Ag News

Reynolds moves to establish Iowa biofuels standard and increase availability

IARN — Yesterday, Governor Kim Reynolds introduced a bill into the Iowa Legislature to establish biofuel standards for fuel sold across Iowa and to provide Iowa retailers with increased funding to upgrade infrastructure to offer higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel.

The Iowa Biofuel Standards bill, HSB185, sets a 10 percent minimum ethanol standard for gasoline fuel and an 11 percent minimum biodiesel standard for diesel fuel. Both standards have limited exceptions. The biodiesel standard would step up to 20 percent biodiesel blends during the summers in 2024. The governor would have the discretion to increase the ethanol standard to 15 percent blends beginning in 2025.

“Passage of this bill would be a major win for farmers, retailers, consumers, and our environment,” said Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. “Too often Iowa farmers are at the whims of federal policy flip-flops and fickle foreign trade. This legislation would create a growing market for biofuels, like ethanol and biodiesel, and thereby provide a stable and reliable market for Iowa farmers.”

The bill also adds $5 million from the general fund for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program (RFIP) on top of $5 million from the separate Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund called for in the Governor’s budget proposal. RFIP is a public-private partnership that provides cost-share grants so retailers can upgrade fueling equipment to offer higher biofuel blends. Reforms in the bill that reduce the cost of existing biofuels tax credits more than offset the increase in RFIP funding, leaving tens of millions of additional tax dollars in the state’s general fund over the next five years.

“The key to moving ethanol demand forward is the increased funding for RFIP,” added Shaw. “With $10 million in annual funding, we can assist over 200 retailers a year to bring lower-cost, cleaner-burning biofuels to their customers. IRFA thanks Governor Reynolds for spearheading this comprehensive effort to make Iowa a real leader in biofuels policy. The bill’s interlocking provisions will boost farm income, lower costs for motorists, clean the air we breathe, provide expanded grants for retailers, and save taxpayer money at the same time. We look forward to working with legislative leaders to pass this innovative legislation.”

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network