The Iowa Legislature began the 2014 legislative session at the State Capitol in Des Moines on January 13 and the session is tentatively scheduled to adjourn April 22. On January 16, the Iowa House and Iowa Senate passed a resolution in support of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard or RFS. The resolution urges the U.S. government to continue its commitment to farmers, lower fuel prices, and help protect the environment by supporting a RFS with robust renewable volume requirements.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds also called for swift, bipartisan action in support of the RFS during the annual Condition of the State address delivered to the lawmakers on January 14 by Branstad. "The Iowa Corn Growers Association thanks the state legislature, governor, lieutenant governor and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey for their support of the RFS. Supporting the RFS is one of ICGA's top priorities for the 2014 legislative session," says Roger Zylstra, president of the corn growers' organization.
Branstad and Reynolds applaud Iowa Legislature for passing resolution supporting RFS
Governor Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds on applauded the Iowa Legislature for passing resolutions in support of a strong Renewable Fuel Standard. The Legislature's action came two days after Gov. Branstad called for swift, bipartisan action in support of the RFS in his Condition of the State Address.
"I'm pleased the Iowa Legislature has joined the lieutenant governor and me, and the entire Iowa Congressional delegation in Washington, in support of a robust Renewable Fuels Standard," says Branstad. "I'm encouraged that the Iowa Legislature agrees this rule proposed by EPA would be devastating to agriculture and the renewable fuel sector of the economy. Together, we'll keep fighting to protect the RFS."~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The resolution—although nonbinding and without the force of law—shows solidarity, says Representative Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford. He's chairman of the House Ag Committee. Senator Amanda Ragan, D-Mason City, spoke on the Senate floor in support of the resolution, saying Iowa ethanol plants are creating clean, renewable energy while making the nation more secure and lowering the cost of fuel at the gas pump. The fact that lawmakers are taking action on the resolution during the first week of the 2014 session "makes a huge statement" about its importance to Iowa, she says.
Iowa leaders are holding "Hearing in the Heartland: Supporting the Renewable Fuels Standard"
Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Iowa ag secretary Bill Northey and the entire Iowa Congressional delegation are hosting a hearing, "Hearing in the Heartland: Supporting the Renewable Fuels Standard," on the proposed EPA rule. The hearing will be held Thursday, January 23, 2014 in Des Moines. More information on the hearing can be found by visiting the governor's website.
"Iowans understand how important a strong Renewable Fuels Standard is to our state's economy," says Reynolds. "I applaud the Iowa Legislature for moving quickly and decisively in support of the RFS. It's clear Iowans are in favor of lower-cost choices at the pump, diversifying our nation's energy portfolio, reducing harmful transportation emissions, supporting the growth of the economy, and reducing our dependence on overseas oil."
Branstad called on the Legislature to act during his Condition of the State Address Tuesday, January 14, 2014. Here's what he had to say:
"My friends, Iowa faces another challenge where we can come together again and rally around what is best for our state. The EPA has proposed reducing the level of biofuels outlined in the Renewable Fuels Standard or RFS. If this rule is adopted, it would be a devastating setback to the agriculture sector of the Iowa economy.
The proposed rule comes at a time when our state continues to implement new pioneering policies encouraging growth and innovation in the renewable energy sector.
In a partnership with Iowa State University, we launched the "Fueling Our Future" program last October, which will bring Iowa to the forefront in the use of E30 fuel. This new program is a reflection of the importance of further advancing the renewable fuels industry, and how the RFS is helping to create important Iowa jobs. The RFS has led to a cleaner environment, opened the markets for Iowa corn and soybeans and reduced our nation's dependence on foreign oil. Thousands of Americans are coming together to support the RFS.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
We will be holding a public hearing January 23 in Des Moines to give Iowans the opportunity to voice their concerns with the EPA's proposal. Lt. Governor Reynolds and I are pleased the entire Iowa Congressional delegation and Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey have agreed to co-host this important forum. Today, I call on the General Assembly, as its first order of business, in bipartisan fashion, to pass a resolution in support of maintaining a robust Renewable Fuels Standard."
IRFA applauds Iowa's elected leaders for standing united on RFS
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association also commended Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, ag secretary Bill Northey, the Iowa Senate, and the Iowa House of Representatives for standing united with Iowa's entire Congressional delegation to unanimously pass a resolution in support of a strong, robust federal Renewable Fuel Standard. "I applaud Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Sec. Northey, the Iowa Senate, and the Iowa House for standing united with Iowa's Congressional delegation to defend the RFS and consumer access to lower cost renewable fuel blends," says IRFA executive director Monte Shaw. "Iowa's renewable fuels supporters couldn't ask for better leadership in making a strong and growing RFS a top priority. Now, Iowans need to let their voices be heard as well by telling the EPA 'Don't mess with the RFS!'"
Iowans can submit comments to the EPA in support of a robust RFS here.
Iowa is the leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing over 3.8 billion gallons annually, with three cellulosic ethanol facilities currently under construction. In addition, Iowa has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually. The IRFA was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development. For more information visit the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association website.