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Governor Reynolds and Secretary Naig Submit Joint Comments on USDA High Blend Infrastructure Incentive Proposal

 

On Friday, January 31, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued a joint press release highlighting their comments submitted on the United States Department of Agriculture’s proposed High Blend Infrastructure Incentive Program (HBIIP).  The joint comment letter and technical feedback can be viewed at governor.iowa.gov. FUELIowa welcomes the support shown by Governor Reynolds and Secretary Naig toward investment opportunities in biofuels infrastructure.  However, a more concerted focus must be made to ensure USDA’s HBIP infrastructure funding opportunities are made available to Iowa small business owners and operators being able to participate in the lucrative incentives currently driving E15 sales locally.

Under the previous USDA Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership a lone entity was the grant recipient for an estimated 49 of the 68 completed projects.  This time around, for the USDA’s HBIIP to be a success, the USDA must allow for more businesses to participate in the grant program.  To achieve this goal, the USDA must streamline the application process and eliminate as much administrative burden as possible to allow small businesses equal opportunity to apply for funding.  Additionally, the USDA must set a realistic timeline for the completion of a project receiving funding, something Governor Reynolds and Secretary Naig correctly identified as an area of concern in their comments.  Under the previous BIP program, successful applicants were required to complete their project within the calendar year during which it was awarded.

The compatibility of existing retail infrastructure has always has been the primary barrier to the expansion of E15 at retail fueling locations across Iowa.  In fact, the overwhelming majority of locations currently selling E15 in Iowa have received grant funding through Iowa’s Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Grant Program, Growth Energy’s Prime the Pump initiative, USDA BIP Funding or some combination thereof.  In order for retail fuel marketers to incorporate E15 into their product slate to accommodate state and federal fuels policy, programs like the USDA’s proposed HBIIP cannot be tailored to advantage certain types of retailers at the expense of others.  FUELIowa will be working closely with our national association PMAA and the USDA throughout the development of the USDA’s HBIIP program to make sure all businesses have an opportunity to take advantage of the funding available.  Click Here to read the comments submitted by PMAA on behalf of their member state associations.

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