Author Archives: Chris Donnelly

A Regulatory Break for Ethanol

Earlier this week, the EPA decided against pursuing an appeal of a federal court decision that curtailed the ability of the EPA to grant exemptions to oil refineries regarding legislatively mandated amounts of ethanol to be included in their refined products.  Rather, the EPA is expected to follow the ruling of the 10th Circuit nationwide.  This should provide some needed ...

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Hand Sanitizer as Industrial Lemonade

When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  Globally, companies in the alcoholic beverage, perfume and ethanol industries have taken this aphorism to heart by swiftly moving into the market for hand sanitizers. Pernod Ricard (the maker of Jameson Whiskey and Absolut Vodka), LVMH (the maker of Christian Dior and Louis Vitton perfumes, among other things), and Aemetis Advanced Fuels Keyes ...

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Middle Eastern Oil Politics: Peaceful Complexities

“If it bleeds, it leads” is a common axiom in journalism with respect to the priority of news coverage. In a region like the Middle East where violence is altogether too common, events portending prosperity are naturally viewed with skepticism or overlooked entirely.  Thus, with very little fanfare, Israel will very soon be exporting natural gas to the world’s most ...

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Precision Agriculture

A Google search of “Precision Agriculture” yields over 13 million results and will lead the searcher down a never-ending path of related sub-topics, each replete with dedicated websites, publications, organizations and conferences. So what, precisely, is ‘Precision Agriculture’?  Very simply, precision agriculture is an unfortunately imprecise term that is applied to the myriad applications of technology in the agriculture industry.  ...

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Railroads: Better Deals in Canada?

The railroad industry is sufficiently important to the US economy that it has the clout to have its own national “day” on Capitol Hill.   This year, Wednesday March 7, 2018, was “Railroad Day” on Capitol Hill.  While Railroad Day will never eclipse Mother’s Day in the national psyche, railroads are like mothers in that they can too easily be taken ...

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US Takes the Gold in Oil

Monday, February 19, 2018, was the midpoint of 2018 Winter Olympics Games.  These games would prove to be the US’s most disappointing Olympic Games in over twenty years, with the ordinarily dominant US registering a disappointing fourth in overall medals garnered. On that same date of February 19, 2018, with very little fanfare, the US achieved an economic triumph that ...

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Battery Power on the Grid

On Tuesday, February 13, 2017, the Wall St. Journal Business and Finance Section featured an article entitled “Sun + Batteries = Peak Power.”  The article pointed out that utilities are large buyers of lithium-ion batteries.  One of the uses of these batteries is indeed to store power produced by solar and wind energy sources. However, these giant batteries are also ...

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Wynn Resorts: An Even Money Bet

On Tuesday, February 6, 2018, Steve Wynn resigned as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wynn Resorts amid allegations of sexual harassment of employees and payments of hush money that were inappropriately concealed from the public company’s shareholders.  The allegations came to light as a result of a Wall St. Journal expose in January. The importance of the nature of ...

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NAFTA – Does Canada Secretly Want Out?

Meetings to negotiate a continuation of the North American Free Trade Agreement between Canada, Mexico and the US commenced this week in Montreal and are scheduled to conclude by January 31, 2018. Canada and Mexico have both expressed a desire to continue in the agreement.  US President Donald Trump, on the other hand, was sharply critical of NAFTA on the ...

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Canada and TPP: A Pyrrhic Victory?

Canada and the remaining members of the old Trans-Pacific Partnership agreed Tuesday (January 23) to a revised trade agreement.  Last fall, participants rebranded the pact as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Rebranding the treaty was perhaps in order after the ignominy of both US presidential candidates coming out against the old TPP on the campaign trail in ...

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