Iowa congressman calls for ethanol pipeline

By Erin Voegele | August 04, 2008
Web exclusive posted August 22, 2008 at 2:52 p.m. CST

U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, along with representatives from the Magellan Pipeline Co., Iowa Corn Growers Association and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, held a press conference Aug. 20 to highlight the need to improve the infrastructure to transport ethanol. Boswell, along with representatives from the organizations, stressed the importance of pipeline development and the passage of the Renewable Fuels Pipeline Act.

In July, Boswell and U.S. Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., introduced the Renewable Fuel Pipeline Act, which would qualify a renewable fuel pipeline as an eligible project under the federal loan guarantee program within the U.S. DOE. The act would amend the loan guarantee program under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, allowing a renewable fuel pipeline to qualify as an eligible project, along with increasing the loan guarantee rate to 90 percent.

"Biofuels are a win-win for the American farmer and the American consumer," Boswell said. "However, we are in dire need of a safe and cost effective way to transport it to the rest of the country. This legislation will help give companies the security they need to move forward on a renewable fuel pipeline. This is a first big step in helping bring renewable fuels in large volumes to consumers on the East and West coasts."

Don Wellendorf, Megellan's president and chief executive officer said passage of the legislation would help promote innovative transportation options and assist in meeting the nation's growing need for renewable fuels. "Pipelines have consistently been chosen over the years as the safest, most reliable and cost effective method for moving liquid fuels. A renewable fuel pipeline project from the Midwest to the East Coast would be a major step in bringing ethanol into the traditional petroleum infrastructure system."

Congressman Boswell's bill would help bridge a key gap between the distribution network of today and the one that is needed to meet the 36-billion gallon federal Renewable Fuels Standard, said Iowa Renewable Fuel Association's Executive Director Monte Shaw. "Enabling a renewable fuels pipeline from the Midwest to the New York Harbor will ensure most cost effective transportation options for ethanol producers on one side and even more affordable domestic fuel supplies for east coast consumers on the other," he said.

"Encouraging ethanol pipelines can give more Americans access to ethanol fuels," said Roger Zylstra, an Iowa Corn Growers Association director and farmer from Lynnville, Iowa. "It's a win-win situation because Iowa farmers can improve their profitability by supplying ethanol, and at the same time, using ethanol can lower fuel prices for other U.S. consumers the way it has here in Iowa."