Feenstra bills would study EV industry, potential of biofuels

U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA) recently proposed three pieces of legislation that aim to help consumers and taxpayers save money at the pump by advancing biofuels research while bolstering demand for corn, soybeans, and biofuels produced in his home state of Iowa.

“As the top-producing congressional district of ethanol and biodiesel, I am proud to introduce three bills that will pump the brakes on President Biden’s out-of-touch electric vehicle agenda, advance biofuels research, and make the impossible in energy production possible,” Rep. Feenstra said on Feb. 16.

The bills would end President Joe Biden’s subsidization of the electric vehicle (EV) industry, research the potential of biofuels to power jet engines, and develop a commercially viable fuel cell system for cars and trucks powered by biofuels, he said.

“In Iowa, every other row of corn and soybeans produces low-cost, low-carbon ethanol and biodiesel,” said Rep. Feenstra. “As a result, the vitality of our rural economy relies on a strong biofuels industry and a thriving agricultural sector. These three bills will support both.” 

Rep. Feenstra on Feb. 9 sponsored the Comparison of Sustainable Transportation (COST) Act, H.R. 912, with five Republican original cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Mike Bost (R-IL), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA).

If enacted, H.R. 912 would direct the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Energy Secretary to compare the financial and environmental costs between replacing the entire federal gasoline-powered fleet with either EVs or E-85 capable flex-fuel cars and trucks, according to a bill summary provided by the congressman’s staff.

Also on Feb. 9, Rep. Feenstra sponsored the Biofuel Cell Research Act, H.R. 910, with three GOP original cosponsors, including Rep. Miller-Meeks, to direct the Energy Secretary to establish a research, development, and demonstration program for a commercially viable fuel cell system that uses biofuels as the main fuel source, according to the congressional record summary.

The congressman on the same day also sponsored the Biojet Fuel Research Act, H.R. 909, which would direct the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish a working group focused on identifying research and development needs to produce biojet fuel, the bill summary says. 

Under H.R. 909, which Reps. Miller-Meeks and Bost also cosponsored, the working group would consist of the U.S. Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, biorefinery stakeholders, and agriculture research universities, among others.

The Iowa Corn Growers Association, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, Green Plains Inc., and Growth Energy endorsed the bills, which Rep. Feenstra first introduced in the 117th Congress, according to his staff.