Biodiesel standard nears passage in Missouri Senate

| 3/24/2008

The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to a bill that would mandate biodiesel use in the state. Missouri law already mandates that gasoline sold in the state contain 10 percent ethanol.

The Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that would require all diesel sold at the retail level in the state to be a biodiesel blend. Sponsored by Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, the measure would require at least 5 percent biodiesel at the pumps by July 1, 2010.

If it becomes law, Missouri would become the sixth state to enact some sort of biodiesel requirement. Louisiana, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington have approved 2 percent standards while New Mexico has authorized a 5 percent requirement. Only Minnesota has implemented the standards.

Stouffer said Missouri could take a significant step forward by adopting its own biodiesel rule.

“We can put Missouri in the forefront of biodiesel technology,” he said in a released statement.

In addition to helping biodiesel producers in the state, Stouffer said the bill would benefit consumers and the state’s air quality.

Opponents say adopting a biodiesel standard would interfere with the private market place. It reeks of socialism, they say.

A provision added to the bill would waive the biodiesel requirement if the price is more expensive than conventional diesel. The biodiesel standard would be implemented four months after the average price of biodiesel is equal to or less than the average price of regular diesel for a full year.

In addition, the Missouri Department of Agriculture would be responsible for developing cold temperature operability standards for biodiesel.

The bill – SB759 – is awaiting a final vote on the Senate floor. If approved there, it would move to the House for further consideration.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor