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  • Writer's pictureRon Kotrba

Iowa’s economic recovery report lays out 4-part plan for biofuels

Photo: Jenna Higgins Rose, Iowa Biodiesel Board

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds released the final report from her Economic Recovery Advisory Board, “Iowans Unite for Growth,” which lays out a plan for economic revival to recover from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Naturally, a significant part of that economic recovery leans on agriculture and, more specifically, biofuels.

Renewable fuels create demand for nearly 40 percent of the combined Iowa corn and soybean acres, according to the report. In 2019, it accounted for $5 billion of Iowa’s gross domestic product while generating more than $2.4 billion of income for Iowa households and supporting 48,000 jobs in Iowa’s economy.

The report provides four recommendations pertaining to biofuels.

1. Renewable fuels infrastructure investment—Establish a standing appropriation of $5 million for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program, an increase from the $3 million it was allocated from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund in fiscal year 2021. Since its inception, the RFIP has helped fund 343 biodiesel dispensers and 141 biodiesel terminals across Iowa.

2. Approve existing infrastructure for higher blends of renewable fuels—The report only mentions ethanol here and speaks to E15 approval where E10 approval already exists.

3. Retail availability of higher blends of renewable fuels—Formulate legislation, incentives or regulatory changes to boost demand for biofuels. The report notes that while no petroleum refineries exist in Iowa, the state has 52 biofuel refineries. There are 2,451 retail sites in Iowa and 800 of them dispense biodiesel, 303 offer E85 for flex fuel vehicles, and just 223 offer Unleaded 88 containing 15 percent ethanol. New legislation, changes to regulatory policy or increasing biofuels incentives would demonstrate the state’s support of farmer economic viability, rural communities and consumer choices.

4. Liability protection for retailers—For retailers reluctant to offer higher biofuel blends, and for those that already do, this would help provide confidence and de-risk their investment.

If realized, these four recommendations will increase Iowa’s biofuel consumption by 90 MMgy and will provide necessary leadership to the rest of the country, according to the report.

“Implementing these recommendations will boost farm income, create jobs, lower consumer costs and clean the air we breathe,” said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

Click here to view the full report.



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