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Details in the Works on Governor Reynold’s Proposed E-15 Mandate

DES MOINES, IA (Radio Iowa) One of the governor’s priority proposals for the 2022 legislature is an Iowa Renewable Fuels Standard and it passed the Iowa House in early February. A key lawmaker says negotiations in the Senate are focused on responding to concerns about the scope of the plan. The House bill would require Iowa gas stations to sell fuel with 15 percent ethanol — E-15 — if they have compatible equipment now AND stations installing new pumps would have to choose equipment in the future that can handle higher blends of ethanol. Senator Dan Dawson of Council Bluffs is the Republican leading negotiations on the bill in the Senate.

“We want to support ethanol. We want to make sure that Iowa has a voice in the national stage when we talk about renewable energies here, but there’s a lot of details that need to be worked out,” Dawson says. “I don’t think anyone is against ethanol, but…how it actually gets to the end user, there’s a lot of rungs along there and those are important rungs that we need to make sure we hear all the voices.” The governor originally proposed a state Renewable Fuels Standard last year and offered a reworked plan this year that won bipartisan approval in the House. Senator Pam Jochum of Dubuque says she and other Democrats in the Senate have been looking much more closely at the bill now.

“When you consider what happened in the House, it went from start to finish in nine days and that is a very fast moving bill and I’m not so sure they all had time to really digest everything that the bill contained,” Jochum says. “…We’re getting a lot more feedback from people like independent, small gas station owners in more of our rural and smaller towns that are saying: ‘Whoa!'” Jochum says any small station that has to install a new underground tank and fuel pump in the future would have to spend in the neighborhood of 300-thousand dollars on an ethanol-compatible system and that’s a financial stumbling block. Dawson says there’s an opportunity to do something to expand use of E-15, but it’s still not clear what the final product might be.

“We want to make sure we get this done right,” Dawson says, “and the impacts on some these gas stations, you know, the retailers out there, needs to be heard.” Dawson and Jochum made their comments during a recent appearance on “Iowa Press” on Iowa P-B-S.

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