State legislators and the governor say promoting the state’s ethanol industry is one of their priorities this year, but it’s unclear today exactly what lawmakers can agree upon. Senate Co-President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, has long sought an ethanol mandate that would require gas stations in Iowa to sell only ethanol-blended fuels.
Kibbie now is just hoping to get something anything passed, and he’s losing patience. “It’s a very important issue. Everybody talks about it, so let’s do something about it,” Kibbie says. “We had 500 Corn Growers in here the other day supporting the Corn Growers bill, but I don’t think it moved any (legislator) off of the dime.”
The focus in the Senate is in the Ag Committee where three competing ethanol-related bills await review. Kibbie says he’ll put more pressure on the Senate Ag Committee this week to try to advance some ethanol-friendly legislation. “We’re the number one ag state. We’ve got people around here talking about being ag leaders,” Kibbie says. “Let’s move forward.”
Governor Tom Vilsack said last week a combination of incentives and tax breaks is the most likely package that’ll win approval. Key lawmakers say the incentives, particularly the state grants for gas stations that install new tanks to dispense E-85, will likely be part of an ethanol package.