Former Iowa ethanol plant owner testifies in front of House committee

WASHINGTON (KCRG) -- The president of an Iowa ethanol plant forced to close last month got a chance to speak in front of a U.S. House committee Tuesday.

"I'm taking time away from harvest because today's topic is critically important. Plain and simple, the EPA's abuse of small refinery exemptions of the RFS is crippling rural America," Kelly Nieuwenhuis, President of Siouxland Energy Cooperative, said.

Nieuwenhuis spoke to members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce at a hearing called "Protecting the RFS: The Trump Administration's Abuse of Secret Waivers."

The ethanol plant he managed was one of three in Iowa that closed after the Environmental Protection Agency issued 31 waivers to oil refineries, saying they didn't have to blend ethanol. He said the EPA is abusing the federal law that mandates how much ethanol should be blended into gasoline.

Nieuwenhuis is also a farmer in Primghar in northwest Iowa. He has farmed soybeans and corn with his family for 37 years. He said 95 percent of his corn goes to ethanol.