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Will B5 become law in Iowa?

By Staff | Feb 26, 2010

DES MOINES – Legislators on a House Ways and Means subcommittee today took a stand for Iowa’s renewable energy future.

They voted to pass a bill that would make biodiesel a standard part of the state’s diesel supply.

The Iowa Biodiesel Fuel Quality Standard , which passed the State Senate last year with bipartisan support and now awaits passage in the House, would ensure that Iowa’s diesel supply contains 5 percent biodiesel.

“Biodiesel is important for our country, to make us less dependent on foreign oil,” said House Assistant Majority Leader Sharon Steckman, D-Mason City. “I want Iowa to be number one.”

The Iowa Biodiesel Board commended the vote.

“Other states are taking extraordinary measures to attract green jobs, and meanwhile Iowa’s are slipping through our fingers,” said Randy Olson, IBB executive director. “It’s time for Iowa legislators to take a stand.

“Do they want Iowa’s money going towards foreign oil, or back into the pockets of Iowans?”

Economic analysis shows Iowa has already lost 2,500 permanent jobs stemming from the biodiesel industry.

Also, the industry’s contribution to the state GDP in 2008 was $1 billion dollars. But that dropped by more than half in 2009.

The other legislators on the subcommittee were Marcie Frevert, D-Palo Alto, who voted for the legislation; and Erik Helland, R-Polk, who voted against it.

The vote was especially timely in light of the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement earlier on its plans to implement the expanded federal Renewable Fuels Standard.

EPA’s actions will ensure a national market for biodiesel made from multiple agricultural resources, including soybean oil.

Olson said Iowa must be vigilant to maintain a leadership position in that market.

“To meet the federal requirements, biodiesel will be blended where it is most cost-effective to the oil companies. But it will also be blended in states that have strong policies in place to create demand for biodiesel. Iowa must reclaim its leadership position in renewable energy,” Olson said.

The bill will now move forward to the full House Ways and Means Committee.

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