Iowa passes RFS resolution, plans public hearing

By Erin Voegele | January 16, 2014

On Jan. 16, the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives both passed a resolution urging the U.S. government to “renew its commitment to farmers, lower fuel prices and the environment by supporting a robust and sustainable renewable fuel standard.”

Within the resolution, Iowa lawmakers assert that the state’s biofuels industry has added more than $ billion to the Iowa economy and generated $2 billion in new household income. The resolution goes on to say the U.S. EPA’s recently proposed reductions to the renewable fuel standard (RFS) directly conflicts with federal statute that established the program and predicts that the reduced EPA proposal will cause the loss of 37,400 ethanol-related jobs and the loss of 7,500 biodiesel-related jobs. The lawmakers also note that the reduced RFS proposal will cause the price of corn to drop below the cost of production, negatively impacting Midwest farm families, agribusinesses and rural communities.

Beyond economic impacts, the resolution stresses that the RFS reduction will also substantially reduce long-term investment in biofuels infrastructure and a reduction in investments in further energy innovation for ethanol, biodiesel, advanced biofuels and cellulosic fuels.

“The United States government is urged to renew its commitment to farmers, lower fuel prices, and the environment by supporting a robust and sustainable RFS and use all efforts to meet the highest possible renewable fuel volume requirements set forth in the current RFS in order to ensure that this nation diversifies its energy portfolio,” concludes the resolution.

The passage of the resolution came only two days after Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad delivered his 2014 “Condition of the State,” address, in which he called on the state’s General Assembly to pass a resolution in support of maintaining a robust RFS as its first order of business following the holiday recess.

“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 (RFS),” Branstad said. “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.”

Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds also recently announced they will lead a group of senior state officials from Iowa and the Midwest to organize and host a public hearing that will allow citizens outside of Washington, D.C., the opportunity to testify about the importance of the RFS.  

The hearing is scheduled to be held Jan. 23 in Des Moines, Iowa. Public comments will begin at 8:00 a.m. Additional information on the hearing is available on Branstad’s website.  A full copy of the resolution is available here