An energy bill which Congressional leaders say would be a big plus for Iowa corn growers is now all but complete. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, chair of the Senate Finance Committee, says the measure may be finished within a matter of hours and sent on to President Bush. Grassley says “There’s just a couple of fine-tuning things that I have to deal with in my portion of it on tax incentives for biodiesel, wind energy, ethanol and a lotta’ tax incentives for conservation. We’ll have an agreement before the end of the day, I believe.” Grassley says he and other lawmakers have known different versions of the bill from the House and Senate needed to be rectified. President Bush had set an August first deadline for the bill to be on his desk as Congress goes on its long summer break at the end of this week. Grassley says he thinks “It will, in fact, be there.” He says the bill contains several elements that are key for Iowa and its growing industry based on corn-based ethanol. Grassley says the bill contains a seven-and-a-half billion gallon mandate for ethanol use by petroleum companies over the coming years, almost twice the current amount. Iowa is now the nation’s leader in ethanol production with 16 plants operating statewide and at least ten more plants under construction or planned. 37-hundred Iowans are employed in the ethanol industry. The state’s 16 plants are producing some 920-million gallons of the fuel every year. With ten more plants running, Iowa could be making well over one-point-five billion gallons a year.
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