Members of the Iowa Biodiesel Board showcased the industry's many contributions to the state with legislators on Tuesday during the group's annual Day on the Hill. They asked legislators to continue pursuing policies that have helped Iowa become the nation's leading biodiesel producer.
The event was attended by IBB members, including Mark Cobb, IBB chair; biodiesel producers, farmers and Executive Director, Randy Olson. IBB lobbyist Gary Dickey Jr. gave a brief report on key issues for IBB representatives to point out to legislators.
The current plan in the state legislature to improve Iowa's roads and bridges would also boost the use of biodiesel. The proposed motor fuel tax legislation exempts biodiesel blends of 10% (B10) and higher from the increase. "The proposal made it out of committee in the Senate," said Dickey, "so it is still alive. It did make it out of committee in the House, but it can be revived."
Dickey encouraged IBB members to emphasize to legislators the importance of biodiesel to rural Iowa, which is home to 13 biodiesel plants. In 2011, the state produced about 175 million gallons of biodiesel, an impressive 17% of the nation's biodiesel. "It can also mean higher prices for soybeans," he added.
The legislators were also asked for their support of federal energy policy that led the national industry to surpass the 1 billion gallon mark last year. The IBB is asking state legislators to reach out to the Obama administration in support of growing the biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard.
"Iowa-made biodiesel should increasingly become a solution to our nation's energy needs," said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. "Consumers should be encouraged to buy their fuel from the farm fields of the Midwest rather than the oil fields of the Middle East."
An increase in economic activity generated by biodiesel production supports 7,350 full-time equivalent jobs in all sectors of the Iowa economy, according to a new study released in January by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.