Minnesota is one of 21 states to receive federal funding to expand biofuel infrastructure and increase blender pumps at fueling stations; today’s investment will boost local economies, give drivers more choices, and reduce dependence on foreign oil

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Minnesota $8,000,000 in federal funding under the Biofuels Infrastructure Partnership (BIP) to expand biofuel infrastructure. Minnesota is one of 21 states to receive federal funding to expand biofuel infrastructure and increase the number of biofuels pumps at fueling stations. Today’s investment will boost local economies across Minnesota and the country, give drivers more choices at the pump and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The federal funds will be matched more than 100 percent by state and private funds, with the total joint partnership investing a total of $210 million across the country to strengthen the rural economy. In total, funds received through the BIP will help install nearly 5,000 pumps offering higher blends of ethanol nationwide.      

“We should be doing everything that we can to support the expansion of renewable fuels and today’s investment for Minnesota is a great step forward for Minnesota farmers,” said Klobuchar. “This increased funding for biofuel infrastructure projects will boost local economies across our state and drive innovation in clean energy, all while reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

“Minnesota-made biofuels create jobs, strengthen our economy, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Franken, a member of the Senate Energy Committee. “I'm pleased that Minnesota farmers, biofuel producers and marketers, and consumers will benefit from the increased support that our state is receiving for biofuel infrastructure. These investments will help Minnesotans continue to lead in the development and advancement of clean biofuel technology.”

“Minnesota’s corn farmers are proud of their role in bringing cleaner-burning and more affordable fuel choices at the pump to Minnesota drivers,” said Noah Hultgren, a family farmer in Raymond, Minn., and President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association. “As corn farmers wrap up another successful harvest, we welcome the news that Minnesota will be receiving this funding. I also want to thank Senator Klobuchar and Senator Franken for their support. Their work in Washington, combined with the work of corn farmers here at home, has helped Minnesota become a national leader in homegrown biofuels.”

Klobuchar has been a national leader in advocating for the expansion of renewable fuels. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and 2014 farm bill conferee, Klobuchar supported authorization of biofuels programs, and this year advocated for the BIP program with USDA on the state’s behalf. Earlier this month, Klobuchar convened a meeting in her office between 13 of her colleagues and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to push for the release of a strong final Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rule in November that supports homegrown ethanol production. This meeting followed a bipartisan meeting of 16 senators that Klobuchar convened in December of 2013 with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to call for changes to the proposed RFS 2014 rule. The senators have also sent multiple letters to McCarthy to urge changes to the administration’s proposed 2014 RFS rule and call for an increase in the proposed volumes that the EPA has set for biodiesel production in future years.

Franken, who helped author the energy section of the 2014 Farm Bill, has been a champion for biofuels during his time in the Senate. As a member of the Senate Energy Committee, he has been one of the leading advocates for greater investments in advanced biofuels. He pushed back hard when the Obama Administration proposed drastic cuts to the RFS, directly pressing President Obama, the head of the EPA, the White House Chief of Staff, and the federal agency that helps oversee the budget.