President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan contains billions of dollars in tax giveaways to electric vehicle manufacturers so the U.S. will move toward an all-electric fleet. While forcing Americans to exclusively embrace electric cars would be a boon for some industries, it would be devastating to the renewable fuels industry.
In a recent op-ed, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst expressed her intense concern about the Biden Administration’s electric car push as it will destroy Iowa’s biofuel industry.
“If the entire United States moves to all-electric vehicles—like the Biden-Harris Administration wants—say goodbye to Iowa-grown biofuel and the livelihoods of the hardworking folks who labor night and day to provide these clean fuel options”
Iowa’s Republican congressional delegation has come out firmly against Biden’s proposal. However, Iowa’s lone congressional Democrat has been guarded in her statements. So far, Rep. Axne says she is concerned.
“On the call, Rep. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) raised concerns about the impact of transitioning to an electric vehicle fleet on farmers in Iowa, given the role of ethanol in gasoline production, the people said. Several lawmakers on the call also asked Buttigieg to press for high-speed rail, the people said.”
Iowa is a national leader in biofuel production. The state has 11 Biodiesel and 43 Ethanol refineries, according to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. They also maintain that the industry contributes almost $4 billion to Iowa’s GDP and underpins over 37,000 jobs in the state.
Ron Heck, a farmer from Central Iowa, hopes Axne will oppose the plan and worried about the cost of her support would mean in terms of jobs lost for the state.
“I’m an all of the above person when it comes to energy. Renewable fuels are smart economically, environmentally, and energy and food security-wise,” he explained. “This is just the Biden administration cherry-picking their favorite industries at the expense of another.”
“Liquid renewable fuels use sunlight to not only create energy but also increase the food supply and capture carbon,” stated Heck. He went on to say this was not political for him; it was about what is right for Iowa.
In the past, representative Cindy Axne tried to position herself as a moderate Democrat, but Republicans point out that she votes with Nancy Pelosi over 90% of the time. Recently she even stood with Pelosi when she tried to overturn the results in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Speaker Pelosi has made it clear that the infrastructure proposal is a major priority for Democrats. That makes it difficult to imagine that Axne would break with the Speaker and her party on such a significant issue, even if it comes at the expense of Iowa jobs and its economy.