rushing toward a catastrophic conclusion over the next 50 years, so far unabated and largely unnoticed.

At the current rates that the sea is rising and land is sinking, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists say by 2100 the Gulf of Mexico could rise as much as 4.3 feet across this landscape, which has an average elevation of about 3 feet. If that happens, everything outside the protective levees — most of Southeast Louisiana — would be underwater.

The effects would be felt far beyond bayou country. The region best known for its self-proclaimed motto “laissez les bons temps rouler” — let the good times roll — is one of the nation’s economic linchpins.

This land being swallowed by the Gulf is home to half of the country’s oil refineries, a matrix of pipelines that serve 90 percent of the nation’s offshore energy production and 30 percent of its total oil and gas supply, a port vital to 31 states, and 2 million people who would need to find other places to live.

The landscape on which all that is built is washing away at a rate of a football field every hour, 16 square miles per year.

For years, most residents didn’t notice because they live inside the levees and seldom travel into the wetlands. But even those who work or play in the marshes were misled for decades by the gradual changes in the landscape. A point of land eroding here, a bayou widening there, a spoil levee sinking a foot over 10 years. In an ecosystem covering thousands of square miles, those losses seemed insignificant. There always seemed to be so much left.

Now locals are trying to deal with the shock of losing places they had known all their lives — fishing camps, cypress swamps, beachfronts, even cattle pastures and backyards — with more disappearing every day.

Fishing guide Ryan Lambert is one of them. When he started fishing the wetlands out of Buras 34 years ago, he had to travel through six miles of healthy marshes, swamps and small bays to reach the Gulf of Mexico.

“Now it’s all open water,” Lambert said. “You can stand on the dock and see the Gulf.”

Two years ago, NOAA removed 31 bays and other features from the Buras charts. Some had been named by French explorers in the 1700s.

The people who knew this land when it was rich with wildlife and dotted with Spanish- and French-speaking villages are getting old. They say their grandchildren don’t understand what has been lost.

“I see what was,” said Lloyd “Wimpy” Serigne, who grew up in the fishing and trapping village of Delacroix, 20 miles southeast of New Orleans. It was once home to 700 people; now there are fewer than 15 permanent residents. “People today — like my nephew, he’s pretty young — he sees what is.”

If this trend is not reversed, a wetlands ecosystem that took nature 7,000 years to build will be destroyed in a human lifetime.

The story of how that happened is a tale of levees, oil wells and canals leading to destruction on a scale almost too big to comprehend — and perhaps too late to rebuild. It includes chapters on ignorance, unintended consequences and disregard for scientific warnings. It’s a story that is still unfolding.

Speck by speck, land built over centuries
The coastal landscape Europeans found when they arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi River 500 years ago was the Amazon of North America, a wetlands ecosystem of more than 6,000 square miles built by one of the largest rivers in the world.

For thousands of years, runoff from the vast stretch of the continent between the Rockies and the Appalachians had flowed into the Mississippi valley. Melt water from retreating glaciers, seasonal snowfall and rain carried topsoil and sand from as far away as the Canadian prairies. The river swelled as it rushed southward on the continent’s downward slope, toward the depression in the planet that would become known as the Gulf of Mexico.

Down on the flat coastal plain, the giant river slowed. It lost the power to carry those countless tons of sediment, which drifted to the bottom. Over thousands of years, this rain of fine particles gradually built land that would rise above the Gulf.

It wasn’t just the main stem of the Mississippi doing this work. When the river reached the coastal plain, side channels — smaller rivers and bayous — peeled off. They were called “distributaries,” for the job they did spreading that land-building sediment ever farther afield.

The delta had two other means of staying above the Gulf. The plants and trees growing in its marshes and swamps shed tons of dead parts each year, adding to the soil base. Meanwhile, storms and high tides carried sediment that had been deposited offshore back into the wetlands.

As long as all this could continue unobstructed, the delta continued to expand. But with any interruption, such as a prolonged drought, the new land began to sink.

That’s because the sheer weight of hundreds of feet of moist soil is always pushing downward against the bedrock below. Like a sponge pressed against a countertop, the soil compresses as the moisture is squeezed out. Without new layers of sediment, the delta eventually sinks below sea level.

The best evidence of this dependable rhythm of land building and sinking over seven millennia is underground. Geologists estimate that the deposits were at least 400 feet deep at the mouth of the Mississippi when those first Europeans arrived.

By the time New Orleans was founded in 1718, the main channel of the river was the beating heart of a system pumping sediment and nutrients through a vast circulatory network that stretched from present-day Baton Rouge south to Grand Isle, west to Texas and east to Mississippi. As late as 1900, new land was pushing out into the Gulf of Mexico.

A scant 70 years later, that huge, vibrant wetlands ecosystem would be at death’s door. The exquisite natural plumbing that made it all possible had been dismantled, piece by piece, to protect coastal communities and extract oil and gas.

Engineering the river
For communities along its banks, the Mississippi River has always been an indispensable asset and their gravest threat. The river connected their economies to the rest of the world, but its spring floods periodically breached locally built levees, quickly washing away years of profits and scores of lives. Some towns were so dependent on the river, they simply got used to rebuilding.

That all changed with the Great Flood of 1927.

Swollen by months of record rainfall across the watershed, the Mississippi broke through levees in 145 places, flooding the midsection of the country from Illinois to New Orleans. Some 27,000 square miles went under as much as 30 feet of water, destroying 130,000 homes, leaving 600,000 people homeless and killing 500.

