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BrownfieldAgNews reports:

Both the Iowa House and Senate have passed a resolution calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to drop its plan to cut the Renewable Fuels Standard.

Ethanol supporters say that, if the proposal goes into effect, it could reduce the amount of ethanol produced in the country.

Senator Amanda Ragan of Mason City suggests the proposal is an outgrowth of the oil industry's attempt to "sabotage" ethanol.

"In north Iowa communities, ethanol plants are producing clean, renewable energy, creating jobs and generating economic activity," Ragan says. "Unlike 'big oil', Iowa's ethanol industry helps make our nation more secure and energy independent."

Senator Dan Zumbach of Ryan says the E-P-A's proposal would be a "monumental setback" for the state's economy.

"Renewable fuels and the Renewable Fuels Standard have added to Iowa's economy and helped grow rural Iowa," Zumbach says. "In addition, biofuels are good for our environment and they lessen our dependence on foreign oil."

The resolution passed both the House and Senate without a dissenting vote. Representative Pat Grassley of New Hartford, who is the grandson of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, says it shows Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa legislature are in "solidarity" with the governor and Iowa's entire congressional delegation on this issue.

"Someone asked me at a meeting the other day if we were going to pass a bill to deal with this issue. Obviously that can't happen because it's a federal issue, but I do think we need to send a strong message," Grassley says.

Governor Terry Branstad immediately praised lawmakers for passing the resolution during the first week of the 2014 Iowa legislative session.

A hearing next Thursday will give Iowans a chance to speak out on the EPA's proposal. The hearing will be held at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines. It's scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

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