Two of the Democrats running for governor who’ve been throwing charges and counter-charges at one another quibbled this weekend over the idea of building a new plant in Iowa that would make flexible-fuel vehicles.
Chet Culver has pledged to establish a $100 million “Iowa Power Fund” and earlier this spring Culver said Iowa officials should try to lure automakers to build a plant in Iowa to make “flexible fuel” vehicles that run on E-85, the higher blend of ethanol. This weekend Culver rival Mike Blouin said it would take up to $400 million worth of incentives from state and local governments to lure the new “flex fuel” car plant that Honda plans to build.
The state of Iowa cannot compete in that high-priced sweepstakes, according to Blouin. Blouin said the state would never break even on a $400 million investment in a single plant.
But Culver’s alleging Blouin and reporters who broadcast his statements about construction of the “flex-fuel” auto plant got it wrong. “I’ve never suggested that we bring an entire plant to Iowa,” Culver said. “Once again, Mike Blouin doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to my plan, my vision.”
But on November 3rd, 2005, Culver told reporters he would work to get a new plant in Iowa that would build cars that burn alternative fuels. “With our skilled workforce and a committment from the governor and the legislature, why can’t we build the alternative fuel vehicles of the future right here in Newton, Amana, or Waterloo, Iowa?” Culver asked back then.
This past Saturday, Culver suggesting taking the Maytag plant and turning it into a facility that manufactures the pumps that dispense renewable fuels. “Why can’t we manufacture all of the flex-fuel pumps — the E85 pumps, the biodiesel pumps — in Newton? I think we can do that, certainly a lot of ’em,” Culver said. “We have the manufacturing base. Why can’t we do that in Amana?”
Whirlpool executives announced this month that they’ll close the Newton production plant that’s made washers and dryers but there are no plans yet to shut down the Amana plant in Amana where about 2500 are employed.