Stunned by what was then the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1928, which ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent such a flood from ever happening again. By the mid-1930s, the corps had done its job, putting the river in a straitjacket of levees.

But the project that made the river safe for the communities along the river would eventually squeeze the life out of the delta. The mud walls along the river sealed it off from the landscape sustained by its sediment. Without it, the sinking of land that only occurred during dry cycles would start, and never stop.

If that were all we had done to the delta, scientists have said, the wetlands that existed in the 1930s could largely be intact today. The natural pace of sinking — scientists call it subsidence — would have been mere millimeters per year.

But we didn’t stop there. Just as those levees were built, a nascent oil and gas industry discovered plentiful reserves below the delta’s marshes, swamps and ridges.

At the time, wetlands were widely considered worthless — places that produced only mosquitoes, snakes and alligators. The marsh was a wilderness where few people could live, or even wanted to.

There were no laws protecting wetlands. Besides, more than 80 percent of this land was in the hands of private landowners who were happy to earn a fortune from worthless property.

Free to choose the cheapest, most direct way to reach drilling sites, oil companies dredged canals off natural waterways to transport rigs and work crews. The canals averaged 13 to 16 feet deep and 140 to 150 feet wide — far larger than natural, twisting waterways.

Effects of canals ripple across the wetlands
Eventually, some 50,000 wells were permitted in the coastal zone. The state estimates that roughly 10,000 miles of canals were dredged to service them, although that only accounts for those covered by permitting systems. The state began to require some permits in the 1950s, but rigorous accounting didn’t begin until the Clean Water Act brought federal agencies into play in 1972.

Researchers say the total number of miles dredged will never be known because many of those areas are now underwater. Gene Turner, a Louisiana State University professor who has spent years researching the impacts of the canals, said 10,000 miles “would be a conservative estimate.”

Companies drilled and dredged all over the coast, perhaps nowhere more quickly than the area near Lafitte, which became known as the Texaco Canals.

This fishing village 15 miles south of New Orleans had been named for the pirate who used these bayous to ferry contraband to the city. For years, the seafood, waterfowl and furbearers in the surrounding wetlands sustained the community. As New Orleans grew, Lafitte also became a favorite destination for weekend hunters and anglers.

Today those scenes are only a memory.

“Once the oil companies come in and started dredging all the canals, everything just started falling apart,” said Joseph Bourgeois, 84, who grew up and still lives in the area.

From 1930 to 1990, as much as 16 percent of the wetlands was turned to open water as those canals were dredged. But as the U.S. Department of the Interior and many others have reported, the indirect damages far exceeded that:

· Saltwater creeped in
Canal systems leading to the Gulf allowed saltwater into the heart of freshwater marshes and swamps, killing plants and trees whose roots held the soils together. As a side effect, the annual supply of plant detritus — one way a delta disconnected from its river can maintain its elevation — was seriously reduced.

· Shorelines crumbled

Without fresh sediment and dead plants, shorelines began to collapse, increasing the size of existing water bodies. Wind gained strength over ever-larger sections of open water, adding to land loss. Fishers and other boaters used canals as shortcuts across the wetlands; their wakes also sped shoreline erosion. In some areas, canals grew twice as wide within five years.

· Spoil levees buried and trapped wetlands
When companies dredged canals, they dumped the soil they removed alongside, creating “spoil levees” that could rise higher than 10 feet and twice as wide.

The weight of the spoil on the soft, moist delta caused the adjacent marshes to sink. In locations of intense dredging, spoil levees impounded acres of wetlands. The levees also impeded the flow of water — and sediments — over wetlands during storm tides.

If there were 10,000 miles of canals, there were 20,000 miles of levees. Researchers estimate that canals and levees eliminated or covered 8 million acres of wetlands.

All this disrupted the delta’s natural hydrology — its circulatory system — and led to the drowning of vast areas. Researchers have shown that land has sunk and wetlands have disappeared the most in areas where canals were concentrated.

In the 1970s, up to 50 square miles of wetlands were disappearing each year in the areas with heaviest oil and gas drilling and dredging, bringing the Gulf within sight of many communities.

As the water expanded, people lived and worked on narrower and narrower slivers of land.

“There’s places where I had cattle pens, and built those pens … with a tractor that weighed 5,000 or 6,000 pounds,” said Earl Armstrong, a cattle rancher who grew on the river nine miles south of the nearest road. “Right now we run through there with airboats.”

There are other forces at work, including a series of geologic faults in the delta and the rock layers beneath, but a U.S. Department of Interior report says oil and gas canals are ultimately responsible for 30 to 59 percent of coastal land loss. In some areas of Barataria Bay, said Turner at LSU, it’s close to 90 percent.

Even more damage was to come as the oil and gas industry shifted offshore in the late 1930s, eventually planting about 7,000 wells in the Gulf. To carry that harvest to onshore refineries, companies needed more underwater pipelines. So they dug wider, deeper waterways to accommodate the large ships that served offshore platforms.

Congress authorized the Corps of Engineers to dredge about 550 miles of navigation channels through the wetlands. The Department of Interior has estimated that those canals, averaging 12 to 15 feet deep and 150 to 500 feet wide, resulted in the loss of an additional 369,000 acres of coastal land.

Researchers eventually would show that the damage wasn’t due to surface activities alone. When all that oil and gas was removed from below some areas, the layers of earth far below compacted and sank. Studies have shown that coastal subsidence has been highest in some areas with the highest rates of extraction.

