Iowa Senators Hope to Include Biofuels in Next COVID Relief Package

FILE PHOTO: Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa ( Andrew Harnik/Pool via REUTERS )

By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK, July 17 (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers from Iowa are trying to add aid for the biofuels industry into a pending coronavirus relief package in the Senate, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley said on Friday.

Grassley and his Iowa colleague, Senator Joni Ernst, hope to include a subsidy for feedstock for the ethanol industry in the bill. Farmers and producers of the corn-based fuel were hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic as government-imposed lockdowns sank demand for gasoline.

"The long-term hope for ethanol though is directly related to the extent to which the economy picks up and people start driving," Grassley said in a call with reporters.

U.S. law mandates that oil refiners blend billions of gallons of gasoline into their fuel pool, or buy credits from those that do.

Grassley could not say when a final bill would be ready in the Senate. In May, House Democrats passed a coronavirus relief bill that included aid for biofuels producers.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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