By Michael Spieker

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, are introducing legislation to create a renewable fuel infrastructure grant program to help fuel retailers sell high blends of ethanol. The legislation would help streamline the rules that prevent retail stations from providing higher blends.

Klobuchar, D-Minn., on Monday, April 5 held a press conference to discuss the legislation she is working on to advance biofuel blends by making infrastructure investments available and her work with the EPA to expand the market for biofuels.

The Renewable Fuel Infrastructure Investment and Market Expansion Act would authorize $500 million over five years for infrastructure grants for fuel retailers.

Klobuchar is also working with Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., on the Adopt GREET Act, which would incentivize higher blends of ethanol and make them more competitive in a lower carbon environment. It would also require the EPA to update its greenhouse gas modeling for ethanol and biodiesel. The legislation would require the EPA to adopt the Agronne National Lab’s Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) Model for both fuels.

It would also require the EPA to update its modeling every five years or report to Congress to affirm its modeling is current or otherwise explain why no updates were made.

“By increasing biofuel blends, we can start making a difference (in reducing greenhouse gas emissions) tomorrow and every day thereafter,” said Minnesota Corn Growers board member Brian Thalmann during the press conference. “This infrastructure bill would tie together to help these biofuel blends advance much more quickly.”

Thalmann noted that the infrastructure of a significant percentage of retail stations in Minnesota is in need of being updated.

Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council member Chad Willis was also appreciative of Klobuchar’s efforts in getting the EPA’s greenhouse gas modeling updated.

“We have a good product in helping with reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We just need help getting the word out and we appreciate your help with that,” Willis told Klobuchar during the press conference.