E – 20 LEGISLATION

On April 27, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the “E-20 Ethanol Bill” by a 91 to 43 margin, with considerable bi-partisan support by House Republican and DFL Legislators. The E-20 legislation passed the Minnesota Senate by a similarly wide-margin earlier in the 2005 Legislative Session. The main differences in the Senate E-20 Bill and the House Bill are that the Senate Bill calls for implementation by 2012 and the House Bill by 2013. The House Bill also calls for a E-20 compliance and safety test that will require the governor to work with the U.S. Product Safety Commission to determine that E-20 is safe to use in all types of engines, with a final report to be issued by December 31, 2010. This means that we would not know for over five years whether or not the 20 percent ethanol mandate would actually be implemented and required. The testing requirement is not in the Senate Bill, but was added to the House Bill over potential concerns with E-20 to certain types of engines, even though those concerns are largely unfounded. The E-20 legislation will now go to the House and Senate Conference Committee to work out differences, then back to the House and Senate for final approval, and finally to the Governor to be signed into law. Passage of the E-20 legislation looks quite hopeful, since the Governor is very supportive and the differences in the House and Senate Bills seem workable.

Editors note: Kent Thiesse is a former University of Minnesota Extension educator and now is Vice President of MinnStar Bank, Lake Crystal, MN. You can contact him at 507-726-2137 or via e-mail at kent.thiesse@minnstarbank.com.