Boosting domestic, renewable energy demand critical to job, economic growth
Ankeny, Iowa — The Iowa Legislature must act on biodiesel issues when it reconvenes June 3, urges Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) President Tim Bardole.
The farmer from Rippey says the economic fallout of ongoing trade disruptions with China and the COVID-19 pandemic make action on domestic energy policy a must before an abbreviated legislative session adjourns for summer.
At the top of the list is passage of House File 2279 and Senate File 2403. The legislation would extend and modernize fuel tax differentials for B11 and higher biodiesel blends and E15 and higher ethanol blends, which are set to expire June 30.
“With the passage of either bill, Iowa will not only continue to support renewable fuels but put millions of dollars back into the Road Use Tax Fund each year for vital infrastructure projects,” Bardole says. “That one-two punch has never been more important.”
If the biofuel tax differentials expire, consumer prices at the pump will increase while the farm community will experience yet another blow to demand and prices for soybeans and corn.
“In the midst of the pandemic, legislators can’t ignore the importance of taking action to renew these key policy measures,” Bardole says. “We’ve made tremendous progress on biofuels production and demand. Now is not the time to retreat on this progress.
“If ever there was a time to advance domestic and renewable energy, it’s now.”
Since legislation was first passed that established the fuel tax differentials in 2015, Iowa has seen E10 and B11 and higher biodiesel blends go from niche fuels to making up 86% and 57% of sales in 2019, respectively.
Bardole also asserted ISA’s support of the Governor’s proposal to expand the Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Program (RFIP), which is typically funded at $3 million annually.
In her Condition of the State, Governor Kim Reynolds proposed a $2 million plus up of RFIP for a total of $5 million annually for biodiesel and ethanol infrastructure. This would increase biodiesel and ethanol availability and usage across the state.
“We appreciate the legislature’s continued support of renewable fuels and Iowa’s soybean farmers, and look forward to swift action on these increasingly important issues.”
Not funded by the soybean checkoff
The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) is “Driven To Deliver” increased soybean demand through market development and new uses, farmer-focused research and results, timely information and know-how and policy initiatives enabling farmers and the industry to flourish. Founded in 1964 by farmers to serve farmers, ISA is governed by a board of 22 farmers to advocate on behalf of the state’s 40,000 soybean producers, including more than 12,000 ISA farmer members and industry stakeholders.