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State Government News

Lawmakers advance Gov. Reynolds' bill requiring E15 at more fuel pumps

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Katie Peikes
/
IPR file
The bill, proposed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, requires all gas stations in Iowa to sell gasoline with 15 percent ethanol from at least half of their pumps.

Iowa lawmakers advanced a bill out of an Iowa House of Representatives subcommittee Tuesday that requires gas stations to sell fuel with higher blends of ethanol at more of their pumps.

The bill, proposed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, requires all gas stations in Iowa to sell gasoline with 15 percent ethanol from at least half of their pumps. Various renewable fuels and farm groups that support the bill say it promotes biofuels and gives consumers more choices at the pump. Lobbyist Sarah Allen spoke for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association at the House subcommittee meeting.

“We think it gives consumers the ability to purchase E-15 more freely across the state, because that’s not happening right now,” Allen said.

Kevin Kuhle, the state policy adviser for the Iowa Farm Bureau, said Iowa is a leader in ethanol and biodiesel production, “but unfortunately we lag in the consumption of the very fuels that we make right here in Iowa."

Some fuel sellers oppose the bill, including convenience store chain Casey’s General Store, which is headquartered in Ankeny. Mark Beltrame, a lobbyist who represents a coalition of fuel distributors and cooperatives called FUELIowa, said the group is primarily concerned about how small gas stations in rural Iowa will be able to comply.

“We want to make sure that the folks at the last three inches, if you will, at the pump, the retailers, that they’re not penalized or forced to the brink of closing down,” Beltrame said.

In a statement after the subcommittee, Glenn Hasken of Molo Companies, who served as the past chair of FUELIowa, said the group has been “negotiating with all stakeholders” to find a solution that works for everyone.

“But our position is clear—we will not support an approach which puts all of the burden on the most vulnerable small stores in rural Iowa that cannot afford to lose their limited retail fuel options,” Hasken said in a statement.

Reynolds proposed similar legislation last year that allowed just one pump at each site to sell gasoline with no ethanol.