April 17, 2024

Ernst shares concerns about green initatives

Senator Joni Ernst talked with rural Iowans during her town hall meeting in Lenox on Monday.

LENOX - During Senator Joni Ernst’s visit to Lenox on Monday hosting of a town hall, she expressed her thoughts on recent green initiatives. Her main talking points were based on keeping renewable fuel production within the US while also talking about the availability of infrastructure in the state.

Competition between the US and Brazil for ethanol and biodiesel fuel was also a concern for rural Iowans. The strict regulation of ethanol in the US leading to more acceptance of imported Brazil-produced ethanol has been difficult.

“The folks out in D.C. don’t appreciate corn ethanol,” Ernst said. “But heaven forbid, if it comes from Brazil, it’s OK. It doesn’t make sense. We’re pushing for a different model that would be more friendly to the products we have here in Iowa.”

E15 was used as a positive example of renewable fuel being introduced to rural areas. However, the lack of availability for the seasonal fuel was a concern for rural citizens, requesting regulations to make the fuel available year-round.

Ernst offered praise for E15, sharing she fueled her vehicle with the fuel that morning. She also shared the EPA had approved the fuel for year-round availability starting in 2025. An emergency waiver has been filed for Iowa, which Ernst claims will hopefully be available for the state by the summer driving season.

In addition, Ernst wants to push back against the introduction of electric vehicles, citing a few key reasons.

First, Ernst says the manufacturing of electric vehicles will create a larger carbon footprint than other liquid fuel vehicles, citing batteries being manufactured in China and child labor in mining operations in Africa.

The infrastructure available for electric vehicles is also limiting their growth in rural Iowa, with charging stations being unavailable. “We just don’t have the infrastructure for the EVs,” said Ernst. “If every family had an EV, I don’t know how we get them charged when our grid would not support that.”

While government support for building charging stations along major highways is available, the lack of demand in rural areas means the money available isn’t being used, according to Ernst.

In regards to whether electric vehicles could be used in the agriculture industry, Ernst denies the possibility. “There’s just not enough power coming out of electric vehicles to do what we need to do in our everyday lives here in Iowa,” she said.

Renewable aviation fuel became a small topic, with Ernst advising caution around the governments push for the idea. “We can’t just flip a switch and overnight we’re going to convert all of our ethanol producing plants into sustainable aviation fuel plants,” she said. “It doesn’t happen like that.”

Nick Pauly

News Reporter for Creston News Advertiser. Raised and matured in the state of Iowa, Nick Pauly developed a love for all forms of media, from books and movies to emerging forms of media such as video games and livestreaming.