Energy bill Minnesota-friendly
ST. PAUL -- Rural Minnesota will benefit from a federal energy plan expected to pass soon, according to one of the senators in favor of it. Sen. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that as passage nears, provisions to help Midwest corn and soybean farmers...
ST. PAUL -- Rural Minnesota will benefit from a federal energy plan expected to pass soon, according to one of the senators in favor of it.
Sen. Mark Dayton said Wednesday that as passage nears, provisions to help Midwest corn and soybean farmers remain intact.
Sections of the bill to encourage the use of corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel will help Minnesota farmers, Dayton said.
"I think we will see in a decade a tremendous growth in the consumption" of the two farm-based fuels, he added, "to better balance with our foreign energy consumption."
Ethanol use in gasoline must increase from the current 2 million gallons to 5 million gallons by 2012, Dayton said. The amount of ethanol would be twice the amount of oil that could be pumped from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, something President Bush wanted but senators defeated.
New York and California senators Tuesday fought to remove the ethanol requirement, but Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., led the successful effort to keep the provision.
The bill also contains a tax credit for the use of biodiesel fuel, a vegetable-oil additive usually made from soybeans. The tax credit lowers the diesel fuel tax 1 cent per gallon for every 1 percent of biodiesel added to diesel fuel.
A law passed this year by the Minnesota Legislature mandates diesel to contain 2 percent biodiesel by 2005.
The Senate bill contains a Dayton provision requiring the 6,000-vehicle federal fleet to use a 20 percent blend of biodiesel, when possible.
The bill, debated for six weeks, gives $14 billion in energy tax breaks. It now goes to a conference committee to reconcile differences with a House bill that called for Arctic oil drilling and gave less help to biodiesel and ethanol.
Dayton said the conference committee probably will not make any decisions before the November election.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Don Davis at (651) 290-0707