Iowa’s gubernatorial candidates differ over how to grow the bio-economy.
A provision in the 2002 Farm Bill requires federal agencies to purchase bio-based products if they’re relatively equal in quality, cost and availability. The USDA is testing and identifying products that fit that description. There are about 800 companies nationwide producing bio-based products, and 80 of them are in Iowa.
Democratic candidate Chet Culver says he doesn’t think a mandate is the best way to go. He supports offering incentives to help existing companies grow and to attract new bio-businesses to the state. Culver’s proposed a tax credit for consumers who buy new or used flex-fuel vehicles. He says the state and its consumers and businesses should be encouraged to do more with alternative energy.
Republican candidate Jim Nussle says he supports a state mandate that all fuel dispensed in Iowa be an ethanol blend. Nussle says we should always consider usnig Iowa fuels and locally-based products, particularly if they offer equal quality and price.
In addition to renewable energy consumer bio-products include items from carpeting, socks and plastic to motor lubricants. Many of the companies producing bio-products are located in rural areas, near the source of bio-mass they use for raw material.