Bill would create grant program for renewable fuel infrastructure

By Erin Voegele | February 13, 2014

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa., has introduced legislation that aims to establish a USDA grant program that would provide investments for renewable and alternative fuel infrastructure. The bill, titled the Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion and Leadership (Re-FUEL) Act, or HR 4051, would help create new and retrofit existing infrastructure for biofuels, hydrogen fuels and electrical vehicles.

“I believe in making things in America and there is no reason our fuel sources shouldn’t be made here as well. It’s also important that consumers are able to choose where their fuel source comes from when they go to fill up. Too often, infrastructure constraints are cited as the reason for not giving consumers the choices they deserve. This holds back the development of our renewable and alternative energy sources that create jobs in Iowa and across the country,” Loebsack said.

“The Re-FUEL Act will help bridge that divide by making important investments in the infrastructure needed to provide consumers with choices at the pump. We must do more to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, expand our use of renewable energy sources that boost economic development in our rural areas, and promote homegrown fuel sources such as biofuels and wind power,” he continued.

A copy of the bill published by Loebsack’s office specifies the measure would provide grant funding for a variety of projects. Eligible projects would include those that add new infrastructure or retrofit existing infrastructure to dispense renewable or alternative energy for retail consumption, including pumps, storage tanks, tank lining, piping and electric vehicle chargers.

The program would allow for grants of up to $100,000 and would require matching funds. It would also give priority to projects located in rural areas.

Growth Energy has weighed in on the bill. “I commend Congressman Loebsack for introducing legislation that supports America’s consumers, rural communities and growing biofuels industry. By supporting renewable fuel infrastructure, this legislation will help push our nation toward energy independence and give consumers some much needed choice and savings at the pump. This legislation also emphasizes the importance of investing in and revitalizing rural America,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy.