Managers of Iowa’s Rural Electric Co-operatives are returning from the nation’s capital today (Thursday) after spending the first part of this week meeting with their lawmakers in Washington. Roger Arthur is president of Allamakee-Clayton Electric Co-op in far northeastern Iowa. Arthur says electric co-op members have come in from all over the nation to talk to their states’ congressional representatives, about lots of issues but especially this year’s renewal of the federal energy bill. The House has passed a version of a new energy bill, and Arthur says it’ll be interesting to see how its counterpart comes out of the Senate. There are always issues high on the various lists of the visitors, and in Iowa he says those are renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel that affect all rural Iowans. While the state’s current electric needs are met by its coal and other generating stations, Arthur says the co-ops agree a big part of the state’s future will revolve around renewable energy in many forms. He notes “clean air is healthy and good for all of us,” adding that renewable energy could give Iowa a way to “farm” the natural resources we have. With more ethanol plants going up all the time, Arthur says it will pay off in the long run to encourage bio-fuels produced in Iowa. He says more ethanol “would be fantastic for independence from the foreign oil that we now have to ship in.” Arthur’s also a director of the state’s association of electric co-ops. Reps from all states came for the annual event at the nation’s capitol.
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