The bill, Westrom said, is a top priority for Minnesota corn farmers and agriculture groups across the state.
“Ethanol is one of Minnesota’s only oil wells,” said Westrom, who also chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This legislation allows us to not only continue to be a leader in homegrown fuels, but also creates opportunities for farmers in helping our state and nation become energy independent. Minnesota was the first in the country with E10, and we will continue to lead with E15.”
The biofuels industry is one of many that has been depressed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Westrom added. That’s on top of the previous Environmental Protection Agency’s small refinery exemptions that reduced overall demand for biofuels from oil refineries, he added.
Westrom said this has had significant consequences for farmers and their communities, who rely on biofuels plants as a market for their products and a source of good jobs.
Westrom’s bill, Senate File 944, would expand the use of biofuels statewide and calls for increasing Minnesota’s biofuel standard from 10% to 15%.
Leaders with the Minnesota Farmers Union support the bill.
“Biofuels is a top legislative priority for us this year and we’re pleased to see it addressed in SF 944,” said Gary Wertish, president of the union.
MFU, a grassroots membership organization, said it has supported increasing blends of homegrown biofuels for several reasons, including:
Higher biofuel blends provide consumers higher octane, lower cost at the pump and fewer toxic emissions than petroleum alone.
According to U.S. Departments of Energy and Agriculture, current biofuel production reduces carbon emissions by 43% compared to gasoline.
Minnesota can easily meet a 5% increase in the biofuel standard with existing in-state production capacity, which will add value to the product already produced and used here.