Governor Branstad signs biofuels infrastructure funding, closing out challenging session for biodiesel
May 12, 2017
(ANKENY, IOWA) – Governor Terry Branstad, a steadfast supporter of growing the job-creating biofuels industry, has signed legislation that will help ensure its continued success in Iowa. The Iowa Biodiesel Board praised Branstad for signing the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund bill (HF 643), which provides $3 million to fund the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program.
“Governor Branstad has been exceptionally supportive of funding renewable fuels and this infrastructure program. We thank him whole-heartedly for his leadership,” said Grant Kimberley, Iowa Biodiesel Board executive director. “This is a big win for biodiesel and other renewable fuels. The legislature had previously ended funding for the program, and in a tough budget year where other programs were eliminated, the extension of the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program is a clear sign of the Iowa Legislature’s support for the biofuels industry.”
IBB and industry partners worked closely with the legislature to ensure that the funding language was included in the budget. The program is designed to encourage fuel retailers, like the Kum-and-Go chain, for example, to offer biofuels at the pump. It has had a positive impact as intended, Kimberley said. The Iowa Department of Revenue reports that during 2016, 471 on-road retailers reported carrying biodiesel blends in Iowa, up from 304 five years ago.
Despite the victory, the legislative session posed challenges for the biofuels industry, Kimberley said. The Iowa House introduced legislation to reduce all state tax credits, which included a reduction and cap on renewable fuel retailer credits, which incentivize increased use of renewable fuels. IBB led the charge against the cut by mobilizing a network of members and coalition partners to convey the importance of these tax credits, and reinforce with legislators how the credits benefit Iowa’s economy and environment.
“Biodiesel production is expanding in Iowa, and proactive state policies have played a pivotal role in keeping the state’s title as the leading national producer,” Kimberley said. “We shouldn’t take this for granted. We will continue to fight for this key Iowa industry.”
In 2016, Iowa’s biodiesel plants produced a record 305 million gallons of biodiesel, according to the National Biodiesel Board. A study by ABF Economics shows biodiesel activity generated about 3,800 full-time equivalent jobs and $300 million of household income in Iowa.
Biodiesel is an advanced biofuel made from agricultural byproducts and co-products, such as soybean oil. The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.