MSGA president testifies against ‘Clean Cars’ proposal

The Minnesota Soybean Growers Association (MSGA) stood up for farmers and biodiesel producers by voicing opposition to the proposed “Clean Cars Minnesota” rule Wednesday during written testimony as part of a joint virtual meeting with the Environmental and Natural Resources Finance Committee and the Natural Resources Policy and Legacy Finance Committee. 

MSGA, a nonpartisan advocacy organization representing the state’s nearly 28,000 soybean farmers, testified to lawmakers that Minnesota should not adopt the regulatory energy practices of California to implement greenhouse gas goals. As currently written, MSGA believes the Clean Cars initiative would leave farmers and agribusiness in regulatory limbo, stunt the environmental progress Minnesota has already made and increase the cost of vehicles for rural residents.

“There is no room in ‘One Minnesota’ for California,” MSGA President Jamie Beyer wrote to the committees. “Minnesota has been a leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) through our own rules and regulations and should remain a leader, not a follower, in this arena.” 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is clinging to outdated biofuels research and fails to acknowledge sizable environmental improvements in biofuels, Beyer told the committees. In 2018, Minnesota moved to B20 (20 percent biodiesel), retaining its status as a national biofuels leader. Using B20 in the summer months and B5 in the winter already equates to removing the emissions from nearly 230,000 vehicles from Minnesota roads each year. 

“Minnesota’s farmers and the biodiesel industry have invested millions of dollars into our industries, and Minnesota’s economy and air quality has benefited greatly from our work,” Beyer wrote.

An administrative hearing takes place Feb. 22-23. The proposal is open for public comment through mid-March. During the current legislative session, MSGA will continue advocating against the Clean Cars Minnesota rule as it presently stands. 

“Minnesota should look to create the next generation of GHG reduction strategies that use Minnesota solutions and promote Minnesota’s economy by helping  – and not ignoring – Minnesota’s biofuels plants and farmers,” Beyer wrote. 

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