Push to hold industry accountable
The oil and gas industry, one of the state’s most powerful political forces, has acknowledged some role in the damages, but so far has defeated efforts to force companies to pay for it.

The most aggressive effort to hold the industry accountable is now underway. In July 2013, the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which maintains levees around New Orleans, filed suit against more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies.

The lawsuit claims that the industry, by transforming so much of the wetlands to open water, has increased the size of storm surges. It argues this is making it harder to protect the New Orleans area against flooding and will force the levee authority to build bigger levees and floodwalls.

The lawsuit also claims that the companies did not return the work areas to their original condition, as required by state permits.

“The oil and gas industry has complied with each permit required by the State of Louisiana and the Corps of Engineers since the permits became law,” said Ragan Dickens, spokesman for the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association.

State leaders immediately rose to the industry’s defense. Much of the public debate has not been about the merits of the suit; instead, opponents contested the authority’s legal right to file the suit and its contingency fee arrangement with a private law firm.

“We’re not going to allow a single levee board that has been hijacked by a group of trial lawyers to determine flood protection, coastal restoration and economic repercussions for the entire State of Louisiana,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal in a news release demanding that the levee authority withdraw its suit.

“A better approach,” he said in the statement, “to helping restore Louisiana’s coast includes holding the Army Corps of Engineers accountable, pushing for more offshore revenue sharing and holding BP accountable for the damage their spill is doing to our coast.”

The industry’s political clout reflects its outsized role in the economy of one of the nation’s poorest states. The industry directly employs 63,000 people in the state, according to the federal Department of Labor.

Many of those employees live in the coastal parishes that have suffered most from oil and gas activities and face the most severe consequences from the resulting land loss.

Legislators in those areas helped Jindal pass a law that retroactively sought to remove the levee authority’s standing to file the suit. The constitutionality of that law is now before a federal judge.

Consequences now clear
Even as politicians fought the lawsuit, it was hard to deny what was happening on the ground.

By 2000, coastal roads that had flooded only during major hurricanes were going underwater when high tides coincided with strong southerly winds. Islands and beaches that had been landmarks for lifetimes were gone, lakes had turned into bays, and bays had eaten through their borders to join the Gulf.

“It happened so fast, I could actually see the difference day to day, month to month,” said Lambert, the fishing guide in Buras.

Today, in some basins around New Orleans, land is sinking an inch every 30 months. At this pace, by the end of the century this land will sink almost 3 feet in an area that’s barely above sea level today.

Meanwhile, global warming is causing seas to rise worldwide. Coastal landscapes everywhere are now facing a serious threat, but none more so than Southeast Louisiana.

The federal government projects that seas along the U.S. coastline will rise 1.5 to 4.5 feet by 2100. Southeast Louisiana would see “at least” 4 to 5 feet, said NOAA scientist Tim Osborn.

The difference: This sediment-starved delta is sinking at one of the fastest rates of any large coastal landscape on the planet at the same time the oceans are rising.

Maps used by researchers to illustrate what the state will look like in 2100 under current projections show the bottom of Louisiana’s “boot” outline largely gone, replaced by a coast running practically straight east to west, starting just south of Baton Rouge. The southeast corner of the state is represented only by two fingers of land – the areas along the Mississippi River and Bayou Lafourche that currently are protected by levees.

Finally, a plan to rebuild — but not enough money
Similar predictions had been made for years. But Hurricane Katrina finally galvanized the state Legislature, which pushed through a far-reaching coastal restoration plan in 2007.

The 50-year, $50 billion Master Plan for the Coast (in 2012 dollars) includes projects to build levees, pump sediment into sinking areas, and build massive diversions on the river to reconnect it with the dying delta.

The state’s computer projections show that by 2060 — if projects are completed on schedule — more land could be built annually than is lost to the Gulf.

But there are three large caveats.

· The state is still searching for the full $50 billion. Congress so far has been unwilling to help.

· If the plan is to work, sea-level rise can’t be as bad as the worst-case scenario.

· Building controlled sediment diversions on the river, a key part of the land-building strategy, has never been done before. The predictions, then, are largely hypothetical, although advocates say the concept is being proven by an uncontrolled diversion at West Bay, near the mouth of the river.

Some of the money will come from an increased share of offshore oil and gas royalties, but many coastal advocates say the industry should pay a larger share.

In fact, leaders of the regional levee authority have said the purpose of the lawsuit was to make the industry pay for the rebuilding plan, suggesting that state could trade immunity from future suits for bankrolling it.

That idea is gaining momentum in official circles, despite the industry’s latest win in the state Legislature.

Kyle Graham, executive director of the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, said recently that the industry understands its liability for the crumbling coast and is discussing some kind of settlement. “It’s very difficult to see a future in which that [such an agreement] isn’t there,” he said he said.

Graham has said current funding sources could keep the restoration plan on schedule only through 2019. He was blunt when talking about what would happen if more money doesn’t come through: There will be a smaller coast.

“There are various sizes of a sustainable coastal Louisiana,” he said. “And that could depend on how much our people are willing to put up for that.”

A vanishing culture
Trying to keep pace with the vanishing pieces of southeast Louisiana today is like chasing the sunset; it’s a race that never ends.

Lambert said when he’s leading fishing trips, he finds himself explaining to visitors what he means when he says, “This used to be Bay Pomme d’Or” and the growing list of other spots now only on maps.

Signs of the impending death of this delta are there to see for any visitor.

