Candidates & Biofuels: Dan Feehan Vs Jim Hagedorn

  • Monday, 08 October 2018 13:16

Hagedorn Feehan web

Today we move on to the candidates running for Minnesota's seats in the US House of Representatives and first up is Dan Feehan against Jim Hagedorn in Minnesota's First Congressional District. This district has 11 ethanol plants - more than any other district - and is also home to 41 companies that work with Minnesota's ethanol industry. In addition, there are 96 fuel retailers in this district that offer higher blends of ethanol. Here are their responses to our questionnaire:

danfeehancropped2 Dan Feehan (D)

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

A. I am a strong supporter of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District produces the 9th most ag products by value in the entire country, and renewable fuels play a critical part in that success. Our farming community fuels our local economy, and those farmers depend on the RFS. Ultimately, I am in strong support of the Renewable Fuel Standard because it gives farmers a local market, makes our air cleaner, and allows America to become more energy Independent.

The renewable fuels industry is incredibly important to the US as a whole, but even more so to Minnesotans and the 1st Congressional district. With 11 of Minnesota’s 21 biofuel plants located within this Congressional district, farmers have access to a market that provides additional income and competition for their grain. This ensures that farmers are not just price takers. Thus, I am a proponent of the RFS because it supports value-added agriculture that allows farmers to be successful, support their families, and grow their businesses.

Furthermore, I am supportive of a strong RFS because it provides many benefits to our country, not just rural America. The use of renewable fuels helps every citizen by providing cleaner air. Ethanol helps gasoline engines burn cleaner and cooler while reducing the need for toxic additives in fuel. Ultimately, biodiesel significantly reduces particulate matter (PM), helps reduce smog, and is a naturally low-sulfur fuel. Finally, as someone who knows first-hand that energy independence is essential for our national security, I am supportive of biofuels because it creates another domestic source of energy. Our geopolitical strength is tied to our energy independence and biofuels are an important piece of ensuring that we do not have to rely on imported oil from countries whose values may be diametrically opposed to ours.

Q. 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?

A. I fully oppose the EPA’s actions in granting RFS waivers to oil refineries. Simply put, these waivers hurt our farmers, our environment, and increases our dependence on foreign oil. In Congress, I will work to both provide strong oversight of the EPA and on legislation that prevents the further issuance of unilateral waivers. Furthermore, I would support identifying the recipients of waivers from 2016 and 2017 and re-allocating the 2.25 billion gallons of ethanol that were lost due to the waivers.

I know that I can be a strong, independent voice fighting the RFS waivers because I have pledged to take $0 from corporate PACs, which frees me from the insidious influences of corporate campaign contributions. Specifically, while Big Oil wants the continuation and expansion of RFS waivers that weaken the biofuels industry, they will hold no sway over me as I fight for southern Minnesota’s biofuel industry.

Q. 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 percent ethanol and 90 percent 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?

A. Ultimately, I would prefer a Congressional Act to amend the RVP regulations and allow E15 to be sold year-round. I believe that it is Congress’ job to legislate. If changes to the RVP regulations become law, it will withstand changes across Administrations.

However, I recognize that Congress doesn’t always act quickly. This slow pace is harming farmers by preventing the sale of larger volumes of E15. For that reason, I would also push the White House and EPA to use their existing regulatory authority to give E15 the same RVP treatment as E10. While it is an imperfect and potentially tenuous solution, it would provide a short-term benefit to our farmers and ag community while Congress works on a permanent solution through legislation.

Q. 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?

I would support the federal government’s Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership program for storage and dispensing equipment upgrades that allow more stations to offer E15.

Given the BIP’s 1:1 ratio between private / state sources and federal funding for grant money, I would also use my platform as a Congressman to work with state and local governments, the private sector, and community leaders to ensure that Minnesota could maximize the amount of federal grant money it could apply for. This would increase the total investment that comes into Minnesota, and by getting broad buy-in from all stakeholders, there would be greater support to expand biofuel infrastructure for the future.

jimhagedorncropped Jim Hagedorn (R)

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

A. Yes, I believe the RFS is integral to maintaining demand and supporting commodity prices.

Q. 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?

A. I believe the EPA waiver process should be transparent and subject to congressional review. I will certainly do whatever feasible to ensure that the law as enacted by Congress is administered appropriately by the Trump administration and we restore regular order and markets are no longer disrupted.

Q. 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 percent ethanol and 90 percent 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?

A. I favor employing both strategies, simultaneously, to establish the E15 standard as soon as possible.

Q. 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?

A. At this time, I cannot commit to voting for increased appropriations for this or any other project. The national debt must be addressed and all spending must be on the table. However, I am open to learning more about this proposal, especially projected costs and benefits, and will keep an open mind. My quest is to always represent the interests of southern Minnesota’s farmers, businesses, residents and communities.

Candidates and Biofuels Election 2018 Archives:

MN District 04B: Paul Marquart

MN District 27B: Jeanne Poppe

MN District 16B: Marinda Kimmel Vs Paul Torkelson

MN District 55A: Brad Tabke

MN District 27A: Peggy Bennett

MN District 08A: Bud Nornes

MN District 24A: John Petersburg Vs Joe Heegard

MN District 28B: Gregory Davids Vs Thomas Trehus

MN District 23A: Bob Gunther Vs Heather Klassen

MN District 22B: Rod Hamilton Vs Cheniqua Johnson

MN District 18B: Ashley Latzke Vs Glenn Gruenhagen

MN District 12B: Paul Anderson Vs Ben Schirmers