Skip to main content

Corn farmers ready to take on oil industry in clash over ethanol mandate

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

America's corn farmers might seem like they have a well-oiled lobbying machine. But when it's stacked up against the oil industry, it may look like small potatoes.

Plenty of Minnesota corn growers and their political supporters are part of a pushback against last week's decision in Washington to roll back the federal requirement for how much ethanol must be blended into gasoline. Defenders of Minnesota's ethanol industry tell the Star Tribune Big Oil was behind the Environmental Protection Agency's decision to lower the target for biofuels.

As the newspaper reports, critics say the change will hurt Minnesota's 21 ethanol plants and stifle the development of new biofuels. Both of Minnesota's Senators are among fellow Democrats who are criticizing the Obama administration for the decision.

While environmental and automotive interests have also called for backing away from higher ethanol targets, it's the oil industry that's most associated with the fight. Politico, for example, described last week's EPA announcement as a victory for oil. Their story notes that oil companies had warned of a spike in gas prices if the EPA were to stick with the original biofuel mandate contained in a 2007 law.

The Star Tribune says a 10 percent ethanol blend has become standard at most filling stations and they will be unaffected by the EPA's proposed change of direction. Stations in Minnesota and some other states just recently started offering a 15 percent ethanol blend, though. If the EPA's decision is finalized in the spring, it may stop the spread of those E15 gas pumps.

So corn and ethanol producers will fire up a lobbying effort aimed at getting the EPA to change its mind. Gannett News calls that a daunting task, particularly given the political might of the oil industry. The leader of one ethanol group tells the news service"We know what we're up against."

Next Up

FWDqyh6UEAENgIG

80 mph winds, large hail possible with severe storms in MN

A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for much of the state until 3 a.m. Saturday.

290376311_5009722282489162_198055240351933487_n

30 people evacuated as flooding hammers small town

It's assumed that at least eight inches of rain fell in Randall, with more heavy rain expected Friday night into Saturday morning.

Intersection in Rochester.

Boy dies in motorcycle crash in Rochester

Police are investigating as of Friday afternoon.

Tab2FileL (13)

Numerous severe storms likely in Minnesota Friday night

Watch the video for the full details with meteorologist Sven Sundgaard.

court room

Teen pleads guilty in shooting death of 15-year-old girl in Columbia Heights

Damico Jamal-Tokyo High will receive a sentence in juvenile court, along with an adult prison sentence.

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota state colleges boosting tuition again by 3.5%

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.

Related