Falling tides carry patches of marsh grass that have fallen from the ever-crumbling shorelines.

Pelicans circle in confusion over nesting islands that have washed away since last spring.

Pilings that held weekend camps surrounded by thick marshes a decade ago stand in open water, hundreds of yards from the nearest land — mute testimony to a vanishing culture.

Shrimpers push their wing nets in lagoons that were land five years ago.

The bare trunks of long-dead oaks rise from the marsh, tombstones marking the drowning of high ridges that were built back when the river pumped life-giving sediment through its delta.

“If you’re a young person you think this is what it’s supposed to look like,” Lambert said. “Then when you’re old enough to know, it’s too late.”

BOATUS SURVEY SHOWS BOATERS SEEK OUT NON-ETHANOL FUEL

BOATUS SURVEY SHOWS BOATERS SEEK OUT NON-ETHANOL FUEL

By Trade Only Today – Sept 2, 2015

 

Many boaters want ethanol-free gas in their boats, but not all of them can find it, a recent BoatUS survey shows.

Many boaters want ethanol-free gas in their boats, but not all of them can find it, a recent BoatUS survey shows.

As boaters head into the Labor Day weekend and fill their boat’s gas tank before wrapping up the season, a majority say they want ethanol-free gas, but only about half of those in a BoatUS survey say it is available at marinas and gas stations they visit.

This means boaters are filling up with gasoline that is 10 percent ethanol, or E10 fuel. Although the federal government says this fuel is safe for boats — and is even looking to require higher use of corn-based ethanol fuel at gas retailers across the country — boaters are wary.

A recent informal survey sent to BoatUS members reveals recreational boaters’ frustrations with E10 fuel.

Ninety-one percent of respondents said they want ethanol-free gas for their boat and more than half have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts because of suspected ethanol damage. The average price tag for those with damage: $1,000.

“Our members said that they fill up their boat(s) in a combination of ways, with about half of them using a fuel dock, about 40 percent filling up at a gas station and 35 percent using portable gas cans,” BoatUS government affairs senior program manager David Kennedy said in a statement.

“We need to make sure that no matter how they get their gas, boaters have a fuel that works in their marine engine. And if we don’t fix the federal mandate known as the Renewable Fuel Standard that aims to increase the volume of corn ethanol into the nation’s gas supply, there will be higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, in gas pumps, increasing the chances of misfueling with the possibility of more extensive engine damage continuing to rise.”

Signed into law in 2005, the RFS requires that an increasing amount of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, be blended into the gasoline supply. When it was written, the RFS assumed that gasoline use in the United States would continue to grow.

Since 2005, however, gasoline use has declined steadily, and that forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas. To keep up with the RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA allowed E15 into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited for use in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, lawnmowers and any vehicle made before 2001, it can now be found in 24 states.

BoatUS encourages boaters and others who have small-engine equipment to ask their congressman to amend the RFS to ensure that the future gasoline supply works for all engines. Click here to take action.

PLANTERS COOPERATIVE SELLS RARE ETHANOL-FREE GAS

PLANTERS COOPERATIVE SELLS RARE ETHANOL-FREE GAS

By Jane Caffrey – KRISTV.com – Sept 1, 2015

Odem - Planters Cooperative is selling ethanol-free gas, despite a local shortage caused by a production problem at Flint Hills Resources that has left tanks of the clear gas elsewhere in the city dry. 

The Odem gas station used to get its supply through Flint Hills, but they are now bringing it in through partnerships around the state. 

“There have been some problems with supply in Corpus, and our customers have pretty much demanded that we figure out a way to get it back into pumps,” General Manager Brian McCuistion said. 

Most modern cars use regular E-10 gas, with 10 percent ethanol. However ethanol can corrode equipment and watercraft, creating the demand for the pure gas. 

“I’m glad they have fuel for us,” said Charlie Hardeman, a property manager who works with various equipment. “If not I don’t know, we wouldn’t have gas to use.”

His partner Kris Kirkland is also grateful for the local supply.

“All of our equipment runs a lot better off of non-ethanol fuel than it does with ethanol in it,” Kirkland said.

McCuistion told KRIS 6 News people travel from miles away to buy the ethanol-free gas, which sells at $2.49 per gallon. 

“We’ve had people down from the Rio Grande Valley all the way up to as far north as Palacios, Port Lavaca come buy fuel from us,” he said. “We had one particular pickup that came in. He had 12 to 15 five gallon cans in the back of the truck.”

McCuistion says he plans to sell ethanol-free gas at Planters Cooperative indefinitely.

“We’ve had a flood of phone calls coming in from customers all over this area asking if it’s available,” he said. “We’ve told them yes, we do have it.”

Flint Hills Resources tells KRIS 6 News the plant is still evaluating their options and deciding whether to continue producing ethanol-free gas, which makes up less than 0.1 percent of their business. 

MORE RFS REFORM, LESS PANDERING

MORE RFS REFORM, LESS PANDERING

By Smarter Fuel Future – August 28, 2015

It’s like clockwork. Every four years, a new presidential election cycle ramps up and each time, no matter who is running, Iowa becomes the centerpiece of political discussion.

Why? Because Iowa is the first state to caucus, residents of this state possess disproportionate power over the candidates. That power cannot be overstated—historically, whoever wins over Iowa gains crucial momentum for the rest of their presidential campaign.

