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March 20, 2015

Biofuel Legislation In Minnesota Criticized For Focus On Corn


The Bioeconomy
Coalition of Minnesota
is advocating strongly for two bills in the
state that if passed would result in a two-year, $5 million production
incentive for producers, and a capital loan equipment program. The bills, HF
and SF
, would benefit companies that develop biochemicals, advanced biofuels,
and anaerobic digestion projects. There is concern, however, that the
legislation would increase the production of corn rather than encourage the
production of crops that do not require the same heavy use of fertilizer as
corn. Citing concerns about fertilizer runoffs in the river, combined with corn
being an easy source to convert to biofuel, the Minnesota Environmental Partnership
and Friends of the Mississippi River
have suggested amending the bills to: (1) require biofuel refineries receiving
the production incentive to have at least 50 percent of their feedstock come
from perennials; and (2) pay incentives to farmers who switch from corn to
perennials. HF 536 has already been changed to include a 20 percent bonus for
the use of perennials over corn. It is likely that both bills will continue to
change to reflect continued concerns about water quality in Minnesota.