Missouri Senate approves biodiesel mandate

| 4/14/2008

A bill halfway through the Missouri General Assembly would mandate biodiesel use in the state. Missouri already mandates that gasoline sold in the state contain 10 percent ethanol.

At the encouragement of Gov. Matt Blunt, the Senate voted 20-11 to advance a bill to the House that would require all diesel fuel 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 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 their 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. It also would reduce wear and tear on commercial trucks, he said.

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

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 – has moved to the House Transportation Committee.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor