By Rita Hart
Special to the Herald
---- — Clean energy just makes sense to me, and I was happy to vote for several Senate bills that are good for the environment and the economy as well. As a leader in wind energy and ethanol, Iowa is showing the nation that clean energy works.
Bipartisan support for expanding production is helping Iowa create good jobs that strengthen our middle class.
Here are three bills that we approved in the Senate this session to build on Iowa’s reputation for clean energy and renewable fuels, as well as the good jobs these industries create:
n Senate File 2340 triples the amount of solar energy tax credits available to Iowa farmers, homeowners and businesses. It builds on the success of Iowa’s 2012 tax credit, which encourages Iowans to install solar energy systems.
Jobs were created and many Iowa businesses became skilled at installing and operating solar systems. By tripling the solar tax credit, Iowa is responding to the growing demand for solar power and maximizing the benefit for Iowans from federal solar tax credits, which expire at the end of 2016.
n Senate File 2343 extends the deadline to complete wind and other projects using Iowa’s Renewable Energy Tax Credits. It also allows landfill gas to be used as fuel for innovative cogeneration projects. The carbon footprint of Iowa ethanol is already lower than that of fossil fuels.
By adding cogeneration processes to the mix, Iowa will produce even fewer greenhouse gases.
n Senate File 2344 strengthens and diversifies Iowa’s leadership in biofuels. It increases the tax credit for E15 during the hot summer months; extends Iowa’s biodiesel production tax credit for five years to retain and attract biodiesel producers; and adds an advanced biofuel, biobutanol, to Iowa’s renewable fuels industry.
Encouraging the production of new fuels that take advantage of Iowa’s agricultural strengths pays off in good jobs, technology investment, and cleaner air and water.
These bills are now being considered by the Iowa House, where my colleague Rep. Steve Olson (R-DeWitt) serves.
This week Rep. Olson and Sen. Nancy Boettger (R-Harlan) were named the recipients of the Herbert Hoover Uncommon Public Service award. Each year one state senator and one state representative are chosen for this award.
A recipient “exemplifies and demonstrates honesty, integrity, and uncommon and extraordinary public service to the people of Iowa”. I believe that both Rep. Olson and Sen. Boettger fit that description. Since Rep. Olson represents half of my district, I have gotten to know him well.
I have truly appreciated his advice and example, and I hope you’ll join me in congratulating him on this nice honor.
Senator Rita Hart represents Clinton County and northern Scott County in the Iowa Senate.