Biofuels to have role in state’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions

Gov. Walz addresses the crowd at the Thalmann farm prior to signing an executive order forming the biofuels council.

In mid-September, Gov. Tim Walz visited the farm of Minnesota Corn Growers Association President Brian Thalmann to announce the formation of a biofuels council tasked with promoting the use of renewable fuels in Minnesota. Shortly after the announcement, the Minnesota Department of Transportation released a report detailing how biofuels will be part of a larger plan to reduce carbon emissions.

The “Pathways to Decarbonizing Transportation in Minnesota” report is focused on recommendations that reduce carbon emissions in the state. The biofuels council announced in September will focus on growing renewable fuels to help meet these goals. The report also recommended the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) begin the process for a “Clean Cars Minnesota Rule,” which would create both a low-emission vehicle (“LEV”) and a zero-emission vehicle (“ZEV”) standard for Minnesota.

The biofuels council is accepting applications now for all interested in being part of the council, which is expected to pull qualified individuals from a wide variety of fields. You can apply here through Oct. 22. The group is expected to be formed by the end of the year.

The MPCA will begin the rulemaking process for the new vehicle standards in October with the official publication of a draft rule and a statement of need and reasonableness (SONAR). MPCA will conduct a 15 month rulemaking and public engagement process with the aim to finalize a rule in December of 2020. The Clean Air Act requires two full years between finalization and enforcement of the rule. If rulemaking is completed, the standards would begin in 2023, applicable to the 2024 vehicle model year.

MCGA will continue to work with Gov. Walz and state agencies to promote the important role ethanol-blended fuels should play as the state works to reduce emissions. Ethanol-blended fuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 45 percent, which is equivalent to removing 11.4 million cars from the road for an entire year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

MCGA looks forward to reviewing the “Clean Cars Minnesota” rule when it is published this month and conducting the necessary analysis to understand the short and long-term implications for the state’s corn growers.

Interested in learning more about Minnesota corn farmers’ longstanding support of ethanol? Download our free e-book, “The Rise of Ethanol in Minnesota”, that details the multi-faceted approach that helped establish Minnesota as a national leader in ethanol-blended fuels.

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