Bills to set new standards, restrictions for biofuels advance

    Green Plains has an ethanol plant in Superior, Iowa. (Photo by Perry Beeman/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

    A pair of bills aimed at increasing sales of ethanol and biofuels by setting the state’s first biofuel standards cleared two legislative subcommittees Wednesday.

    Gov. Kim Reynolds proposed the measure. It would set minimum standards, declaring anything less than 15% ethanol a restricted fuel after Jan. 1, 2025. The state’s tax credit program would be changed to help pay for projects needed to handle higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. 

    Agricultural and biofuel interests have lined up to support the proposal as a way to boost Iowa’s economy. Iowa is a top producer of corn and soybeans used to make biofuels. 

    Critics, including convenience store chains and the Iowa Motor Truck Association, said the new rules would end up limiting choice and could send truckers to pumps outside Iowa. 

    Senate Study Bill 1179 advanced to the Senate Agriculture Committee. House Study Bill 185 moved on to the House Ways and Means Committee. 

    Perry Beeman
    Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.