Gov. Reynolds Calls for a $2 Million Increase in Aid for Biofuels

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Nicole Welle | January 28, 2021

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday that her state budget calls for a $2 million increase in funding for the biofuels industry, and she hopes to work with the Biden Administration to help the industry further recover from setbacks caused by the pandemic.

Gov. Reynolds spoke at the virtual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit, an annual event that brings together government officials, industry professionals and activists from across the Midwest to discuss the future of biofuels. She said that her $2 million addition to the $3 million renewable fuel infrastructure program would help to convert gas pumps to accommodate higher blends of ethanol. The program would also receive an additional $5 million from a change in fuel retailer tax credits under Reynolds’ plan, according to an Iowa Capitol Dispatch article.

The funds would add to the combined $19 million in CARES Act federal relief aid that the state used to back retail outlets and keep ethanol refineries open last year. Reynolds and several other summit speakers said that they hope the Biden administration will bring new attention to biofuels as it moves to address climate change. Iowa senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst have also joined Reynolds in fighting the EPA’s exemptions that allow small refineries to avoid required biofuels blending, and Reynolds hopes the new EPA administrator will discontinue the exemptions this year.

President Biden has made reducing carbon emissions one of his top priorities. Summit speaker Emily Skor, CEO of biofuels trade organization Growth Energy, said that growing the biofuels industry will accelerate the country’s transition to the zero-emissions future that Biden has advocated for. She added that biofuels have accounted for 75% of California’s carbon emissions reductions over the past ten years, and they will greatly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels over time.

On the Radio: Emerald Ash Borer

Photo by USDAgov; Flickr

This week’s On the Radio segment covers the emerald ash borer, and the predictions for Iowa’s ash trees. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.

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Iowa’s state parks get a makeover

Lake MacBride State Park. Photo by Macomb Paynes, Flickr.

A boost in funding will make a noticeable difference in Iowa’s state parks this year.

In 2011, budget cuts led to the elimination of maintenance workers at the parks. Because of this, the parks’ quality suffered, leading many park goers to complain about unkempt lawns.

As recently as 2008, there were 325 seasonal maintenance workers in Iowa. That number dropped to 85 last year. Largely because of the complaints, the seasonal maintenance staff will increase to about 175 by the fall.

The new state budget will also add a half million dollars towards maintenance, but most of that money will go towards pay raises.

Read more from The Gazette here.