Minnesota, with a population of approximately 5,000,000, is a major producer of ethanol in the United States. In 2004, Governor Pawlenty referred to his plan for biofuels in the state as "making Minnesota the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy."
- 4-7 June 2012, Minneapolis: International Fuel Ethanol Workshop and Expo (Themes: biomass, biofuels, ethanol)
- 4-6 May 2010, Minneapolis: 2010 International BIOMASS Conference & Expo. (Themes: crop residues, energy crops, wood residues, livestock and poultry wastes, MSW)
- 18-22 August 2008, Bloomington: Short Rotation Crops International Conference: Biofuels, Bioenergy and Bioproducts from Sustainable Agricultural and Forest Crops. (Themes: biofuels, bioenergy, bioproducts, crops, wood)
- 28-30 September 2008, Minneapolis: Advanced biofuels wokshop and trade show. (Themes: advanced biofuels, technology, feedstocks, markets)
- 28 September - 3 October 2008, St. Paul and other locations: International Bioenergy Days. (Themes: bioenergy)
- U.S. Ethanol Industry to Keep Subsidies Until End of 2011, 1 August 2011 by Bloomberg: "U.S. ethanol subsidies aren’t affected by a congressional agreement to lift the country’s debt limit that may be voted on by both chambers today, according to industry groups."
- "The 45-cent tax credit for each gallon of the biofuel blended into gasoline and the 54-cent tariff on Brazilian imports, due to expire Dec. 31, will stay in place for now, according to the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy, Washington-based industry trade groups."
- "Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, forged a July 7 deal with Senators Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, and John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, to eliminate the government supports and to include it as part of the deficit- reduction package. The agreement proposed to reduce federal deficit by $1.33 billion and to dedicate $668 million to biofuels and new technologies."
- "The U.S. is required to use 12.6 billion gallons of ethanol this year and 15 billion gallons by 2015 under an energy law signed in 2007, known as the Renewable Fuels Standard."
- Senators Reach Deal on Ethanol Subsidy Repeal, Urge Swift Congressional Action for Maximum Benefit, 7 July 2011 by The New York Times: "Bipartisan Senate negotiators today reached a deal to save $1.3 billion through an early repeal of two major ethanol tax benefits, setting what could prove a precedent for more energy-sector tax changes as part of a sprawling deal to raise the nation's debt limit."
- "The agreement released by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) would end the ethanol blenders' tax credit and the tariff on imported biofuels this month, routing most of the proceeds to deficit reduction while extending tax breaks for infrastructure as well as cellulosic and smaller producers."
- "But without a House-side buy-in to the deal, its prospects of becoming law -- either as part of a larger measure to raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling or as a stand-alone bill -- are slim."
- "Klobuchar said today that she saw the ethanol accord as a template for a similar tax-benefit compromise with oil and gas companies."
- "Ethanol interest groups largely hailed the terms of the Senate agreement, which would extend the tax credit for cellulosic production through 2015 with an expansion for algae-based fuels, extend tax incentives for infrastructure through 2014 and extend benefits for smaller ethanol producers through 2012."
- Franken, Klobuchar propose end to ethanol subsidies, 5 May 2011 by MPR News: "Minnesota's two U.S. senators, along with lawmakers from other corn-growing states, have introduced a bill that would gradually end tax subsidies for ethanol producers."
- "Under the proposal, the tax credit for the corn-based fuel would drop from 45 cents a gallon today to 15 cents a gallon by 2013. After that, the size of the credit would be linked to the price of oil."
- "The bill would maintain support for cellulosic ethanol to promote a transition to those fuels, which don't use corn as a feedstock."
- "The bill comes as deficit hawks have zeroed in on tax breaks for ethanol as a sign of special interest influence over the federal tax code."
- "Minnesota produced about 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol least year, about 8 percent of all production in the U.S."
- It’s Time We Break Down the Blend Wall – For Good, 15 April 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "There is no greater hurdle to the expansion of the American biofuels industry than the artificial barriers to the market. Through flawed policy and outdated regulation, these barriers serve as a mandate for the American people that 90 percent of our fuel must be gasoline."
- "And without a market, we will continue to see private capital sidelines instead of being invested into commercializing the great innovations of our industry."
- "Last year, Growth Energy proposed the Fueling Freedom Plan. This proposal seeks to reform tax policy in order to encourage the installation of as many as 200,000 Flex Fuel pumps, and see every auto sold in the U.S. be a Flex Fuel vehicles."
- "In March, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., introduced legislation they called 'Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies,' or SAFEST. Their bill would not only establish a tax-credit for ethanol and biodiesel, but it would use tax incentives to encourage greater production of flex-fuel vehicles and the build-out of infrastructure to deliver ethanol."
- Corn’s biofuel role in question, 10 April 2011 by Star Tribune: "Attempts to dethrone King Corn in the renewable fuels market are more frequent and forceful than they used to be. Corn ethanol no longer qualifies as an innovative technology that garners broad federal subsidies."
- "Al Franken, one of Minnesota's senators, said his bill safeguards the utility and availability of ethanol from any source. In fact, there is not enough productive capacity in corn ethanol to meet the country's long-term goals for renewable fuels."
