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Governor’s Revised Bid To Expand E15 Sales To Be Debated In House Committee Wednesday

Des Moines, Iowa — The governor’s revised plan to boost sales of E-15 has been approved by a House subcommittee.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Standard that Governor Kim Reynolds presented last year stalled in the legislature. Reynolds says her new proposal is designed to expand consumer access to gasoline that contains more ethanol and to diesel that has a higher percentage of a soybean-based additive.

Reynolds reviewed her NEW plan at Tuesday’s Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit in Des Moines and urged the industry to lobby Iowa lawmakers.

The plan includes grant money to install new fuel systems. Sara Allen, a lobbyist for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, spoke at a statehouse hearing on the bill.

The bill sets up a waiver process for stations with equipment that’s incompatible with fuel that has higher blends of ethanol. Casey’s General Stores, which has 535 stores in Iowa, opposes the bill as it’s currently written. Tom Cope, the company’s lobbyist, says there’s no guarantee a station would get a waiver — and the grants cover a fraction of what it costs to upgrade underground fuel systems.

Marc Beltrame is a lobbyist for Fuel Iowa, which represents the retailers that sell fuel. He says the industry is willing to do its part to help ethanol and biodiesel producers, but the bill as written penalizes a lot of small stores which are primarily in rural Iowa.

Kevin Kuhl, a lobbyist for the Iowa Farm Bureau, says his organization supports the bill because Iowa still lags other states in sales of ethanol and biodiesel.

Fewer than one out of four Iowa gas stations sell E-15 and the bill seeks to push beyond that blend. Starting in 2023, any new fuel systems installed at Iowa gas stations would have to be compatible with E-85. Drew Klein is state director for Americans for Prosperity, a group that opposed the governor’s Iowa Renewable Fuels Standard in 2021 and opposes this 2022 rewrite.

The bill was introduced in the House Monday and a three-member subcommittee signed off on it Tuesday. The bill is now scheduled for debate in the full House Ways and Means Committee late Wednesday afternoon.

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