As chairman of the Iowa House Agriculture Committee, advocating for policies that expand market access for Iowa commodities is important to me. The growth of our renewable fuels sector has been critically important to Iowa grain farmers and rural communities, but we’ve seen some restrictive actions at the federal level.
With Iowa farm income at the lowest level in years, policymakers at all levels should be working to expand, not limit, ethanol production in the Midwest.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in Iowa last month, and I hope he heard from Iowans about the importance of expanded market access for Iowa-grown renewable fuels.
The ethanol industry produces nearly 16 billion gallons of biofuel at more than 200 facilities, located throughout the Heartland. Unfortunately, current regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency prohibit the sale of higher biofuel blends during the summer, the busiest travel season of the year.
These restrictions are hindering economic growth in rural communities. E15, a fuel blend containing 15 percent ethanol, is a more affordable option, typically costing between 5 cents and 10 cents less than traditional gasoline.
The blend also burns cleaner and cooler, which is good for the environment and car engines.
Perdue has a great opportunity to work with acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to find a fix and lift these out-of-date regulations after the previous administrator failed to act.
State Rep. Lee Hein