More than 600 people turned out for the 8th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit including hundreds of consumers from around Iowa who wanted to learn more about renewable fuels. Speaking with Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (Iowa RFA), the largest state organization in the U.S. focused on biofuels, noted that there were some consumer driven panels on E15 and biodiesel. In addition, there was a panel featuring four cellulosic projects taking place in Iowa.
The morning focused on the legislative side of biofuels and Shaw noted that the conference landed on the last day of the EPA comment period for their 2014 proposed volumes as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). During the show more than 250 people submitted comments to the EPA.
“We’re really optimistic that its going to be very difficult for the EPA to be able to ignore the wealth of information as well as the grassroots support for not messing with the RFS,” said Shaw.
Iowa is number one in ethanol production with about 13.8 billion gallons and number one in biodiesel production with 230 billion gallons. “So we have more at stake than any other state,” said Shaw, “so we have taken the responsibility very seriously to lead the charge.” Shaw said there is bipartisan support around the country for the RFS and he is concerned that a loss of the program could lead to another farm crisis.
I asked Shaw why consumers should care if there is less renewable fuel in our gas. He explained that in Iowa alone, a consumer saves at least 23 cents a gallon for ten percent ethanol (E10). “If you take ethanol out of gas, it’s more expensive,” said Shaw. “It’s just that simply. Even Washington DC, whose not very good with numbers, even they should be able to do that math.”
Shaw also stressed that this fight is not over. Consumers should still call President Obama and tell him they want biofuels. And IRFA will continue the fight as well.
Listen to my full interview with Monte Shaw here: IRFA Attendees Roar in Support of Biofuels