2020 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit Recap

The 2020 Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit took place on January 16th and attracted over 700 registered attendees. The day was full of exciting speakers and thought-provoking roundtable discussions on the future of renewable fuels and how the industry can Empower! Promote! and Advocate! for biofuels. 

State of the Industry Address

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw kicked off the day with his “State of the Industry” address, declaring the biofuels industry “frustrated but focused.” 

EMPOWER: Is Your Fuel Killing You and How Biofuels Can Help

The first roundtable of the day was a discussion of the dangers of petroleum aromatics in gasoline and how ethanol can help reduce exposure to harmful emissions. The roundtable featured Carol Werner, former Executive Director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute and Dr. Steffen Mueller, Principal Economist at the University of Illinois at Chicago Energy Resources Center. 

Click here to view Mueller’s presentation.

Erin Brockovich and The Power of One

Best known for her role in the largest toxic tort injury settlement case in U.S. history, Erin Brockovich is no stranger to fighting injustice, even against some of the most powerful opponents. At the Summit Brockovich addressed the crowd on “The Power of One,” encouraging biofuels advocates to keep fighting for the industry. 

Iowa Caucus Reporters Roundtable

With the Iowa Caucuses around the corner, three Iowa reporters sat down at the Summit to discuss what issues were on the minds of rural Iowans and how Presidential candidates were addressing those issues on the campaign trail. This roundtable featured Dustin Hoffman, farm broadcaster with the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network; Pat Rynard, founder and managing editor of Iowa Starting Line; and Kathie Obradovich, editor-in-chief for Iowa Capital Dispatch.

USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky

The day of the 2020 Summit, USDA launched an open comment period for the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program, a program to help U.S. retailers and terminals install the necessary infrastructure to offer higher blends of biofuels. USDA Deputy Secretary Censky touted this program among other efforts at USDA to increase trade and access to renewable fuels. 

Industry Keynote – Geoff Cooper, Renewable Fuels Association

Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper keynoted the 2020 Summit, focusing his speech on four predictions for the biofuels industry for 2020 and beyond:
1) The RFS Wars Will Continue…and Intensify
2) The Low Carbon Fuel Standard Will Spread
3) Export Growth Returns
4) E15 Becomes the New Regular

Click here to view Cooper’s presentation.

ADVOCATE: Review, Reset, Reshape – Policy Outlook Roundtable

From the biodiesel tax credit to refinery exemptions to the RFS, 2019 was a busy year for biofuels policy. The policy outlook roundtable went over key events of 2019 as well as what these experts see on the horizon for biofuels policy in 2020 and beyond. The roundtable featured Federal Government Affairs Manager for Dupont James Carstensen, Renewable Fuels Association CEO Geoff Cooper, Biofuels Advisor for National Farmers Union Anne Steckel, Director of Federal Affairs for National Biodiesel Board David Cobb, and was moderated by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw. 

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds once again addressed the 2020 Summit. During her speech she highlighted the importance of biofuels to Iowa’s economy, and touted her efforts to support the industry – including supporting the Iowa Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Funding and biofuels tax credits and signing an executive order that all new state diesel vehicles must be approved for B20 use. She also highlighted her efforts on a national level to fight for the Renewable Fuel Standard. 

PROMOTE: Myth or Must? Exporting Four Billion Gallons

The Summit wrapped up with a roundtable discussion on trade, featuring USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Ken Isley and Lucas Szabo, manager of global ethanol market development for U.S. Grains Council. The pair discussed the future of important trade markets for U.S. biofuels.