Minnesota Department of Agriculture retracts mention of clean fuel standard in grants announcement
The Walz administration appears ready to impose California Fuel Standards on Minnesota despite the fact that this policy caused gasoline and diesel prices to increase by 22 cents per gallon in California in 2020, according to Stillwater Associates.
However, it appears the administration doesn’t want their intentions to be known at this time.
Mary Stroka, a reporter with The Center Square, wrote an excellent piece exposing the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s decision to retract any mention of the CFS from its press release hyping grants for gas stations that install new biofuel pumps:
(The Center Square) – Gas stations can apply for a new biofuels
infrastructure grant if they invest in equipment that’s compatible with
biofuels blended with at least 25 percent ethanol, the Minnesota Department of
Agriculture announced Monday.
Up to $6.6 million will be available to offset investments in retail petroleum dispensers, fuel storage tanks and other equipment and their installation, the department’s news release said. The Agricultural Growth, Research, and Innovation (AGRI) Biofuels Infrastructure Grant Program will give grantees up to $199,000 per project. Applicants must apply for at least $5,000, and they must commit at least 35 percent of the project cost as a cash match.
“Encouraging stations to offer higher biofuels blends to customers is an immediate step we can take to lower carbon emissions,” Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “It not only will help us meet Minnesota’s climate goals, but also strengthens our agricultural and rural economies, and the state’s as a whole.”
In a version of the news release the department retracted, the commissioner’s quote read as follows:
“Encouraging stations to offer higher biofuels blends to customers is an immediate step we can take to lower carbon emissions as part of meeting our Clean Fuel Standard [The Center Square’s emphasis],” Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen said. “It not only will help us meet Minnesota’s climate goals, but also strengthens our agricultural and rural economies, and the state’s as a whole.”
Department of Agriculture Communications Officer Larry Schumacher told The Center Square in an emailed statement Tuesday that Petersen intended to reference the Petroleum Replacement Goals and that Minnesota does not have a current Clean Fuel Standard.
The biggest story here is not that the Walz administration wants $6.6 million to subsidize gas stations that install biofuel equipment, it is that the Walz administration is likely planning to implement a California Fuel Standard, but wanted to keep their intentions a secret for now.
The timing of Petersen’s statement is important because the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture are still allegedly taking feedback from state residents to determine whether or not they should implement this policy.
Petersen’s comment makes it appear that this stakeholder engagement process is all for show, and that the Walz administration has already decided to move forward with this expensive policy regardless of the feedback heard from Minnesotans.
This isn’t surprising to anyone who has been paying attention because the Walz administration has been steadfast in implementing regressive environmental policies that increase the cost of living for Minnesota families regardless of the feedback they receive, whether it be the California Car Mandates or the Green New Permitting rules implemented last year.
Unfortunately, it appears they’ve already made up their minds to increase the cost of driving in Minnesota by imposing a California Fuel Standard.