Two Democratic leaders in the legislature say a bill designed to boost the state’s “biofuels” industry is one of the triumphs of the 2006 session which concluded this week.
Senate Co-President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, says it’s a complicated proposal, but the grants available for installation of E-85 pumps should make that higher-blend of ethanol more available to consumers.
Kibbie says there’ll be an “education period” to teach the oil companies what’s available from both the state and federal government. Kibbie also hopes more automobile manufacturers make more “flexible-fuel” models. Kibbie drives a white 2006 Ford F-150 “flex-fuel” truck.
On the way down to Des Moines this past week, Kibbie filled up in Humboldt, buying E-85 that was selling for $2.07. Regular unleaded was selling for 60 cents more per gallon at the same station. Kibbie says a new E-85 pump will open in Emmetsburg next month.
“We need to fuel these vehicles out of our corn fields,” Kibbie says. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says Iowa’s ethanol industry is reaching a milestone. It will produce more fuel than Iowans consume and Gronstal says it’ll make Iowa an energy exporter for the first time in its history.
Gronstal says that will keep the wealth of energy development in Iowa, and it’ll be good for the environment, too. Not only is ethanol a cleaner-burning fuel, but a byproduct of ethanol is fed to cattle.
“The byproduct — the wet mash — helps bring back the cattle industry in this state. That helps take erodible land out of production as (farmers) grow alfalfa and grasses,” Gronstal says. “It is a stunning change to the Iowa economy and we literally have the best renewable fuels legislation in the country.”