In our final spotlight on the candidates running in this November's elections, we move to the heated gubernatorial race in Minnesota where Tim Walz is up against Jeff Johnson. Only Walz responded to our questionnaire despite our many attempts to get a response from Johnson. As such, Johnson's comments featured in this spotlight were comments he made at Farmfest in August.
Tim Walz (D)
Q. 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?
A. Yes. As mentioned, the benefits of this law are integral to our success as a state, both economically and environmentally. As Governor, I will work with my Commissioners of Agriculture, Pollution Control, and Commerce, to ensure that we are on track to meet our 30% goal.
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. 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?
A. Yes. I have been a longtime supporter of the RVP waiver and have taken a number of actions during my time in Congress to address this issue, such as working with my colleagues to introduce the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act, which extends the E10 waiver to E15. As Governor, I would urge the federal delegation to take steps to remove the unnecessary barriers to E15 use year round.
Q. 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?
A. Absolutely. The Biofuel Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) program has been a great success thus far and has made a significant impact on the biofuels market here in Minnesota. I would fully support additional funding for further investment in infrastructure to make higher blends of ethanol available throughout the state.
Q. 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?
A. It's essential that we give our producers the tools they need to continue being the innovative and energy conscious leaders that they are. I would certainly support incentivizing these types of ideas which will not only make Minnesota more competitive in the marketplace, but also reduce our carbon footprint and strengthen our clean energy economy.
Jeff Johnson (R)
Please note that Johnson's comments were in response to a question at Farmfest on whether he would support Minnesota's move to a 20 percent blend of biodiesel and ethanol blends above 10 percent.
"So I will probably stand out a little bit here today because I have not been a big fan in the past of government putting a thumb on the market whether it is with wind or whether it’s with solar or other things, however with respect to both biodiesel and ethanol because of what government has done, an entire industry has been built up by the private sector around it and people have spent millions or ten of millions of dollars to build it. So, while I may have my questions about it, I’m not going to pull the rug out from under that because that is not how you should ever treat people who rely upon government that has created a market. I will tell you this though, what I think is even more important than that, we need to create a climate, a business climate in this state that is conducive to value added agriculture, not through government mandates or subsidies but because we are actually competing with states that surround us whether it comes to taxes, whether it comes to regulation or whether it comes to permitting and I will do that as governor."
Candidates and Biofuels Election 2018 Archives:
US Senate: Amy Klobuchar
US Senate : Tina Smith Vs Karin Housley
US Rep MN 7: Collin Peterson Vs Dave Hughes
US Rep MN 6: Tom Emmer Vs Ian Todd
US Rep MN 5: Ilhan Omar
US Rep MN 3: Dean Philips
US Rep MN 2: Jason Lewis Vs Angie Craig
US Rep MN 1: Dan Feehan Vs Jim Hagedorn
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