Iowa biodiesel supporters ask EPA to move American manufacturing forward
July 1, 2017
(WASHINGTON D.C.) – The Iowa Biodiesel Board is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to encourage biodiesel growth rather than stalling it under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard program.
The EPA held a hearing in Washington, D.C. on its proposed renewable fuel volumes under the RFS. The agency would hold levels flat under one biodiesel category, and decrease levels in another. Members and staff of the Iowa Biodiesel Board testified at the Aug. 1 hearing.
“EPA’s current proposed volumes would stall biodiesel, an important Iowa manufacturing sector, at a time when it is already operating below its capacity,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board and director of market development for the Iowa Soybean Association. “The U.S. can meet production demand, and has substantial room for growth, which EPA’s proposal does not acknowledge.”
IBB is asking EPA to consider a biomass-based diesel volume that is at least 2.75 billion gallons in 2019. That’s a moderate increase from 2016 production. The group also asked EPA to set an Advanced Biofuel volume for 2018 of at least 5.25 billion gallons.
“In 2007 when we began production, we provided the first new hiring opportunity in 17 years in our town of 900,” said Tom Brooks, general manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel in Farley, Iowa. Brooks also serves as chair of IBB. “We are in discussions to significantly increase our plant capacity while creating more jobs. This could be done in less than six months if we had confidence and certainty from this administration holding these hearings today.”
Iowa is the nation’s top biodiesel producer. In 2016, Iowa’s biodiesel plants produced 305 million gallons of biodiesel.
“Western Iowa Energy employs 31 fulltime individuals in Wall Lake, a town of 800 residents,” said WIE General Manager Brad Wilson. “The plant is very important to the community, which has many things going in the right direction. It may not be this way without the strong support and expected growth of the RFS.”
According to ABF Economics, the industry supports about 3,800 jobs and $300 million of household income in Iowa, including farm income.
“Making farmers stronger makes our country’s food supply stronger,” said Kevin Ross, a soybean farmer in Minden, Iowa, and board member of Western Iowa Energy. “Agriculture accounts for more than 33 percent of Iowa’s economic output. Any action that supports farming and promotes growth is a good thing for Iowa and our country. The RFS is one such policy.”