Iowa House & Senate pass pro-ethanol resolution

Source: By O. Kay Henderson, Radio Iowa • Posted: Friday, January 17, 2014

Both the Iowa house and Senate have passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to reject its proposed rule which would reduce the amount of ethanol produced in the country. Senator Amanda Ragan, a Democrat from Mason City, suggests the proposal is an outgrowth of the oil industry’s attempt to “sabotage” ethanol.

“In north Iowa communities, ethanol plants are producing clean, renewable energy, creating jobs and generating economic activity,” Ragan said during senate debate of the proposal this morning. “Unlike ‘big oil’, Iowa’s ethanol industry helps make our nation more secure and energy independent.”

Senator Dan Zumbach, a Republican from Ryan, said the EPA’s proposal would be a “monumental setback” for the state’s economy.

“Renewable fuels and the renewable fuels standard has added to Iowa’s economy and has helped grow rural Iowa,” Zumbach said. “In addition, biofuels are good for our environment and they lessen our dependence on foreign oil.”

The resolution passed both the house and senate without a dissenting vote. Representative Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford who is the grandson of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, said it shows Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa legislature are in “solidarity” with the governor and Iowa’s entire congressional delegation on this issue.

“Someone asked me at a meeting the other day if we were going to pass a bill to deal with this situation, but I do think we need to send a strong message,” Grassley told reporters.

Governor Terry Branstad immediately praised lawmakers for passing the resolution during the first week of the 2014 Iowa legislative session. A hearing next Thursday will give Iowans a chance to speak out on the E-P-A’s proposal which would roll-back the so-called Renewable Fuels Standard. The hearing will be held at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines and it’s scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. The renewable fuels standard sets the level of ethanol that is produced in the U.S. each year. U

Under the outline of a 2007 law, over 18 billion gallons of renewable fuels should be produced in 2014 for blending in other fuels, like gasoline, but the EPA has proposed slashing that by three billion gallons.