Ensuring a new clean fuel standard is truly clean

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Transportation is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo by MnDOT)

In late 2021, the Walz administration announced an initiative to explore a clean fuel standard for Minnesota.

While such a standard may hold promise for reducing transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions, it also poses potential risks to our state's water quality, habitat, pollinators and public health.

State leaders need to take care not to incentivize or fund the further conversion of natural areas to row-crop acreage for the production of corn ethanol (which already consumes roughly 40% of Minnesota's corn crop). In curbing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, it's vital newly enacted policies don't increase emissions and exacerbate other environmental problems in the agricultural sector.

Last session, FMR was one of 22 organizations that delivered a letter to the Walz administration detailing our position on the state's proposed clean fuel standard rulemaking process. In short, any clean fuel standard proposal brought before the Legislature should:

  • Set a science-based emissions reduction goal that aligns with the goals of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
  • Define "clean" to include air, water and habitat
  • Embrace winter-hardy oilseeds as a feedstock for next-gen biofuels
  • Protect conservation and forested lands
  • Invest in equitable electrification
  • Include realistic cropland emissions assumptions.

The process and principles should be inclusive, transparent, equitable, affordable and technology-neutral. 

Going forward, FMR will work with a broad range of allies to explore the potential for legislation similar to what was heard in the House Climate and Energy Finance and Policy Committee in March of 2022. 

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