Minnesota governor allows biodiesel mandate to pass into law without his signature

| 3/19/2002

Minnesota's Gov. Jesse Ventura announced Mar. 15 he would allow the biodiesel mandate to become law without his signature. In a letter to the president of the Senate, Ventura said he supports SF1495's outcomes, but disagrees with the idea of any mandate from the government.

The letter notified Senate President Don Samuelson of Ventura's intention to allow SF1495 to become law without signing it and gave three reasons for his course of action.

"Agriculture plays a critical role in our state's economy," Ventura wrote. "We need to actively support agriculture in our Minnesota. SF1495 clearly benefits our farmers by creating a new market for soy oil and it benefits Greater Minnesota by creating economic development opportunities related to the biodiesel industry. I fully support both of these outcomes.

"However, I have serious reservations about any mandate from the government. I have reservations about legislation with elaborate conditions for future action. I am also troubled by the fact that the legislature can pass SF1495, increase future fuel costs and add to inflation while they ignore inflation in their proposed budget solutions. If this bill did not present such a clear opportunity for our farmers and our state, I would veto the bill on these grounds alone.

"After balancing the statewide benefits of SF1495 against my concerns about the process used to gain those benefits, I have decided that I cannot sign the bill but I also will not stand in the way of its implementation."

SF1495 will require all diesel fuel sold in Minnesota to contain a 2 percent blend of vegetable oil or animal fat by June 2005. The bill, which has been opposed by the trucking industry, passed the 2002 legislative session, after being tabled at the end of the 2001 session when the House and Senate could not agree on its content.