The Labor Department said U.S. employers added 220,000 jobs in June, the most in four months, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4 percent.   

Some of those new jobs may be in the energy sector. For the first time since 1984, the United States got more electricity in March and April from renewable sources than nuclear power.

The Energy Information Administration said electricity production was driven by increases in the number of wind turbines and solar farms.

Other homegrown energy sources include fuel derived from corn and soybeans. The biofuels business received mixed news this week from the EPA over 2018 blending standards.

Peter Tubbs reports.

For the second year in a row, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed lowering the amount of plant-based fuels petroleum producers are required to blend into domestic fuel supplies.
The blending mandates are a contentious issue for both oil refiners and row crop producers, and the slight cut in the ethanol and biodiesel mandate signals a moderation between the two camps. 
Scott Pruitt, EPA Administrator:  “We are proposing new volumes consistent with market realities focused on actual production and consumer demand while being cognizant of the challenges that exist in bringing advanced biofuels into the marketplace.

The Renewable Fuel Standard, which was implemented in 2006, has resulted in almost all of the 143 billion gallons of gasoline sold in the United States annually to contain a 10 percent blend of predominantly corn-based ethanol. At the same time, more than 40 million gallons of diesel fuel used on the nation’s highways contains a 4 percent blend of soy-based biodiesel. 
The National Corn Growers Association cheered the announcement: 
“EPA’s proposal is good for farmers who are facing tough economic times and good for consumers who want affordable fuel choices that give us a cleaner environment."
Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmer’s Union, was disappointed.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson: “As family farmers navigate a severely depressed farm economy, this is a time the administration should be raising expectations for a policy that drives many economies in rural America. We urge the administration to reconsider this action and to increase these proposed obligations to meet the levels as written by Congress.”

The EPA also announced it will start technical analysis for a future reset of all biofuel mandates, including cellulosic, advanced, and other boutique fuels. For Market to Market, I’m Peter Tubbs.