Reynolds introduces biofuels bill, recognizes IRFA

By Erin Voegele | January 26, 2022

Iowa Gov. Reynolds introduced legislation on Jan. 24 that aims to increase consumer access for E15 and B20 fuel blends. The following day she issued a proclamation declaring Feb. 27 as Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Day in recognition of the group’s upcoming 20th anniversary.

Reynolds thanked the IRFA for its work to promote the biofuels industry during a speech made at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit on Jan. 25.  She also highlighted many provisions included in her biofuels bill, House Study Bill 594.

According to Reynolds, the bill “doubles Iowa’s biodiesel production tax credit to incentivize production in Iowa.” In addition, the legislation increases fuel retailer tax credits to expand consumer access to higher biodiesel blends using a market-based approach, It also makes improvements to the renewable fuels infrastructure program, Reynolds said, noting her budget doubles funding for the program to $10 million per year for the next five years.

“We’re also proposing to update the biodiesel fuel tax differential to incentivize higher blends and put more dollars into the road use tax fund while remaining revenue neutral overall,” Reynolds added. In addition, the bill codifies an executive order issued in 2019 requiring that all diesel engine vehicles in the state fleet to be compatible with higher blends of biodiesel. “Finally, under the bill, any newly installed or upgraded fuel infrastructure must be E85 or B20 compatible, and all retailers with compatible infrastructure must offer E15 by 2026,” she said.

Following its introduction, HSB 594 was referred the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill was addressed during a subcommittee meeting on Jan. 25, with the subcommittee recommending passage the following day, according to the Iowa Legislature website.

Growth Energy has spoken out in support of the bill. “The state of Iowa has long led the nation in ethanol policy,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. “Through her legislation announced today, Gov. Reynolds continues this legacy by prioritizing expanded access to higher blends of biofuel choices at the pump. Statewide access to higher blends of biofuels means that all drivers across Iowa have the opportunity to choose fuel that is good for their engine, good for their pocketbook, and one that benefits the community around them.

“The 2022 Biofuel Access Bill also allows Iowans to make a simple change for the environment by choosing E15. In fact, research shows that statewide E15 in Iowa could cut climate emissions by 180,000 metric tons, the equivalent of removing almost 40,000 vehicles off the road across the state,” she added.

“We appreciate Gov. Reynolds’ tireless support for biofuels and look forward to working with Chairman Lee Hein and other legislative leaders to ensure the bill’s passage,” Skor continued.

Poet also applauded the bill. “Iowans deserve the freedom to choose E15 every time they fill up,” said Michael Walz, Poet vice president of public affairs. “E15 will save Iowans money at the pump, create new value for farm families, support thousands of jobs and drive economic growth across the state. E15 is America’s next standard fuel, and Poet is proud to see Iowa’s Governor Kim Reynolds once again leading the way.”

In addition to expressing support for HSB 594, the IRFA issued a statement on Jan. 25 voicing appreciation for Reynolds’ proclamation declaring Feb. 27 as Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Day.

 “IRFA is honored that Governor Reynolds recognized our association and everything Iowa biofuel producers have achieved over the past twenty years,” said Monte Shaw, director of the IRFA. “While proud of the tremendous success and growth during the past two decades, we have a long way to go to achieve the full promise of biofuels. We will continue to support Iowa ethanol and biodiesel producers while growing consumer access to clean, high-performing fuels.”

A full copy of the proclamation is available on the IRFA website. Additional information on HSB 594 can be found on the Iowa Legislature website.