Senators want more U.S support for biodiesel; say 1,500 Minnesota jobs at stake


Minnesota's U.S. Senators want Washington to do more for the biodiesel industry, saying a failure to support it could cost the state as many as 1,500 jobs.

The Associated Press reports Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar are among a half-dozen Democrats calling on the Obama administration to reconsider a proposal that would scale back the amount of biodiesel that refineries are required to blend into their fuel.

The group also wants Congress to renew a tax credit for biodiesel producers that was allowed to expire. The Hill reports the Senate may vote this week on a tax bill that would revive that credit.

As for the biodiesel mandate, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in November that a scheduled increase for 2014 be canceled. The proposal, which still awaits final approval, would allow refineries to blend the same amount of biodiesel into their fuel this year as last year.

Klobuchar and Franken said at Wednesday's news conference that Minnesota officials have estimated the state could see 1,500 jobs dry up as a result of the downwardly-revised mandate, according to The Hill.

Biodiesel production cuts

Their announcement came as the National Biodiesel Board released results of a survey showing 78 percent of its members say they're cutting back on biodiesel production this year. The group blames inconsistent policy decisions in Washington have spread uncertainty through the industry.

Bryan Christjansen, the general manager of Renewable Energy Group's biodiesel plants in Albert Lea, Minn., and Mason City, Iowa, says if the EPA's proposal is finalized it would harm local economies and put domestic fuel production in jeopardy.

Biodiesel is a fuel made from vegetable oils, animal fat, and other renewable sources. In addition to the Albert Lea plant, there are Minnesota facilities in Isanti and in Brewster, in the southwestern part of the state.

Sens. Franken and Klobuchar say it's been shown to be a clean and safe form of energy. In July Minnesota will become the first state to require that diesel fuel sold during the summer months consist of a blend that's at least 10 percent biodiesel.

The Hill notes that the oil industry supports the EPA's plan to relax the biodiesel mandate, arguing that demand for renewable fuels is low and the cost to refineries is high.

At the state level, the Minnesota Trucking Association has raised concerns about the cost of the 10 percent biodiesel mandate that kicks in this summer. They've asked the state to study the economic impact of the requirement.

Next Up


1 dead, 1 airlifted following Goodhue County crash

The crash happened around 6:15 a.m. Sunday.

railroad crossing, train crossing

Woman found dead on train tracks in Moorhead

The woman was located by officials on train tracks near Memorial Park Sunday morning.

police tape, crime scene

Search for killer after man is fatally shot in Hopkins

The shooting was reported around 7:40 p.m. Sunday.

skylar hunter and jamie hunter

Victims in double killing ID'd as father and son; suspect was son's roommate

A man killed his roommate and his roommate's father early Saturday in St. Louis County, authorities said.

Mike Zimmer

‘Fire Zimmer’ trending after Vikings beat Panthers

The Vikings won the game but their coach is still on the hot seat.

Screen Shot 2021-10-17 at 8.24.33 PM

NCHC condemns Huskies fans for throwing projectiles after controversial no-call

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference says that it will be reviewing both the no-call and the aftermath.

Kirk Cousins

Kirk Cousins saves the day again to get Vikings to .500

Cousins' overtime toss to K.J. Osborn earned a 34-28 victory.

Nurses on strike

Nurses start 3-day strike at Allina WestHealth in Plymouth

A "last attempt" at negotiations failed to produce an agreement last Wednesday.

boating minnesota lake

Minnesota has experienced its deadliest boating season since 2005

Minnesota has seen 17 boating-related deaths so far this year.

Drew Doughty

Kirill Kaprizov makes Kings’ Doughty eat his words

The Kings defenseman isn't a fan of the Wild star's new deal.