Iowa lawmakers urge Biden to prioritize biofuels

By Erin Voegele | May 25, 2021

Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Reps. Randy Feenstra, R-Iowa; Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa; and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, sent a letter to President Biden on May 25 urging him to uphold his promise to support biofuels.

The letter urges the Biden administration to include biofuels in any final legislative proposal for infrastructure investments. “Biofuels are a proven climate solution that can provide a cost-effective way to lower greenhouse gas emissions while providing good jobs for rural America,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter reference a campaign promise Biden make to “promote and advance renewable energy, ethanol, and other biofuels to help rural America and our nation’s farmers.” Despite that promise, the Iowa lawmakers say that Biden failed to include any investments for biofuels in the American Jobs Plan.

“Today’s biofuels provide a low carbon fuel and advancements in crop production, carbon capture technologies, and innovative production processes will only further drive down the carbon emissions of biofuels,” the lawmakers wrote. “In fact, advancements in biofuels can drive biofuels towards being carbon neutral or even carbon negative – something electric vehicles cannot achieve. If provided a level playing field from the government, biofuels can and will compete in the low carbon transportation marketplace.”

The letter cites data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration that predicts 79 percent of new vehicle sales in 2050 will still be gas-powered for flex-fuel. “Just this past year, electric cars made up 2.2 percent of the U.S. auto market,” they wrote. “While it is likely our country will continue to produce more electric vehicles, it is clear that American consumers are not sold on them.

“Instead, your plan focuses on subsidizing expensive electric vehicles to the tune of $174 billion. Your plan includes the installation of electric vehicle chargers, calls for the electrification of the federal vehicle fleet, and provides tax incentives and consumer rebates for the wealthy to purchase electric vehicles,” the lawmakers continued. “Consumers who purchase Teslas which make up more than 70 percent of the electric car market have average incomes at more than $300,000.”

The letter expresses hope that the Biden administration will support biofuels, a proven solution that will reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector as quickly as possible. “The administration should support flex-fuel vehicles and cost-effective infrastructure improvements that will pave the way to higher biofuel blends,” the Iowa lawmakers wrote. “Additionally, the administration should demonstrate a strong commitment to biofuels through a strong renewable volume obligation for 2021, 2022, and beyond. We should ensure that where needed biofuel pumps and storage tanks can be updated. The administration should also work towards incentivizing new biofuel technologies and use accurate greenhouse gas modeling that takes into consideration the latest farming and production practices to calculate emissions from biofuels.

“You made a promise to Iowans that you would support biofuels, yet the American Jobs Plan falls well short for our state,” they continued. “Biofuels provide an immediate solution to help decarbonize our transportation sector while supporting rural America and providing a low carbon, cost effective choice to consumers. Biofuels should not be treated as a transition fuel, but prioritized as a fuel of the future.”

A full copy of the letter can be downloaded from Ernst’s website