One of the Republicans who’s running for state Ag Secretary says Iowa should enforce the same kind of “clean air” rules that have forced drivers in the nation’s largest cities to burn ethanol-blended fuel. Bill Northey, a corn and soybean farmer from Spirit Lake, formally kicked off his campaign this (Monday) morning. “I think we need to work towards more demand for ethanol in Iowa,” Northey says. He’s interested in a strategy that would take the “renewable fuel standard” in place for American cities — to help reduce smog — and make it Iowa law. Northey says retailers would start selling a higher-blend of ethanol, and motorists who’re already choosing the 10 percent ethanol blend would end up using a greater proportion of ethanol every time they fill their tank. Northey believes targeting retailers — by enforcing fines if they don’t sell enough ethanol — will mean better marketing of ethanol, and he says it’s a better alternative to forcing every gas pump in the state to only dispense an ethanol-blend. Northey says fuel companies would be required to sell a certain percentage of ethanol. To be able to meet the goal of having 25 percent of fuel sold be ethanol in 2015, Northey says fuel companies would have to sell more concentrated forms of ethanol, like the so-called E-85 blend which is 85 percent ethanol but available in few places in Iowa. A law in Minnesota forces all gasoline dispensed in that state to be a 10 percent ethanol blend. Northey says his proposal would yield greater results for corn farmers. “It would require more ethanol use than a straight 10 percent requirement,” Northey says. One other Republican, Mark Leonard of Holstein, has formally announced they’re running for state Ag Secretary. Karey Kleghorn, a Republican from Milo, has said she is considering a bid for the job. The Democrats competing for the job are Brent Halling of Perry and Eddie Peterson, a former member of the Webster County Board of Supervisors.
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