Candidates and Biofuels : Election 2018

  • Monday, 17 September 2018 13:29

As the mid-term elections draw nearer, it’s time for us to, once again, examine where the Minnesota’s candidates running for office – both federal and state - stand on issues concerning the biofuel industry.

Election 2018 Cover

Starting tomorrow, we will begin running a series of blogs that will answer this and give us a better idea of how Minnesota’s ethanol industry will fare under each candidate’s leadership.

In preparation for this series, we reached out to well over 100 candidates participating in this November’s elections. These include candidates running for governor, US Senate and Congress and the Minnesota House of Representatives.

In terms of state seats, we reached out to candidates running in districts where the ethanol industry has a significant economic footprint (through the presence of the agriculture industry, an ethanol plant or companies that work closely with the industry).

Not all the candidates we reached out to responded so we will only feature those that did.

For federal candidates, we sent them the following questions:

  1. 1. The Renewable Fuel Standard calls for the use of increasing amounts ethanol to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Do you support the Renewable Fuel Standard? 

  2. 2. This year, the EPA has granted RFS waivers to 48 small refiners for the years 2016 and 2017, representing an estimated 2.25 billion gallons of ethanol. Do you support the EPA's actions? If no, will you pressure the EPA and the Trump Administration to halt issuing RFS waivers for 2018 and beyond, to identify the recipients of the 2016 and 2017 waivers and lastly, to reallocate the 2.25 billion gallons of ethanol that were lost due to the 2016 and 2017 waivers?

  3. 3. At present, E15 cannot be sold in the summer months since Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations have not kept pace with the addition of E15 into the fuel market. Would you fix this problem by a Congressional Act, similar to how E10 (10% ethanol and 90% petroleum gasoline) was handled? Or, would you try to expedite the solution by pushing the White House and EPA to use existing regulatory authority to give E15 the same RVP treatment as E10?

  4. 4. The number of stations offering E15 in Minnesota has increased exponentially the last two years (nearly 300 at present) and a big reason for this increase was the financial assistance provided by the federal government's Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership program for storage and dispensing equipment upgrades. Would you support renewing funding for this program so that even more stations in Minnesota can offer E15?

For state level candidates, we sent them these questions:

  1. 1. The Minnesota Petroleum Replacement Promotion law calls for the consumption of at least 30 percent biofuels in transportation fuel by 2025, which would in turn reduce our dependence on imported oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Do you support the Minnesota Petroleum Replacement Promotion law?

  2. 2. At present, E15 cannot be sold in the summer months since Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) regulations have not kept pace with the addition of E15 into the fuel market. Although this is a federal regulation, there may be actions that can be taken at the state level. Will you support an initiative to fix this problem at the state level?

  3. 3. One of the challenges to making greater amounts of biofuels available to customers so as to fulfill the Minnesota Petroleum Replacement Promotion law is having the proper retail fuel storage and dispensing equipment. Will you support renewing funding to help fuel retailers upgrade their fuel storage and dispensing systems to offer customers E15 and higher ethanol blends?

  4. 4. Minnesota's ethanol producers are eager to install combined heat and power and expander generators to reduce their energy usage inputs and greenhouse gas emissions. To jump start the use of these systems (which would also boost economic activity in rural Minnesota), a modest tax incentive would be necessary. Would you support this tax incentive?

Come back tomorrow as we kickstart our series with Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen who is up against Ashley Latzke in Minnesota House District 18B.