“Biofuels: Policy Swings Shutter Iowa’s Biodiesel Plants”

“WALL LAKE, Iowa — Fifteen years ago, farmers produced so much soybean oil they couldn't figure out what to with it all. It was good for cooking and salad dressing — and not much more.

“We were throwing it away,” recalled Bill Shipley, a farmer and district director with the Iowa Soybean Association.

Then came the renewable fuel standard in 2005, mandating the use of biofuels in the nation's fuel supply. Around the same time, Congress created a federal tax credit for biodiesel producers and blenders. Soybean oil, a leftover from the crushing of beans for animal feed, became a moneymaker — and a player in policy fights over alternative fuels. Ninety-three biodiesel plants across the United States can produce about 2.5 billion gallons a year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

But mixed signals on those policies are feeding new doubts in biofuel country about the Trump administration's support and the industry's continued growth.”

Marc Heller reports for Greenwire February 4, 2020.