An ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa.
An ethanol plant in West Burlington, Iowa.

As I travel throughout the 16 counties of the Third District each month, I get the opportunity to learn firsthand about the new technologies Iowans are using to more efficiently produce biofuels and harness renewable energy to power our state and country. The renewable energy economy in Iowa has created high-paying jobs, increased exports valuable to America’s economy and ultimately helped Iowa families save more of their hard-earned money.

During my time in Congress, I’ve been a strong advocate for our biofuels economy.

Earlier this month, an amendment to protect renewable energy I offered to the Make American Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act passed unanimously. My amendment removed a harmful provision in the bill prohibiting the Department of Agriculture (USDA) from using funds to “develop, facilitate, or expand production of, an alternative fuel” for the Department of Defense (DoD).

In addition to protecting jobs and our environment, the renewable energy sector could be strategically beneficial to our military. It’s important the DoD has the flexibility to work with other agencies to find other sources of energy since homegrown fuels reduce our reliance on foreign sources of energy that could present challenges to our national security.

By removing the restriction on allowing the DoD to work with the USDA, Iowans will continue to have the ability to contribute to our military’s energy supply and researchers across the state can continue to work on groundbreaking discoveries to increase America’s energy independence without facing unnecessary Washington-imposed hurdles. Additionally, the tens of thousands of jobs in the renewable energy sector will be protected as the industry continues to grow.

A recent report from the Clean Energy Trust shows job growth across the renewable energy sector is happening 11 times faster than all other sectors in Iowa. This job growth coupled with the importance of allowing our military to have the freedom to make choices to improve our national security while also potentially saving taxpayer dollars is why it was important for me to remove this restriction to the development of renewable energy.

Iowans know using renewable energy creates competition in the market which helps to drive down the cost to consumers, grows our local economies, and puts more money in the pockets of our families – this is why our great state is a leader in alternative fuels and why I’ve continually pressed the EPA to get the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) back on track. The RFS, which was created by Congress, requires transportation fuels have a minimum amount of renewable fuels blended into them. The RFS provides consumers with fuel choices, increases energy independence, boosts rural economies and protects the environment.

Americans want fuel ‘Made in America’.  It not only protects us from market volatility, but it keeps your energy dollars in America – supporting communities around the country. By continuing our commitment to American made renewable energy, we can support farmers in Iowa and those across the country who are working to ensure we have real energy security.

Talking with the folks across the Third District, they are proud to see the crops our farmers grow are powering vehicles and moving people and America’s goods across the country. Our farmers are working hard to fuel the country and feed the world, and I’m honored to continue to fight for them in Congress to ensure Washington, DC dictates don’t hinder their important work.

1 comment
  1. If by ‘biofuels’ one includes corn-based ethanol, then no. That is program is a boondoggle — Essentially welfare for farmers and corporations. It makes little sense to waste economic and land resources on that program. Soy-based ‘biodiesel’ has similar issues of net efficiency.

    If you’re talking about cellulosic-based fuels, that it a process that remains to be developed.

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