Biodiesel supporters ask legislators to help Iowa stay No. 1

By The Iowa Biodiesel Board | February 28, 2012

In a dreary economy, Iowa biodiesel is a vivid example of how energy policy can drive economic development. The state's biodiesel industry is delivering on its promise of creating green-collar jobs while reducing reliance on foreign oil.

Members of the Iowa Biodiesel Board showcased the industry’s many contributions to the state with legislators today during the group's annual Day on the Hill. They asked legislators to continue pursuing policies that have helped Iowa become the nation’s leading biodiesel producer.

This includes asking for their support of federal energy policy that led the national industry to surpass the 1 billion gallon mark last year. The IBB is asking state legislators to reach out to the Obama administration in support of growing the biodiesel volumes under the renewable fuel standard.

"I'm proud to be in a state that is on the cutting edge of blending cleaner burning biodiesel into our nation's energy supply, and I’m asking our legislators to keep that momentum moving forward," said IBB chair Mark Cobb.

Cobb is vice president of Iowa Renewable Energy based in Washington, Iowa. The biodiesel plant employs 23 people and has the capacity to produce 30 MMgy. He's also president of Cobb Oil, a petroleum distributor based in Brighton, Iowa.

Iowa is home to 13 biodiesel plants. In 2011, the state produced about 175 million gallons of biodiesel, an impressive 17 percent of the nation's biodiesel.

The current plan in the state legislature to improve Iowa's roads and bridges would also boost the use of biodiesel. The proposed motor fuel tax legislation exempts biodiesel blends of 10 percent (B10) and higher from the increase.

"Iowa-made biodiesel should increasingly become a solution to our nation’s energy needs," said Randy Olson, IBB executive director. "Consumers should be encouraged to buy their fuel from the farm fields of the Midwest rather than the oil fields of the Middle East."

An increase in economic activity generated by biodiesel production supports 7,350 full-time equivalent jobs in all sectors of the Iowa economy, according to a new study released in January by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.

During the Day on the Hill event, IBB presented State Senator Jack Kibbie, D- Emmetsburg, with the Biodiesel Champion award. Kibbie, who is President of the State Senate but will soon be retiring, was instrumental in leading legislation that has helped Iowa become the top biodiesel producing state. This legislation included an incentive for fuel retailers to blend biodiesel, as well as a producer’s credit. He has also been a strong voice for supporting the RFS.

"The role I've played in moving our state's biodiesel industry forward is something I'm deeply proud of, and I hope my colleagues will continue to defend it and help it grow," Kibbie said.

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from agricultural byproducts and coproducts, such as soybean oil. The IBB is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.


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