biofuels

Dakota County Health Department

The Iowa Department of Public Health shows three more deaths due to complications of COVID-19 and more than 500 new cases, including seven more in Woodbury County. Since the start of the pandemic more than 15,000 Woodbury County residents have tested positive for the virus and 224 deaths.

The 14-day test positivity rate in Woodbury County is 4.1%, this is slightly above the state rate of 4%.

IDPH

The state of Iowa plans to launch a new website tomorrow to provide more information on how to get COVID-19 vaccines.

However, the Governor stressed during a news conference today Iowans will not be able to schedule an appointment on the site www.vaccinate.iowa.gov.

The state also plans to reach out to older Iowans in need of finding a vaccine. Starting on March 8 they will open a 211-call center to answer questions and help with scheduling.

This week on The Exchange, we speak with the author of a new book who tells of his first-hand experience in the oil fields in the boom town of Williston, North Dakota.  Michael Patrick  says his book looks at people who are often surviving financially from week to week. 

We also talk about one of the country’s first carbon capture and storage projects that is associated with an ethanol plant in Marcus, Iowa.  Bruce Rastetter is the CEO of Summit. He says the partnership is a giant step forward for the biofuels industry.

U.S. Senate

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack facing questions today by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. Vilsack who served as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture during the Obama Administration is also the President Biden’s choice for the position.

This morning, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst asked Vilsack his position on biofuels in light of President Biden’s excelleration toward electric vehicles.

Vilsack says there is room for both.

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Ethanol advocates are frustrated with a proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency that they say goes against a promise made by the White House.

Earlier this month President Donald Trump said he had reached a deal to restore demand for ethanol that is lost when the EPA grants waivers to small oil refineries. But biofuels producers say the official EPA proposal would only cover about half of the industry’s annual losses. 

Iowa biofuels groups are calling on President Donald Trump to step in to resolve a dispute with the Environmental Protection Agency.

This week, the EPA released a proposal to make up for lost demand from waivers allowing small oil refineries to use less ethanol and biodiesel. But the plan only covers about half of the industry’s annual losses.  Ethanol producers like Plymouth Energy in Merrill were shut down for weeks at a time this year because of the effect of biofuels waivers to oil refineries.  

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Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says until the U.S. House votes on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, she’s not convinced there’s a case.

Reynolds is an honorary state chairwoman of Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.

Reynolds says the House should focus on issues such as a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.