In a state where corn dominates the local economy, agricultural issues remain at the heart of residents’ political decision-making, particularly during election season. They are looking for the candidates to express their support for policies that build upon their existing success and enhance their livelihoods. This includes government mandates like the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which generates billions of dollars of added revenue for the state, as 47 percent of Iowa’s corn crop is dedicated to ethanol production. However, the RFS comes at the expense of the rest of the population outside of Iowa.

A presidential candidate’s stance on the RFS could make or break their campaign in the state, and with so many politicians vying for attention this year, the stakes are higher than ever. Oftentimes, this pressure encourages candidates to pander to Iowa corn growers early on, even if it contradicts their ideological principles, as has been the case with Republican and Democratic candidates alike.

“The true free-market, limited government position is not supportive of mandates, and that would include the ethanol mandate,” says RFS opponent Liz Mair in a recent interview with MSNBC. “The question is simply, ‘Do we all need to have it blended into our fuel?’”

The answer is no.

Mandated ethanol production may be lucrative for the corn industry, but it comes at a hefty price for the rest of us. With so much land devoted to ethanol production and less dedicated to food, food prices are skyrocketing at the grocery store. So while corn farmers line their pockets, we struggle to make ends meet.

Instead of catering to Iowa’s special interests, our politicians should be concentrating on building policies and programs that benefit the country as a whole. After all, there are 49 other states to impress.

Want to learn more? Get the full story below from MSNBC.

VIDEO:  Ethanol is King in Iowa

VIDEO LINK: http://www.smarterfuelfuture.org/blog/details/more-rfs-reform-less-pandering  (scroll down for video)

The ethanol mandate, also known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), is a policy disaster.

Consider 2014 as just the latest chapter in the decade-long ethanol mandate saga. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed the release of the 2014 mandates three times before ultimately deciding to issue the mandates for 2014, 2015 and 2016 all at once this fall. This isn’t the first time the EPA has missed the deadline for the mandates, and we’re positive it won’t be the last.

From mandating production and consumption of fuel that doesn’t exist, to years of missed deadlines by the EPA, it’s clear that the bandaids aren’t working for this broken policy. Now is the time for Congress to take action and fix these unworkable ethanol mandates once and for all.

DuPONT BETS ON BILLION-DOLLAR ETHANOL INDUSTRY

DuPONT BETS ON BILLION-DOLLAR ETHANOL INDUSTRY

By Karl Baker/The News Journal – Delaware Online – August 28, 2015

Scientists at the DuPont Experimental Station have developed a new fuel that could soon replace ethanol at gas pumps and bring in billions of dollars.

And now, with a patent dispute settled, DuPont and its partner BP can focus on convincing ethanol plants to convert to producing its product, bio-butanol, and take a big share of the more-than-$20 billion U.S. ethanol market.

DuPont and BP have spent 11 years and hundreds of millions of dollars on the project, in which they tinkered with the genes of yeast and created a new oil-producing organism.

The result is a company called Butamax Advanced Biofuels, which owns the bio-butanol-producing yeast patents. The new fuel is filled with 25 percent more energy-per-gallon than ethanol, but unlike its biofuel cousin does not have the potential to harm a engine’s fuel system in a damp environment.

“Eventually, we see biobutanol replacing ethanol in the gasoline market,” said Jan Koninckx, global biofuels director at DuPont. “DuPont and BP’s benefit comes through Butamax.”

But to get it to a gas station, Butamax needs to convince ethanol producers that the higher BTUs of biobutanol would translate into more profits than ethanol provides. Enough that they will invest millions of dollars to convert their plants.

“The basic concept that we’re commercializing is offering ethanol producers the opportunity to become (bio)butanol producers,” said Paul Beckwith, CEO of Butamax.

Biobutanol is produced when the sugars of a plant are fermented in the bowels of yeast. Like its biofuel cousin, the result can be mixed with gasoline, said Beckwith, and satisfies the government-mandated renewable fuel standard.

It “gives you the benefits that ethanol creates, it’s a renewable product,” said Adam Schubert, strategy and regulatory affairs manager at Butamax. “But it does it in a form that works better in cars.”

Beckwith, a former vice president at BP, said his scientists first determined that the idea could make money in 2008, when their miniscule oil producers began to transform plant matter into fuel with little loss of its mostly corn-based raw material, he said.

“The reason DuPont was the right partner for BP was because of that biotechnology capability that sits here in Wilmington,” said Beckwith. “We’re the pioneers of this technology, the process for producing bio-based isobutanol was invented by DuPont.”

That last point, though, has been fiercely contested in recent years.

Since 2011, much of Butamax’s cash has been used to fund a brutal paternity fight, of sorts. Butamax and its rival, Gevo Inc. of Colorado, had been engaged in a patent dispute, with more than 30 cases filed in federal court. Each company accused the other of pilfering the patents of their proprietary genes.

“Gevo and Butamax were bleeding each other dry with their relentless lawsuits,” said Pavel Molchanov, an energy analyst at Raymond James in Houston.

The latest chapter of the fight was set to play out in a Wilmington courtroom, this week, but on Monday, Butamax announced a resolution.

The companies reached a settlement that would allow “both to develop markets for butanol without crossing paths,” said Schubert. He would not disclose whether any sum of money was part of the agreement, but said that the company’s goal of pumping its biofuel into gas stations by the end of 2017 remained intact.

“It is a wise thing for them to work together,” said Molchanov. “This agreement puts an end to the legal fees.”

