Lawmaker introduces bill for renewable fuel infrastructure

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2014 - Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, introduced legislation (H.R. 4051) Wednesday that would establish a grant program through USDA to invest in renewable and alternative fuel infrastructure.

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The Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion and Leadership (Re-FUEL) Act aims to help create new infrastructure, as well as retrofit existing infrastructure, for pumps for biofuels and hydrogen, tanks, piping, and electric vehicle chargers. The bill would authorize grants up to $100,000.

“I believe in making things in America and there is no reason our fuel sources shouldn't be made here as well,” Loebsack said. “It's also important that consumers are able to choose where their fuel source comes from when they go to fill up.”

Bob Dinneen, president and chief executive officer of Renewable Fuels Association, applauded the introduction of the bill, saying that it creates a competitive grant program to assist fuel retailers with investments in renewable and alternative fuel/energy sources.

“The Re-FUEL Act will encourage fuel and energy diversity which will not only introduce consumer choice at the pump, it will deliver cost-saving options to foreign fossil fuels,” Dinneen said.

“The pace at which the renewable fuel advantages will be available to American drivers is greatly sped up by the fact that the proposed grants can be used for infrastructure like new blender pumps as well as retrofitting existing pumps, pipes, tanks and chargers,” Dinneen said.

Dinneen said demand for alternative fuels such as E15 and E85 is rapidly increasing in the Midwest. “Placing a priority on rural America is a welcomed approach,” Dinneen said.

The grants would be funded by amounts received each fiscal year from royalties for the production of oil under oil and gas leases granted under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

The legislation comes after the recent proposal by EPA to lower the Renewable Fuel Standard requirement.

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