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Biofuels are important to Iowa

Keeping industry strong is a top priority

The evolving renewable fuels industries – ethanol and biodiesel – are important contributors to our state’s prosperity. A recent study conducted by ABF Economics, based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, concludes that the state’s ethanol and biodiesel producers have a major impact. The ABF analysts say the production of biofuels is responsible for 3 percent of Iowa’s GDP – $5 billion annually. Directly or indirectly roughly 48,000 jobs are generated in Iowa. That translates into $2.5 billion in income each year for Iowa households.

Congress adopted the Renewable Fuel Standard to promote the use of renewable fuels. It requires that refineries blend ethanol with oil-based fuels. Each year targets are set regarding the amount of ethanol that must be included in fuels sold in the U.S. To prevent hardship for small refineries, the EPA can grant waivers if it finds that the RFS is unfairly burdensome. Unfortunately, federal bureaucrats all too often use this authority inappropriately in a not very hard to discern effort to undermine increased use of ethanol and biodiesel.

That’s why Sen. Charles Grassley, the Republican who is our state’s senior senator, has teamed with Minnesota’s Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, to sponsor legislation designed to prevent EPA officials from reducing the minimum volume of biofuels in transportation fuel once annual levels have been set for each year – the Defend the Blend Act. They have been joined in promoting this bipartisan bill by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill.

Grassley succinctly summarized why this legislation is needed:

“Time and time again, renewable fuels have shown to be key in cutting both greenhouse gas emissions and costs at the pump. Yet, past and present administrations have overlooked the value of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), creating uncertainty for Iowa farmers and producers. With EPA’s most recent proposed action of lowering (Renewable Volume Obligations – RVO) numbers from 2020’s final rule, who’s to say that won’t happen again? It is critical that we establish new safeguards that uphold the RFS and ensure all administrations remain committed to following the law.”

The Defend the Blend Act will make bureaucratic tinkering – especially retroactive changes – harder.

“This bipartisan bill will ensure the law is followed and in turn provide more certainty and predictability to our renewable fuel industry,” Ernst said in explaining her enthusiastic support for the legislation.

The Messenger agrees and applauds Grassley and Klobuchar for their public-spirited collaboration on this important legislation. It’s great to see that looking out for the biofuels industries commands the bipartisan support it so richly deserves.

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