According to the details of the settlement, Butamax will receive a royalty if Gevo, or a facility that uses its oil-producing organisms, sells bio-butanol for the production of “on-road” gasoline or for chemical applications. Butamax, or Butamax-licensed biofuel producers, will pay Gevo if its bio-butanol is used in jet fuel or marine gasoline.

“We’re happy with the outcome of the settlement,” Schubert said.

DuPont’s Butamax investment comes at a time when it is searching for a home run. After successfully defending itself from activist investor Nelson Peltz’s attempt to join DuPont’s board, the company has been wounded by disappointing earnings and allegations of a poor safety record.

The company’s sales have dropped 11 percent in the second quarter from the same period in 2014. In addition, four of DuPont’s six businesses posted earnings decreases during the quarter.

Jim Butkiewicz, chair of the University of Delaware’s economics department, said the company’s last big hit was its Stainmaster carpet fibers, a product unveiled in 1986.

“It’s been a while since they’ve had a big success story,” he said. “They need to get back to higher value-add products. It would go a long way to diminishing the recent criticism.”

DuPont has traditionally focused on chemicals and fibers, but has recently expanded its presence in the biotechnology market. The shift, however, may not immediately impact the company’s bottom line.

“Any new product development may take a quite a while before you start seeing its effect on earnings,” Butkiweicz said.

In defense of motors

Joe Crowley, of Port Penn, knows engines, in his day job he is an auto mechanic.

Earlier this month, he and his daughter were launching his skiff in his hometown to drop crab pots onto the muddy bottom of Delaware Bay.

His outboard motor chugged and sputtered as he turned the key at the center steering station of his open-topped boat.

“It gums up real easy,” he said. “It didn’t happen before” ethanol came into existence.

 

Joe Crowley starts the engine on his skiff before heading out into Delaware Bay with his daughter. His engine “gums up” more often now with ethanol in his fuel. (Photo: KARL BAKER/THE NEWS JOURNAL)

Joe Crowley starts the engine on his skiff before heading out into Delaware Bay with his daughter. His engine “gums up” more often now with ethanol in his fuel. (Photo: KARL BAKER/THE NEWS JOURNAL)

With the 10 percent ethanol mix in gasoline, his fuel “goes bad” faster than it should, Crowley said. It is best to drain the gas out of the fuel line and the tank, he said, if the engine won’t be run for long periods of time.

In the winter “I got to make sure all of the gas is out of there. I didn’t do that on my RV, and now I got to replace my [fuel] injectors,” he said. “In your car, you use it every day, you burn it right out so it’s gone and you just fill it up once again.”

If biobutanol avoids this problem, Crowley said, he’d be glad to try it out.

After a few more engine revolutions powered by the starter, Crowley’s motor rumbled to life, and he swiftly backed the boat away from the dock and toward the open expanse of Delaware Bay.

Crowley’s assessment is in line with the National Marine Manufacturers Association. In June, that organization published an endorsement of the new fuel after a five-year evaluation of a 16 percent biobutanol-to-gasoline mix in marine engines.

“Biobutanol does not phase separate in the presence of water like ethanol,” the NMMA said in a press release. “An engine won’t run on the ethanol solution, which sinks to the bottom of the tank and is highly corrosive.”

The NMMA is worried that a law mandating that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel be blended with gasoline by 2022, will mean high concentrations of ethanol in gasoline. Biobutanol could supply the necessary liquid fuel for those future standards, the release said.

“It is important to find fuel sources that are not only renewable but also safe for all engines and consumers who may use them.”

Worth the cost of conversion?

Before Butamax or Gevo microbes can supply fuel for the maritime, airplane or vehicle markets, they need to demonstrate that biobutanol can be produced on a large scale, say industry analysts.

“The tech works great with beakers in a laboratory,” said Jerrod Kitts, a biofuel analyst at the Linn Group in Chicago.

Butamax has invested “hundreds of millions” of dollars in the development of biobutanol, since 2004, said Schubert. But millions more are needed to transform the production line of an existing commercial ethanol facility. Butamax has sold a biobutanol license to a plant in Lamberton, Minnesota, Schubert said, and that facility could be the first to convert its operations from ethanol to biobutanol.

But whether Butamax’s commercial origins are in Lamberton or elsewhere, initial success is critical. Butamax can only hope for most ethanol producers to convert their facilities if they see another operating successfully, Schubert said.

“Before someone’s going to buy a license from us and retrofit their own plant, they’re going to want to see the technology at commercial scale first,” he said.

The Minnesota plant has a “theoretical” capacity to produce 44 million gallons of biobutanol, Schubert said, and its conversion would cost “a fraction” of the roughly $110 million price tag to build a similar ethanol plant.

Kitts is skeptical the technology can make fuel in the competitive biofuel market. He points to a similar Gevo-owned plant, also in Minnesota, that has seen less than stellar results.

“They had to shift some of their biobutanol production to ethanol” to remain financially solvent, he said.

The problem, said Kitt, is that biobutanol costs more than ethanol, and oil companies that are creating full blends are reluctant to increase their costs, even if it means more energy will come out of a gallon of fuel.

“It’s a desirable product if they can get the costs down,” he said.

Oil refineries pay about $1.45 per gallon for ethanol today. They would pay 15 percent more for biobutanol, Beckwith said, noting that it packs more energy.

Acquiring the cash to convert future ethanol plants might be a challenge as outside investors are cooling on the technology, said Kitt. That can be disastrous for any new product that has yet to find a steady market. For Gevo, a publicly-traded company, investor apathy would make it challenging to raise money by issuing new stock.

