MN Bio-Fuels Commends State Leadership for Supporting Agriculture’s Role in Reducing Emissions in the Aviation Industry

  • Wednesday, 23 August 2023 11:06

Burnsville, Aug 25 - The Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association (MN Bio-Fuels) commends Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen for his leadership advocating for the participation of agriculture and biofuel producers in decarbonizing the aviation sector in a recent letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  

In the letter, Thom Petersen, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, thanked the Secretary for his ongoing support of agriculture and recommended policymakers implement guidance that facilitates the industry’s participation in new markets, including sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).

“Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association is grateful for Commissioner Petersen and Secretary Vilsack’s efforts to ensure Minnesota farmers and ethanol producers can continue contributing towards the decarbonization of our transportation sector,” said MN Bio-Fuels Executive Director Brian Werner. “We urge regulators in Washington to adopt SAF tax credit guidance that supports Minnesotan farmers and biofuels.”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury is deciding which additional carbon accounting model can be used for determining eligibility for SAF tax credits passed in the Inflation Reduction Act. The Commissioner makes clear that adopting the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne GREET model would be an appropriate choice, given its use by the Treasury Department for non-aviation fuel tax credits, and ability to incorporate updated science and data from federal agencies.

The forthcoming decision by the Biden Administration regarding the method and model used to measure carbon intensity holds significant implications for American farmers. “The key question remains whether U.S. sustainable aviation fuel producers will be allowed to use a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting methodology based on the well-established Argonne GREET model developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, which is used with standards for other biofuels, or whether producers can only use a policy framework approved by an international body (ICAO) under the CORSIA program. The GREET methodology is tailored to U.S. circumstances and would permit some row crops to be utilized for SAF under both the 40B and 45Z tax credits, whereas the CORSIA methodology would deter their use,” Petersen writes.

Furthermore, Commissioner Petersen emphasizes Minnesota's commitment to the Biden Administration's SAF Grand Challenge, aiming to produce 3 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel by 2030: “Expanding SAF production not only creates jobs in Minnesota farming communities, but also in construction and equipment design for cutting-edge biorefineries, biorefineries and infrastructure operations, and scientific research on bioenergy and biofuels. But we cannot contribute to the SAF Grand Challenge if regulatory policies restrict the use of crop-based biofuels and disincentivize participation from farmers by adopting a less dynamic carbon intensity model.”

As the third-largest producer of corn and the fifth-largest producer of ethanol in the U.S., Minnesota is committed to constantly innovating to improve yields, find new markets, and support American energy security.