In response to federal action that has negatively impacted Minnesota’s biofuel industry, Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order Sept. 16 establishing the Governor’s Biofuels Council to advise him and his cabinet on policy and budget proposals to foster the growth of the Minnesota biofuel industry.
“Minnesota farmers endure a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the weather and the economy. They shouldn’t face that uncertainty from their government,” Walz says. “The Governor’s Biofuels Council demonstrates our commitment to supporting the agriculture and biofuels industries and seizing the opportunity to move Minnesota toward a cleaner, greener transportation sector.”
The council will be tasked with creating a report advising the governor and cabinet on how to best expand the use of biofuels, increase the carbon efficiency of biofuels, and implement biofuels as part of Minnesota’s larger goal to reduce greenhouse gas production in the transportation sector.
The council will be made up of 15 members including representatives of agriculture, biofuels and transportation industries, as well as environmental and conservation groups.
The executive order mandates that the report be completed by November 2020.
The executive order also comes at a time when Minnesota’s ethanol industry has been impacted by Environmental Protection Agency actions that have undermined the Renewable Fuel Standard.
Minnesota’s corn farmers appreciate Gov. Walz’ leadership to promote biofuel production while efforts at the federal level add unnecessary barriers.
Walz signed his executive order during a visit to the Thalmann farm near Plato. On hand for the event was Brian Thalmann, farmer and Minnesota Corn Growers Association president; Thom Petersen, Minnesota Department of Agriculture commissioner; and Gary Anderson, CEO of Heartland Corn Products. Other ag and biofuels industry leaders also attended the signing.
MCGA commended Walz for issuing an executive order to promote biofuel production and use in Minnesota.
“As farmers and renewable fuels continue to face challenges on the federal level, I couldn’t be more proud of our state,” Thalmann said. “Minnesota has long been a national leader in renewable fuels and we have a tremendous opportunity to again be an example for the rest of our country to follow to meet the environmental goals we all deeply value while maintaining a strong rural economy.”
USDA reports that ethanol-blended fuels reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 45%, which is equivalent to removing 11.4 million cars from the road for an entire year, according to MCGA officials.
Through their investment in the corn checkoff, the state’s corn growers have invested more than $25 million since 2008 in ethanol research, infrastructure and education.