Legislation could help Iowa reclaim top biodiesel position

Article contributed by Randy Olson, Executive Director, 
Iowa Biodiesel Board

As the leading soybean-producing state in the nation, it’s hard not to argue that Iowa should also be the top biodiesel-producing state.  Last week, the Iowa Legislature passed a biodiesel bill that would help it stand shoulder-to-shoulder with neighbors Illinois and Minnesota.  This is a good thing for the state’s job market, energy security, and environment.

The bill, Senate File 531, does three things to promote the growth of Iowa biodiesel:

  1. Extends a tax credit to encourage retailers to make biodiesel available at the pump;
  2. Provides a production incentive for the state’s biodiesel producers; and
  3. Helps pay for the infrastructure needed to move biodiesel in the state and beyond.

This legislation, if signed by Governor Branstad, will make biodiesel more available and increase sales.  In turn, this would make Iowa more energy independent while putting Iowa biodiesel producers back to work and supporting thousands of direct and indirect jobs in our state.

This comes just in time for keeping Iowa in the foreground of the renewable energy landscape.  There is a federal renewable fuels standard now that is expected to create demand for 800 million gallons of biodiesel nationally.  It’s widely believed that those states with the strongest biodiesel policies will be the states where that demand is mostly met.   Iowa is now poised to capture a large share of that market.

Biodiesel is America’s only commercially available, advanced biofuel.  It’s about time our state policies encouraged its growth.  This is a locally grown and produced fuel – if we don’t make the change ourselves, who will?