Agriculture serves as the linchpin for our state’s economy, with one in five Iowans employed in the farm sector. As 2019 begins, elected officials are hard at work reviewing policy options to strengthen agriculture in our state, improve profitability and reinvigorate the rural economy. High on that list should be the push to lift restrictions on the sale of homegrown biofuels – particularly the ethanol blended into E15, a 15 percent ethanol mix.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently restricts the sale of E15 to only part of the year. This has severely damaged demand for Iowa biofuel. In 2018, President Trump directed the EPA to lift the outdated summertime restriction, but we are still waiting on the agency to act. It is critical the administration move quickly to deliver fair market access for farm families and our nation’s renewable fuel producers.
As the new Congress convenes, it is my hope they understand the urgency of lifting this archaic ban. I know Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, have been fighting hard for Iowa farm families on this issue.
Time is now becoming a factor if we are to see the ban lifted in time for this upcoming summer’s busy driving season.
Rep. Ross Paustian
Editors note: Paustian, a Republican, is the incoming chair the Iowa House Agriculture Committee