As Americans do their part to minimize activities and slow the coronavirus’ spread, it creates yet another headwind for ACE members already harmed by trade wars and EPA’s abuse of small refinery exemptions under the RFS. ACE is actively discussing actions that can be deployed both in the near- and long-term to mitigate the staggering and potentially unprecedented impact coronavirus will have on ethanol demand. Whether that be new policies to spur the use of low carbon fuels or additional emergency authorities the Administration or Congress could implement, ACE is helping provide decisionmakers in the nation’s capital with economic stimulus recommendations. ACE will keep you informed if opportunities arise for producers in existing and upcoming stimulus packages. We've compiled other updates and resources pertaining to COVID-19 below.
As conditions rapidly develop, ACE will do our best to keep you updated on the situation and how it impacts the ethanol industry. Please visit the CDC website to learn more about COVID-19, FAQ and the latest CDC guidance and protocols.
The Coronoavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act)
Guide for ACE Members - CLICK HERE
In response to the catastrophic economic fallout from the spread of the coronavirus across the U.S., Congress enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a stimulus package designed to inject an unprecedented $2 trillion into the economy through loans, direct payments, expansion of unemployment benefits and tax relief. The President signed it into law on March 27.
The CARES Act does not contain ethanol-specific provisions (nor does it include direct aid for any energy sector), but there are certain programs which could benefit ACE members. Two centerpiece provisions are the Paycheck Protection Program and Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loans described in the guide linked above.
FREE WEBINAR: Join ACE Wednesday, April 8, along with experts from accounting and consulting firm Christianson PLLP and agribusiness financial services provider CoBank, for an assessment of the CARES Act from the outlook of the ethanol industry — what’s in it and how do I seek possible opportunities? Visit ethanol.org/events/webinar/ to register for free.
Coronoavirus Emergency Loans - Small Business Guide & Checklist - CLICK HERE
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued a guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan. Click on the images below for the questions you may be asking— and what you need to know.
USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Visit rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for regular announcements and information and visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus for a list of Frequently Asked Questions and USDA actions to respond to COVID-19.
OSHA Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) developed this COVID-19 planning guidance based on traditional infection prevention and industrial hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative, and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so. This guidance is intended for planning purposes. Employers and workers should use this planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement.
CLICK HERE for the guidance document.
NCGA has assembled a Task Force to provide recommendations on recovery efforts and facilitate coordination along the value chain. The Task Force compiles more information, coordinates with the industry and provides recommendations to mitigate the economic fallout. Corn growers can follow the work of the Task Force by subscribing to NCGA’s News of the Day e-newsletter or following NCGA on twitter. Farmers are also encouraged to share what they’re seeing in their local regions and any concerns of which they’d like the Task Force to be aware through CoronavirusInput@NCGA.com.
NCGA is passing along best practices as we move through the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. Preparations for Spring planting means activity levels are increasing on the farm for things like field preparation and on-farm deliveries. Limiting interactions and exposure is a good idea to limit exposure and risk related to COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). It is critical to practice biosecurity for your family, your employees, the public, and animals. CLICK HERE for more steps on the farm to manage COVID-19.
The COVID-19 outbreak has shaken the entire fuel supply chain and pushed market fundamentals to their limits.
We've never experienced disruption like this. To help you get clarity during this unprecedented time, OPIS has put together the Emergency Fuel Market Update to help you understand where prices are each week and compare them to values a week ago, a month ago and a year ago. If you'd like to continue receiving this free weekly update, click here to subscribe.
Other Relevant Information/Guidelines
- The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau provided a waiver to ethanol producers authorizing them to make ethanol-based hand sanitizer to address increased demand. Click here to read more about the guidance.
- The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency identified workers at "fuel ethanol facilities" as essential critical infrastructure workers. Read the full guidance here.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) relaxed its guidlines for the types of alcohol that may be used to make hand sanitizer. The revised guidelines allow fuel ethanol to be used for hard-to-find hand sanitizers provided the ethanol does not contain any added ingredients or chemicals and that producers follow agency requirements governing water quality and equipment sanitization. FDA said its revised guidelines will remain in effect until the federal government cancels a public health emergency declaration that was issued on Jan. 31 in response to the coronavirus. The document also requires that companies producing alcohol for hand sanitizer register with the FDA and list their products in the administration's Drug Registration and Listing System. Click here fro a copy of the revised guidlines.