Capitol Notebook: AG Miller asks Biden for an ethanol waiver

Allowing year-round sales of E15 would reduce fuel prices for motorists

EMERGENCY ETHANOL WAIVER: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to allow the sale of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol – E15 – this summer to lower prices at the pump.

“This will relieve the citizens of our states from volatile and record gas prices, including price increases caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said a letter from Miller and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, to Michael Regan, Administrator of the EPA. .

Miller, a Democrat seeking re-election, joins many Republicans and ethanol industry leaders in calling on the Biden administration to use E15 to ease gas price pressures on consumers.

Air quality regulations prohibit the sale of E15 from June 1 through September 15 in many parts of the United States. The EPA has the authority to allow E15 fuel to be sold year-round when “extreme or unusual fuel or fuel additive supply circumstances exist.”

Schmidt and Miller stated that “issuing the waiver would result in both lower prices at the pump and lower overall tailpipe emissions” because E15 has lower emissions than E10, which can be sold all year round.

Iowa and Kansas are among the top ethanol producers in the country.

RETIREMENT SPEECH: Another sign that the end of the legislature is approaching are the retirement speeches. However, with 18 House members retiring, Speaker pro tempore John Wills, R-Spirit Lake, made some changes to keep the legislative process moving.

He asked lawmakers to simply applaud their outgoing colleagues and then continue with legislative activity. In the past, they were followed by queues with lawmakers congratulating the retiree. Wills said each speech usually takes half an hour. However, there is no time limit for retirement speeches.

Rep. Dave Williams, D-Cedar Falls, who has served two terms, was the first to deliver a retirement speech on Monday.

GOP Representatives Cecil Dolecheck of Mount Ayr, Jarad Klein of Keota and Ross Paustian of DeWitt, and Democratic Representative Molly Donahue of Cedar Rapids also gave retirement speeches.

MNR LAND INVENTORY: Legislation requiring the Department of Natural Resources to continue to maintain the publicly available inventory of state-managed or state-owned lands that began in 2018 was approved 85-12.

SF 2323 Bill requires DNR to maintain inventory on its website and update inventory within 60 days of acquiring a new property or acquiring a management interest in a property. It also adds reporting requirements for county conservation councils, said Representative Shannon Latham, R-Sheffield.

The state owns about 1% of Iowa’s 36 million acres. There are 390,111 acres under MNR jurisdiction. This represents approximately 40% of the total conservation and recreation lands open to the public.

The majority – 378,526 acres – is managed by the DNR as wildlife management areas, state parks and recreation areas, and state forests. All are open for public use. Over 40,000 of those acres are lakes.

Nearly 11,600 state-owned acres under DNR jurisdiction are managed by another entity, most often county conservation boards.

Land acquisition by the DNR peaked in the 1990s at nearly 70,000 acres. Since then, DNR acquisitions have dropped from about 35,000 acres in each of the past two decades to less than 5,000 acres this decade.

SF 2323 was previously approved by the Senate, 45-0.

Des Moines Gazette Office

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