By signing an executive order, Gov. Walz has formed the Governor’s Biofuels Council. The purpose of this government body is to advise both the governor and his Cabinet on how to best nurture Minnesota’s biofuel industry.
This group shall consist of 15 members, including biofuel, agriculture, and transportation industry representatives. It will also include representatives from conservation and environmentalist organizations.
This news came to us on Monday, citing the aftermath of federal interference. Federal regulation has resulted in several renewable fuel plants slowing down operations or ceasing them altogether in Minnesota. Among the victims is Winnebago’s ethanol plant Corn Plus.
The recent attack upon Saudi Arabia’s refineries has spurred fuel prices to soar. Therefore, the government effort to redeem the ethanol industry in Minnesota seems quite timely. Walz feels it’s unfair that drone strikes occurring in Saudi Arabia should result in gas prices jumping some 20 cents for Minnesotans.
Challenges Faced By the Biofuel Industry
Minnesota Corn Growers Association president Brian Thalmann speculates that several obstacles prevent the local ethanol industry from thriving. He cites tariffs, depressed markets, exemptions for ethanol, and unfavorable weather as contributors to the industry struggling.
Trump has greenlit a series of exemption for oil refineries to produce ethanol. That has placed a severe strain on the entire ethane production business, costing them millions of gallons. Numerous corn growers, as well as Walz, have pleaded that the Trump administration not issue so many exemptions.
The council will aim to compile a report suggesting how to best increase biofuel use. This report shall also provide plans for improving biofuels’ carbon efficiency and integrating them to reduce Minnesota’s overall carbon footprint. The GBT has until November 2020 to complete the report.
Walz sympathizes with the farmers for enduring constant uncertainty from the economy and weather. He adds that they needn’t fear looming government pressure as well. He cites the Governor’s Biofuels Council as demonstrative of the Governor office’s devotion to nurturing the biofuel and agriculture industries. It also represents a concrete move toward a greener Minnesota.