Minnesota governor looks to boost biodiesel mandate

| Friday, August 17, 2007

If Gov. Tim Pawlenty gets his way, the biodiesel mandate in Minnesota would increase tenfold during the next several years.

Biodiesel sold in the state now is a blend that is 2-percent soybean and 98-percent diesel. As part of a statewide green-energy initiative, Pawlenty is calling for lawmakers to approve his plan to boost the level of biodiesel that must be blended into every gallon of diesel sold in the state during the next eight years.

The proposal would mandate a 5-percent biodiesel blend in 2008. It would increase to 10 percent by 2011, 15 percent by 2013 and 20 percent by 2015.

The mandate would fall into line with a new state law that 25 percent of energy in the state – including fuel – should come from renewable sources by 2025, the West Central Tribune reported.

Minnesota is one of five states to have implemented a biodiesel requirement. None of them, however, requires more than a 5 percent blend. The North Star State now requires a blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol with a requirement it be changed to 80 percent gasoline and 20 percent ethanol by 2013.

Supporters, including farm groups, say biodiesel and ethanol provide new markets for crops, pushes soybean prices higher, and promotes rural economic development.

Others say that state officials would have authority to lift the biodiesel mandate if problems arose.

Pawlenty is expected to bring his plan to lawmakers once they convene the 2008 regular session.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Minnesota in 2007, click here.

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