Ethanol industry applauds USDA BIP grant announcement

By Ann Bailey | September 11, 2015

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s announcement 21 states will receive a total of $100 million in matching grants through the Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership was applauded by the ethanol industry.

The grants will support nearly 5,000 pumps at more than 1,400 U.S. fueling stations across the United States. Through the program, USDA will award competitive grants, matched by states, to expand the infrastructure for distribution of higher blends of ethanol.

The American Coalition for Ethanol praised USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack for his effort to have blender pumps installed at fuel stations across the United States. Because the BIP partnership is a matching grant program, states and ethanol supporters must step up and make equal or greater amounts of infrastructure funding available to station owners, said Ron Lamberty, vice president of ACE.

U.S. station owners can use the BIP grant to buy more equipment and offer more ethanol blends to consumers, he said. Many station owner will pay little or nothing to add state-of-the-art blender dispensers and other equipment they need to sell the flex fuels and E15.

The BIP grants are a win for American Consumers, said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. The grants will advance consumer market choice and market access for higher blends of cleaner burning, American-made renewable fuels.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association also applauded the matching grant support which will fund the installation of 187 blender pumps in Iowa. In North Dakota, the federal program will help build on the successful efforts, begun several years ago, to promote greater access to biofuels at the pump, said Gov. Jack Dalrymple. North Dakota initiated a statewide blended fuel pump program. Now more than 200 of the pumps are at 66 retail locations across North Dakota and the sale of ethanol-blended fuels has increased 56 percent.

Besides Iowa and North Dakota, states receiving grants are: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

ACE encourages retailers to apply for the funding assistance through their appropriate state agencies. The ethanol organization will make grant assistance information available through the FleXFuelForward.com website, by its BYOethanol.com partnership with the Renewable Fuels Association and at petroleum marketer events and trade shows.