Butamax could be vulnerable too, Molchanov said. BP has divested $10 billion from many of its non-core business operations, including biofuels, during the past year, he said, as its cash flows dropped alongside oil prices.

“The industry is going into a very challenging phase as we reset to a lower price environment,” the company said in its 2014 annual report, published last February.

A barrel of oil sold for less than $40 during the previous week, its lowest price since 2009.

“BP, until the past year, was willing to invest in the development of biofuels,” Molchanov said. Now, “oil companies have to find ways to cut costs.”

From his vantage point, Beckwith said he hasn’t seen any shift in the oil giant’s commitment to bio-butanol.

“BP is still very much committed to Butamax, as far as I know,” he said.

Kitts said that Butamax is certainly on a more solid foothold than Gevo, as it doesn’t have to negotiate the ebb and flow of the equity market, and because they have a Delaware behemoth supporting them.

“Butamax shouldn’t have capital issues” he said, “because it has DuPont behind it.”

When asked whether the recent settlement between the companies could mean an upcoming DuPont purchase of Gevo and its patents, Kitt said that a buyout would make sense. Gevo’s stock price dropped 99 percent since a peak in 2011.

The details of the settlement, Kitt said “create two pieces that fit together well.”

 

BESC CREATES MICROBE THAT BOLSTERS ISOBUTANOL PRODUCTION

BESC CREATES MICROBE THAT BOLSTERS ISOBUTANOL PRODUCTION

By Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Ethanol Producer Magazine – August 17, 2015
Beth Papanek, working with nutrients for bacterial growth, and Adam Guss are among the ORNL authors of a paper published in Metabolic Engineering.

Beth Papanek, working with nutrients for bacterial growth, and Adam Guss are among the ORNL authors of a paper published in Metabolic Engineering.

Another barrier to commercially viable biofuels from sources other than corn has fallen with the engineering of a microbe that improves isobutanol yields by a factor of 10.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Another barrier to commercially viable biofuels from sources other than corn has fallen with the engineering of a microbe that improves isobutanol yields by a factor of 10.

The finding of the U.S. Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Science Center, published in the journal Metabolic Engineering, builds on results from 2011 in which researchers reported on the first genetically engineered microbe to produce isobutanol directly from cellulose.

Isobutanol is attractive because its energy density and octane values are much closer. 

The finding of the U.S. Department of Energy’s BioEnergy Science Center, published in the journal Metabolic Engineering, builds on results from 2011 in which researchers reported on the first genetically engineered microbe to produce isobutanol directly from cellulose.

Isobutanol is attractive because its energy density and octane values are much closer to gasoline and it is useful not only as a direct replacement for gasoline but also as a chemical feedstock for a variety of products. For example, isobutanol can be chemically upgraded into a hydrocarbon equivalent for jet fuel.

While the earlier work by BESC researchers at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of California at Los Angeles was important from a proof-of-principle perspective, this new result represents a significant gain.

“When we reported our initial finding four years ago, we were using Clostridium celluloyticium, which is a less complex organism from a metabolic engineering perspective,” said co-author James Liao of UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science. “With this paper, we have successfully engineered similar traits in the much higher yielding Clostridium thermocellum, and that has taken us to new levels of consolidated bioprocessing efficiency.”

Consolidated bioprocessing refers to the bundling of several processes in a single microbe that can be used to extract sugar from a plant’s cellulose and convert those sugars into a biofuel. This approach can be used to combine several steps—pretreatment, enzyme treatment and fermentation—to produce biofuel at a lower cost. The process also helps overcome the challenges of recalcitrance, or a plant’s natural defenses to being chemically dismantled. Recalcitrance is one of the primary economic barriers to using lignocellulosic biomass such as corn stover and switchgrass as a feedstock for biofuels.

While the previous genetically engineered microbe achieved conversion results of 0.6 gram of isobutanol per liter, Clostridium thermocellum has produced 5 to 6 grams per liter. Researchers accomplished this by inserting five genes into the microbe, enabling it to synthesize isobutanol. Scientists view this as a clear next-generation advance over strategies that use yeast to create biofuels from cellulose.

“In addition to this development, which moves the BESC team closer to the production goal of more than 20 grams per liter, the prospects of commercial realization of this approach are greatly enabled by the fact that the microbe works at temperatures high enough to keep competing bugs from contaminating the microbial fermentation tanks and interfering with the conversion process,” said Paul Gilna, director of BESC.

Authors note that microbial engineering challenges remain, but they are encouraged by this finding. Other authors of the paper, titled “Consolidated bioprocessing of cellulose to isobutanol using Clostridium thermocellum,” are Beth Papanek, Lauren Riley and Adam Guss of ORNL and Paul Lin, Lou Mi, Amy Morioka, Kouki Yoshino, Sawako Konishi and Sharon Xu of UCLA. The paper is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1096717615000804

OIL PLUNGE HAS GONE TOO FAR, MORGAN STANLEY SAYS

OIL PLUNGE HAS GONE TOO FAR, MORGAN STANLEY SAYS

By Fuel Fix/Bloomberg – August 25, 2015

BP Pic - Lost $6.3 billion

BP Lost $6.3 billion This Year

The global oil market is healthier than it looks, signaling that crude’s plunge to six-year lows has probably gone too far.

