Iowa, Arkansas consider biodiesel mandates

By Kris Bevill | March 09, 2009
Web exclusive posted March 23, 2009, at 8:53 a.m. CST

A bill which would require all diesel fuel in Iowa to be blended with 5 percent biodiesel starting on July 1 is working its way, with some difficulty, through the state legislature. Iowa Senate President Jack Kibbie, D-Dist. 4, was one of 31 senators to cosponsor the bill based on the Minnesota biodiesel mandate passed last year. (See "Minnesota mandates B20 by 2015.")

Similar to the Minnesota mandate, SF 408 would require the use of B5 initially, but would increase the percentage to B10 in 2012 and B20 in 2015. Kibbie said the bill has received "a lot of pushback" so far from the trucking and petroleum industries as well as legislators who don't generally support mandates. However, he vowed to continue to work to pass the bill and said the Renewable Fuels Association, as well as members of the biodiesel and ethanol industries, have been also been lobbying for the bill's passage.

Kibbie said he believes the bill is the single most important piece of legislation for the state's agricultural industry this year and that the passage of a biodiesel mandate is critical for the state's biodiesel industry. "We have a lot of biodiesel plants in Iowa, some of which are not currently in operation," he said. The bill is currently stalled in the Ways and Means Committee and is awaiting discussion at a subcommittee hearing.

Meanwhile in Arkansas, first-term Rep. Tiffany Rogers, D-Dist. 14, has also introduced a biodiesel mandate based upon the Minnesota requirement. Rogers said HB 1790 has been referred to the Joint Energy Committee and she has requested it be addressed by March 27. The bill would mandate the use of B5 beginning Jan. 1, 2010 and would, according to Rogers, create 1,500 jobs at no cost to taxpayers. "HB 1790 is good for our economy, good for our environment and a good start to establishing our independence from foreign oil," Rogers said. "In short, it is good for all of Arkansas."
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