MN Gubernatorial Candidates On Biofuels

  • Wednesday, 06 August 2014 00:00

As we've mentioned before, biofuels are set to get caught in the partisan crossfire in the days and months leading to the elections in November. For the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Minnesota, several candidates have already made it clear where they stand on biofuels.

Gov. Mark Dayton, for example, has publicly voiced support for biofuels in the past. Even as recent as this week, Dayton opened the 2014 American Coalition for Ethanol's (ACE) conference in Minneapolis stating he hopes every vehicle manufacturer offers flex-fuel engines as well as his wishes for the use of E20. 

As for the four leading Republican candidates, here's what we know so far, according to a recent report by the Forum News Service:

Marty Seifert :

According to the report, Seifert said the biofuel industry has created thousands of jobs in Minnesota and that gasoline sold at the pump should be E10.

"I see this as the status quo for now," he was quoted as saying. While the report said Seifert was "not jumping on a bandwagon to increase ethanol percentages," it is still unclear on Seifart's views regarding E15.

However, with regard to biodiesel, Seifert, according to the report, said : "Biodiesel mandates are not going to go up if I'm governor," citing concerns on biodiesel "gumming up" fuel filters in cold weather. This statement was a little unclear as to whether Seifert was referring to the existing law with regards to B10, which was recently introduced, or B20.

Kurt Zellers:

In the report, Zellers said he wants to increase the ethanol percentage in gasoline to 15 percent or E15 although, he added, he wants more information "before fully supporting it." (We can help you there, Mr Zellers.)

Nonetheless, at minimum, he said he wants to keep existing mandates in place.

Jeff Johnson:

According to the report, Johnson wants to eliminate mandates from state law, including those affecting biofuels. It isn't clear however what Johnson's views are with respect to the Renewable Fuel Standard, which is a federal law.

Still, he said that mandates cannot be eliminated immediately. "Government has created somewhat of a dependency," he said, adding eliminating biofuel mandates was not a priority and that he favored phasing them out.

If Johnson is serious about dependencies, he should Google the following word : petroleum.

Scott Honour:

Honour, according to the report, said : "I would try to push away from mandates as quickly as possible. My view is that the less government is trying to influence the market, the better." Clearly no fan of the biofuel industry, Honour said the state should take advantage of the abundance of natural gas in North Dakota or - wait for it - coal from Montana and Wyoming.

Is he talking about coal-powered vehicles? Are we still in 2014? And using natural gas from North Dakota is better than Minnesota-grown biofuels?