Branstad teams up for Times letter on biofuels

Source: By Jason Noble, Des Moines Register • Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad teamed up with his Missouri counterpart Jay Nixon last week to deliver a message on Midwestern energy to the readers of the New York Times.

Branstad, a Republican, and Nixon, a Democrat, on Thursday published a letter in the Times pushing back against an article last month raising doubts about biofuels.

The story described a newly released paper from the World Resources Institute, an environmental think tank, which argues that turning plant matter, like corn, into fuel is inefficient and an inappropriate use of land that could be used to raise crops for feeding a growing population.

In their letter, Branstad and Nixon disagreed.

“As governors of two states at the forefront of the nation’s bioeconomy, we have witnessed firsthand the sustainable development of robust and dynamic bioenergy industries,” they wrote.

They went on, “We see every day the many benefits that stem from bioenergy production — reduced dependence on overseas oil, increased economic activity and investment, new market opportunities for agriculture and forestry, family income growth in rural America, consumer choice at the fuel pump, and cleaner air and water.

“The experience of our states has shown not only that bioenergy and food production can efficiently coexist, but also that they can thrive together in a sustainable way.”

Branstad is such a passionate advocate for Iowa renewable fuels that he wants national Democrats to lock arms with him on the topic.

On Thursday, when Branstad met Air Force Two’s arrival in Iowa, he personally urged Vice President Joe Biden to attend the upcoming Iowa Ag Summit, an event designed to give 2016 presidential candidates a platform here while Iowa biofuels activists push their agenda.