Legislation to implement biodiesel standard dies in Missouri

| 7/2/2008

A bill that has died in the Missouri House called for a mandate of biodiesel use in the state. Missouri already requires that gasoline sold in the state contain 10 percent ethanol.

Despite the encouragement of Gov. Matt Blunt, the House Transportation Committee opted to not advance a bill that would have required all diesel sold at the retail level in the state to be a biodiesel blend. The Senate previously approved the measure – SB759.

Sponsored by Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, the measure sought to require at least 5 percent biodiesel at the pumps by July 2010.

If it had become law, Missouri would have 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. However, legislation approved there this spring will increase the biodiesel blend offered in the state to 20 percent by 2015.

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

In addition to helping biodiesel producers in the state, Stouffer said the proposed standard would benefit consumers and the state’s air quality. It also would reduce wear and tear on commercial trucks, he said.

Opponents said adopting a biodiesel standard would interfere with the private market place. Others said there is no guarantee it would lead to lower prices for diesel.

The bill would have waived the biodiesel requirement if the price was more expensive than conventional diesel. It called for implementing the biodiesel standard four months after the average price of biodiesel became equal to or less than the average price of regular diesel for a full year.

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

The issue can be brought back before lawmakers during the 2009 regular session.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor