Letter: A need for year-round E15

Published 6:46 am Thursday, March 21, 2019

In Southern Minnesota, the ethanol industry improves agricultural communities and boosts the statewide economy. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farm income has decreased by 46 percent over the last five years. Increased markets for homegrown biofuels could help reverse that trend.

By purchasing crops and manufacturing ethanol, Minnesota’s biofuel plants help raise the value of crops while simultaneously improving air quality. Ethanol keeps gasoline prices lower and offers more miles per dollar than standard gasoline.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the sale of 15 percent ethanol blend (E15) for eight months of the year, but the agency continues to restrict the sale of E15 in the summer due to outdated regulations.

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These regulations directly help big oil companies while hurting everyday farmers. President Trump promised the EPA would lift the restrictions, making year-round E15 a reality. However, the EPA has yet to follow through after his announcement. Deregulation of E15 has vast bipartisan support from across the country, including within our state. Minnesota is one of the nation’s top producers of corn-based ethanol and would benefit from this. We need to see the EPA follow through on the President’s promise. We need year-round E15!

Dan Sparks

State Senator, District 27