MENLO, Iowa — President Joe Biden visited Iowa Tuesday as the first stop of his administration's new "rural infrastructure tour."
Biden landed in Des Moines shortly after 1 p.m. He spoke at the POET Bioprocessing plant in Menlo to formally announce a temporary suspension of a federal rule that prevents the sale of E15 gas during the summer.
"We're not just learning and leaning on our reserves and our allies and partners to help bring down gas prices and to power the nation," Biden said. "We're leaning on you. Our farmers, our biofuel refiners."
"The Administration’s strategy to spur the development of homegrown biofuels is critical to expanding Americans’ options for affordable fuel in the short-term and to building real energy independence in the long-term by reducing our reliance on fossil fuels," the White House said in a release.
Year-round access to E15 is something Iowa officials have long been asking for, with Republicans asking the White House for years to expand ethanol sales.
"I’ve made repeated calls for E15 yr round bc it’s good for environment good for natl security good 4farmers," Sen. Chuck Grassley tweeted Monday.
"This announcement is certainly welcome news for Iowans," Sen. Joni Ernst said in a statement Tuesday.
“Thank you to the Biden Administration for this very welcome news," Gov Kim Reynolds said in a statement." While there is more to be done from the Administration to address high energy and fuel prices, unrestricted access to E15 is a great first step."
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says this change will benefit Iowans.
"We have more at stake in expanding demand, almost all Americans about 95 percent of fuel we sell in the United States is E10. And so if we're going to grow demand for domestic biofuels like ethanol, we need to get to those higher blends," Executive Director Monte Shaw told Local 5.
Biden also spoke about what the 2021 infrastructure bill means for rural communities.
"This investment is going to help connect entire towns and regions and new opportunities," he said at POET.
"Supporting Americans living in rural areas remains a top priority for the Biden Administration, and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers on the President’s promises to provide high speed internet, safe roads and bridges, modern wastewater systems, clean drinking water, reliable and affordable electricity, and good paying jobs in every rural community."
Biden last visited Iowa in October 2020, just before the presidential election.