Buttigieg non-committal on biofuels; says Iranian oil imports a possibility

by | Mar 4, 2022 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Many of us in the Midwest know that there has been pushback from the Biden Administration on biofuels. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are working to find a way to show the President that biofuels are an available option now, while we work towards electrification. The President told Iowa voters during the campaign that he stood by them and the production of biofuels for a cleaner environment. However, he hasn?t shown that commitment now that he is in office.

Earlier this week U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to discuss a wide range of infrastructure and transportation topics. While in the chambers, he was questioned on the topic of biofuels by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst. Senator Ernst spoke with the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network on Thursday morning and said that she didn?t like the answers she got from him.

Ernst said she has no issue with having the electric vehicle market, or a consumer?s choice to use them. She feels that the administration may be misleading the public on the topic of them being ?zero-emission? cars. Senator Ernst countered that there are certainly emissions and a carbon footprint made during the manufacturing process of these vehicles and their batteries.

That also isn?t considering that the generation of electricity for the charging of these vehicles will likely still entail the consumption of fossil fuels for that generation. Ernst says that there is also still a lack of adequate infrastructure or at-home charging stations.

Buttigieg responded to Ernst?s questioning by saying that he supports biofuels, but still is upholding the Biden Administration?s push for EVs.

Buttigieg addressed the Senator?s concerns about the carbon footprint created by the manufacturing of the vehicles by saying that ?all manufacturing leaves some kind of footprint. The administration feels that the burning of fossil fuels for electricity would be completely offset by EVs.

So, while Buttigieg told Senator Ernst that he supports biofuels, he didn?t make any kind of indication that the status quo from the White House was going to change. Then to make things more interesting on the topic of the Biden Administration?s lack of support of biofuels, Buttigieg was on MSNBC earlier in the week and told them that importing oil from Iran was certainly one of the options that were ?on the table? during this crisis with Russia and Ukraine.

The comments seem to be contradictory. Take it for what you will. It seems that if biofuels are going to have any success in this administration, it is going to be a steep uphill battle between EVs and big oil.