Ethanol Blog

Iowa E15 Mandate Bill Left on Shelf at End of State's Legislative Session

Todd Neeley
By  Todd Neeley , DTN Staff Reporter
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The 2021 session of the Iowa General Assembly ended without a vote on a controversial bill that would mandate the sale of E15 and 11% biodiesel blends at gasoline stations across the state.

The measure introduced by Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds in January, raised concern from convenience store chains that stood opposed because of potential costs to comply.

Iowa biofuels groups said they are willing to keep pushing for the passage of the legislation next year.

"We fully expect to pursue a biofuel standard next year," said Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

"Too early to know if it will be a 'perfected' version of the bill pushed this year or whether more substantial modifications will be sought. The 'off season' gives us time to clear up the blatant misinformation spread about the bill this year. And with COVID restrictions removed we'll be able to fully engage the farmer grassroots to lobby the capitol. I'm optimistic."

The current Iowa House bill would require retailers in the state to offer E15 by 2026 and 11% diesel by 2022. The plan also provides tax incentives for the retailers to meet compliance goals,

Convenience store chains in the state that already sell E15 blends, have expressed concern that such a mandate could require hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure investments to comply.

Iowa Soybean Association President and Sidney, Iowa, farmer Jeff Jorgenson, said in a statement following the end of the legislative session that the no vote was a missed opportunity.

"The investment and momentum to build out Iowa's fueling infrastructure could have been ten-fold with passage of the Iowa biofuels standard," he said.

"We're disappointed an opportunity was forfeited this session to further support Iowa farmers, consumers, the environment and long-term ag economy."

Since the bill passed out of several key committees this year, it remains viable when legislators reconvene next session.

Grant Kimberley, Iowa Biodiesel Board executive director, said he was disappointed the top biofuels-producing state in the country was unable to pass the bill.

"As a top agriculture state and the leading biofuels-producing state, Iowa should be at the forefront of adopting renewable fuels," Kimberley said.

"We encouraged legislators to embrace this common-sense legislation to make biofuel blends the standard here rather than the 'alternative.' Additionally, this legislation would have saved significant taxpayer dollars over the current structure.

"We are appalled by the misinformation spread by some who opposed this bill. Some opponents grossly exaggerated fuel price impacts and infrastructure costs associated with this reasonable fuel supply shift, even as some of those same companies pocketed millions of dollars in infrastructure grants as well as federal and state tax credits to support their transition to biofuels."

A DTN search of tax records from the Prime the Pump campaign -- an ethanol-industry fund designed to expand ethanol infrastructure -- found opponents of the legislation including Casey's, Kwik Star and Kum & Go, received about $12.1 million in grants from 2015 to 2018, https://www.dtnpf.com/….

Todd Neeley can be reached at todd.neeley@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DTNeeley

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