DES MOINES, Iowa — The 2022 Iowa legislative session is running almost a week into overtime; and lawmakers are starting to provide more clarity to several key issues that need to be settled.
The Iowa House passed a bill, almost three months ago, that would require gas stations in the state to sell E15 gasoline if they had the equipment to do so. On Monday in the Senate Ways & Means committee, lawmakers passed forward an amended version of that bill to the Senate floor.
“In this amendment, there is a 300,000-gallon waiver, so if you sell under 300,000 gallons in an average year then you get a waiver,” said State Senator Dan Dawson, (R) from Council Bluffs. “And that will probably be the vast, vast majority of our small retailers here in the state of Iowa.”
So as House File 2128 stands, gas stations that sell under that amount of gas a year would not be required to sell E15. The version that passed the House stated that if a gas station didn’t have the proper equipment for biofuel they wouldn’t have to sell it unless they upgraded. This component is something Senate Republicans wanted to clean up.
“It became really confusing and it really wasn’t fair for our smaller retailers so that was one thing the Senate really wanted,” said State Senator Dawson. “Make sure that it is a strong waiver and not just having to go through inspection and tabulate down the road with a sense of uncertainty.”
The bill also includes ways for smaller gas stations can receive financial assistance if they want to upgrade to sell E15 at their pumps.
One Democratic State Senator was against this idea of a mandate in total. He questioned, during the committee debate, if this isn’t big government putting their hand in private business.
“I think a mandate is the wrong approach, it feels a little bit like socialism to me,” said State Senator Joe Bolkcom, (D) from Iowa City. “Government coming in here and telling businesses what they have to sell. So I am having a hard time getting comfortable with this approach.”
Dawson also added during his comments on the biofuels amendment, that this version of the bill is acceptable to House Republicans as well.
“Yes, it is my understanding that the House is in agreement on this language,” said Dawson.
The Senate is set to debate this bill in the chamber on Tuesday and, if passed, the House could see this issue once again. If Republicans from both chambers back this bill it could wind up on the Governor’s desk in just a couple of days.