Congressman Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, announced Wednesday the introduction of legislation that would establish a grant program through the USDA to invest in renewable and alternative fuel infrastructure.
The Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion and Leadership Act, Loebsack says, will help create new and retrofit existing infrastructure to benefit renewable fuel sources. Improvements would include pumps for biofuels and hydrogen, tanks, piping and electric vehicle chargers.
The legislation is paid for and does not add to the deficit, he says.
"I believe in making things in America and there is no reason our fuel sources shouldn't be made here as well. It's also important that consumers are able to choose where their fuel source comes from when they go to fill up.
"Too often, infrastructure constraints are cited as the reason for not giving consumers the choices they deserve. This holds back the development of our renewable and alternative energy sources that create jobs in Iowa and across the country," Loebsack said.
The Re-FUEL Act is intended to bridge that divide by making investments to provide more choices at the pump.
"We must do more to decrease our dependence on foreign oil, expand our use of renewable energy sources that boost economic development in our rural areas, and promote homegrown fuel sources such as biofuels and wind power," he said.
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Renewable fuels group Growth Energy supported the legislation Wednesday, suggesting that it could move the U.S. toward acceptance of more biofuels.
"I commend Congressman Loebsack for introducing legislation that supports America's consumers, rural communities and growing biofuels industry," Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said. "By supporting renewable fuel infrastructure, this legislation will help push our nation toward energy independence and give consumers some much needed choice and savings at the pump."
Loebsack's plan includes providing grants to projects that improve distribution of fuel or energy that is currently not widely available or provides a new infrastructure plan or a retrofit of old infrastructure.
The maximum grant amount for any entity in a year would be $100,000.
Loebsack's legislation comes shortly after some opponents of changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency suggesting that infrastructure to distribute higher blends of ethanol would boost consumption of the fuel and negate an RFS change.