MASON CITY, Iowa—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), joined by her fellow champions for Iowa’s biofuel industry, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, visited the Renewable Energy Group in Mason City today.
During their stop at the biodiesel production facility, Ernst, Grassley, and Naig met with and answered questions from employees, toured the plant, and discussed recent wins the Iowa leaders helped secure for the biofuel industry.
Click here or on the image above for a video from the stop.
Click HERE for downloadable photos from the visit.
“From securing E15 year-round to extending the biodiesel tax credit, and getting rid of the ‘gap year’ waivers, I’ve been working relentlessly for our renewable fuel producers,” said Senator Ernst, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “Today in Mason City, we discussed these recent wins, and reaffirmed our commitment to advocating on behalf of Iowa’s agriculture community—because the fight for our biofuel industry, and our farmers, is never over.”
“I’ve long worked to support our renewable fuels workers and to ensure the RFS is faithfully implemented. I’m glad to have partnered with Senator Ernst this year to secure the biodiesel tax credit extension, reject gap-year SRE waivers and break down barriers to give consumers the option of E15 at the pump,” said Senator Grassley. “I appreciated the opportunity to tour Renewable Energy Group and hear directly from Iowans on how these policies are affecting their industry. I’ll continue to fight for our farmers and bring their voices to the policymaking tables in Washington.”
“Renewable fuels are critical to Iowa’s economy. They provide jobs in rural communities, additional markets for our crop producers, and give consumers greater access to affordable, cleaner-burning fuels,” said Secretary Naig. “I am proud to continue working alongside Senators Ernst and Grassley to advocate on behalf of Iowa’s agriculture community.”
“We are so appreciative to Senator Ernst for being a tireless and effective advocate for Iowa biodiesel. She recognizes the tremendous benefits our fuel provides for agriculture, the environment, and the rural economy,” said CJ Warner, President & CEO, Renewable Energy Group, Inc.
Last month, the Trump Administration announced they would deny so-called “gap year” petitions for small refinery exemptions (SREs) for past compliance years and clarify the ability of existing fuel infrastructure to support expanded E15 use. Since the “gap year” SREs were announced, Senator Ernst had been calling on the administration to deny the waivers, telling U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler to “throw them in the garbage.” Ernst also blocked the nominee to be the Deputy Administrator at EPA, Doug Benevento, over the gap year waiver issue.
Senator Ernst fought hard to include the biodiesel tax credit in the year-end funding package last year. In December 2019, she successfully helped secure getting a 5 year extension of the biodiesel tax credit signed into law. She also urged the IRS to quickly process claims from 2018 and 2019.
Today, Senator Ernst and Secretary Naig penned an op-ed in the Mason City Globe-Gazette on the importance of biofuels to the state of Iowa.