While futures tumbled below $45 a barrel in London for the first time since 2009, Morgan Stanley and Standard Chartered Plc say other measures suggest physical markets for crude have stabilized or even strengthened in recent weeks. China, the world’s second-biggest oil consumer, will keep buying extra barrels to fill its strategic reserve this year, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“While oil fundamentals aren’t strong, physical markets do not corroborate the substantial weakness in flat price,” New York-based Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Longson said in a report Monday. The “latest oil pricing pressure appears more financial than physical.”

A measure of returns from commodities sank to its lowest since 1999 Monday on concern that a slowing economy in China, the world’s largest consumer of energy and raw materials, will exacerbate supply gluts. Brent crude, the international benchmark, has dropped more than 30 percent since May on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London. Prices rebounded 3.1 percent to $43.98 a barrel at 11:10 a.m. in London.

Financial Flows

The stabilization of the price gap between monthly crude contracts and changes in the relationships between regional benchmarks suggests financial flows are behind the renewed slump, rather than a change in the physical oil market, Morgan Stanley said.

“This is very, very macro driven” with the focus on the outlook for China’s economy, said Paul Horsnell, head of commodities research at Standard Chartered in London. “It’s not based on any kind of oil supply-demand fundamentals.”

The gap between the price of the first-month Brent contract, October, and futures for settlement 12 months forward hasn’t widened enough over the past few weeks to suggest the world is running out of space to store crude, according to Longson. The spread was more than $11 a barrel in January, compared with about $6 on Tuesday, ICE data show. This suggests the supply surplus is smaller today than it was at the start of the year, said Horsnell.

The spread between Brent and Dubai, the grade used as Asia’s regional crude benchmark, is at its narrowest for this time of year in several years, according to Morgan Stanley. This signals continued strength in demand from Asia for Middle Eastern crude, Longson said. Prices for West African crude grades relative to Brent have strengthened in recent weeks, he said.

Chinese Demand

“Despite poor headline macro data, most China oil demand data points remain resilient,” Longson said. The nation’s apparent demand for gasoline rose 17 percent last month, the highest growth rate all year, he said.

The filling of emergency crude reserves in China “gives the market a lifeline” that distinguishes the current situation from the Asian crash of 1998, Jeff Currie, head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television Aug. 21. Brent crude dropped to as low as $9.55 a barrel in December 1998, according to ICE data.

China will add crude to two additional sites with a combined capacity of 50 million barrels in the second half, according to the International Energy Agency. The nation bought more than500,000 barrels a day of oil that was surplus to its daily requirements between January and July, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. China National United Oil Co., the trading unit of the nation’s biggest energy company, is on course for its largest-ever haul of Middle Eastern crude purchases in Singapore.

“The irony is if you just take the oil market data on China, it’s good — it’s really, really good,” said Horsnell. “If we were running it purely by the micro data, people would be saying: ‘Hey, this isn’t too bad’.”

Another weight lifted from the oil market is the conclusion of Mexico’s annual hedging program, Morgan Stanley’s Longson said. The Latin American producer locked in 2016 prices for 212 million barrels, its Finance Ministry said on Aug. 20. The biggest hedge undertaken by any national government, the program was an “under-appreciated negative” for prices and its completion “removes a bearish overhang for oil,” he said.

EPA MORE ENEMY THAN ALLY TO ETHANOL

EPA MORE ENEMY THAN ALLY TO ETHANOL

By Mike Bryan – Ethanol Producer Magazine – August 20, 2015

Most of us find it strange and frustrating that we are continually at loggerheads with the U.S. EPA over a variety of issues pertaining to the use of higher blends of ethanol and the continuation of the renewable fuels standard (RFS). But it should not come as any surprise, because when we look at the relationship between the EPA and ethanol, there is a long history of antagonism and sometimes outward hostility by the EPA toward ethanol.

There probably has not been a liquid fuel that has endured more testing by the EPA than ethanol. There have been no automotive fuels, that I am aware of that have had as many stumbling blocks put in front of them by the EPA as ethanol.

Look at the history—evaporative emissions, permeation, NOx emissions, formaldehyde, land use, fuel economy testing, pump labeling—the list is almost endless. Most, if not all, of these were issues generated by the EPA with oil industry prodding. As a result, many of these draconian policies and ideas were adopted on a state level, with California being the most prominent. 

Some would argue that the oil industry was forced to reduce emissions as well, with the most significant being octane enhancers like benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX). While that was, in fact, the case, ethanol provided an easy answer. It boosted the octane and replaced large amounts of BTX in gasoline with a clean, domestically produced, renewable energy. The oil industry over the years has essentially had a free ride, thanks to the EPA and federal and state governments. 

Even today, the tax incentive for ethanol was stripped away, but remains in place for an industry that extracts hundreds of billions of dollars in profit every year from the American consumer. The oil industry has not substantially changed its methods of production in the past hundred years. I guess the EPA has simply grandfathered in their right to pollute.

The truth be known, the auto industry has done far more to reduce pollution than the oil industry has ever had to do. Tighter restrictions of automotive emissions and their continued quest for better, more fuel-efficient and cleaner automobiles should put the oil industry to shame. Yet, oil gets the EPA’s nod of approval over and over, while at the same time the EPA seems to do everything it can to further restrict the use of ethanol. 

Way back when, I naively thought that ethanol would become the fuel of choice for the EPA and they would be allies in turning the tide away from oil. In fact, just the opposite has been true. The EPA has fought ethanol tooth and nail all the way and has had to be dragged kicking and screaming into accepting ethanol blends as a major contributor to cleaner air and energy security.

With allies like the EPA, we certainly don’t need enemies.

That’s the way I see it.