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Iowans pressing for more biofuels language from Biden administration

Biofuel investments are only mentioned once in President Joe Biden's infrastructure plan, while the legislation sets aside $174 billion for electric vehicles.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Some Iowa farmers say they feel President Joe Biden isn’t following through on campaign promises made about the ethanol and renewable fuels industry.

During his campaign, Biden made a promise to promote biofuels, but in the American Jobs Plan, the president's infrastructure proposal, the path envisioned to get the country to cleaner energy sources focuses on electric vehicles and not renewable fuels. 

"Yes we're disappointed that the investment wasn't mentioned in the infrastructure bill," Madrid farmer Morey Hill said. "But we're also very happy what was mentioned to get things built back up for our roads, bridges, locks and dams."

The president's plan sets aside $174 billion for electric vehicles.

It only mentions biofuels once, as part of an investment into a variety of research projects. 

“His plan will invest $15 billion in demonstration projects for climate [research and development] priorities, including utility-scale energy storage, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen, advanced nuclear, rare earth element separations, floating offshore wind, biofuel/bioproducts, quantum computing and electric vehicles," a fact sheet published on the White House website says. 

Local farmers feel the president is missing out on a big industry that can help reduce carbon gas emissions. 

"Agriculture can do a lot to sequester carbon and is really a friend to the environment," said Tim Bardole, a farmer in Rippey. "Yet we don't hear anything from the Biden administration since the election."

"Even [U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom] Vilsack has mentioned how important biofuels and renewable is going to be to get toward the administration's goal of electric vehicles," Hill said.

While he'd like Biden to pay a bit more attention to farmers, Hill said there is one thing giving him peace of mind: An Iowan is in Washington. 

"I have to be optimistic with Sec. Vilsack being back at USDA," Hill continued. "That probably gives the president and the administration a little bit more grounding as far as how important agriculture is to the economy of the whole country. With that voice, I'm just hopeful that the president will remember his commitments to agriculture and the American farmer and that we can all work together and move forward."

Local 5’s Rachel Droze reached out to the Biden administration to find out how much of the $15 billion is earmarked specifically for biofuels and bioproducts and if there are other plans in the works targeting the renewable fuels industry, but as of Tuesday evening, we haven’t heard back.

Recently, Iowa’s GOP delegation put pressure on the administration about this issue. They sent the president a letter urging him to stand by the promises he made to farmers about renewable fuels during his campaign.

RELATED: GOP senators propose $928B infrastructure plan to Biden

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