- "In the world of renewable energy, cellulose means whatever grows naturally in renewable supplies. Theoretically, this is the 50-state solution to American energy independence -- biorefineries that convert anything from sawdust to saw grass into alternatives to gasoline."
- "The problem, say guys like Kelly Nixon, is turning theory into practice. 'We looked at the cost, and it was too expensive without millions from [the federal government],' Nixon said. 'I think the little guys are probably out [of the cellulosic conversion business].'"
- Midwest senators strike back with pro-biofuels bill, 11 March 2011 by Ethanol Producer Magazine: "Two Midwest senators proposed legislation March 10 favoring the build-out of biofuels infrastructure and continued federal support of ethanol and biodiesel. The Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies Act, introduced by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., would establish incentives for biofuels infrastructure and deployment, develop a 'more cost-effective' tax credit program for ethanol and biodiesel, establish a renewable energy standard and encourage greater production of hybrid, electric and flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs)."
- "The bill immediately received widespread support from renewable fuels and agriculture groups."
- "The 117-page SAFEST Act covers a wide spectrum of renewable fuels interests and contains several important provisions related to the ethanol industry. It amends the definition of 'advanced biofuel' to include corn starch-derived ethanol....It attempts to eliminate liability concerns related to the use of ethanol in combustion engines. It also provides subsidies for the installation of blender pumps and requires any entity that owns or manages 10 or more retail fueling stations to install a blender pump at each station."
- "The legislation also includes text that would prevent the U.S. EPA from considering international indirect land use changes when calculating biofuels’ lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and calls for the National Academies of Science to conduct a review of methodologies used to project indirect GHG emissions relating to transportation fuels."
- Grasses Have Potential as Alternate Ethanol Crop, Illinois Study Finds, 1 November 2010 by Science Daily: "Researchers at the University of Illinois have completed the first extensive geographic yield and economic analysis of potential bioenergy grass crops in the Midwestern United States."
- "[F]ederal regulations mandate that 79 billion liters of biofuels must be produced annually from non-corn biomass by 2022. Large grasses, such as switchgrass and miscanthus, could provide biomass with the added benefits of better nitrogen fixation and carbon capture, higher ethanol volumes per acre and lower water requirements than corn."
- "Switchgrass is large prairie grass native to the Midwest, and Miscanthus, a sterile hybrid, is already widely cultivated in Europe as a biofuel crop."
- "The team published its results in the October issue of the journal Global Change Biology Bioenergy."
- "The researchers found that, in general, the yield is very high for miscanthus -- up to three times higher than switchgrass in the Midwest. Even through switchgrass is native to the region, it doesn't grow well in higher latitudes like Minnesota or Wisconsin because it has poor tolerance for cold temperatures."
- "Most notably, for the southernmost counties -- much of southern Illinois and nearly all of Missouri -- the model predicts greater production of grasses than of current corn and soy crops. This could be a key factor in farmers' decisions to cultivate biofuel crops."
- "Unlike annual crops that provide a farmer with a crop every year, miscanthus and switchgrass require a lag of at least two years before harvesting."
- Ethanol tax break may ride on U.S. energy bill, 13 July 2010 by Reuters: "Senators from the U.S. Midwest may attach a long-term extension of biofuel tax breaks to an energy bill being formulated by Democratic leaders."
- "Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota mentioned the idea of linking the issues during a speech on Tuesday to soybean growers."
- "A $1-a-gallon tax credit for biodiesel lapsed at the end of 2009 and major ethanol incentives, including a blender tax credit and a tariff on imported ethanol, expire at the end of this year."
- Corn Crowds Out Wildlife in Prairie Pothole Region, 13 January 2010 press release by National Wildlife Federation: "A new report shows how government incentives for corn ethanol are driving farmers to shift land into corn production, resulting in significant decreases in grassland bird populations throughout the fragile Prairie Pothole Region. The study analyzes the current and potential impacts of increased corn ethanol production on wildlife and habitat in the Prairie Pothole states of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota."
- "According to the report, U.S. ethanol capacity has grown almost 200 percent since the passage of the 2005 Energy Bill, which mandated a large increase in domestic ethanol production."
- "By identifying areas with the most dramatic land-use changes in Prairie Pothole states, researchers were able to see where there are 'hotspots' of increased corn plantings and habitat loss." The study's "results showed that counties with high increases in corn plantings had significant declines of nearly 30 percent in populations of sensitive grassland birds between 2005 and 2008."
- Download the full report:
- EPA's peer review of indirect land use criticized, 7 August 2009 by Feedstuffs: "Today the Environmental Protection Agency released its peer review of the renewable fuel standards lifecycle analysis."
- "House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D., Minn.) said the review panel expressed concern about using incomplete and unreliable models to indirect land use changes and indicated they didn't have enough time to review this 'convoluted and complicated proposal.'"
- "Ethanol groups said the agency 'stacked the deck against biofuels' in its peer review process. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) criticized EPA for selecting 'peers' who have been vocal opponents of biofuels or who have released studies later called into question".
- Ethanol proposal may derail climate bill, 26 May 2009 by Politico: "Rural Democrats are threatening to vote against climate change legislation unless the Environmental Protection Agency halts new proposals that could hamper the development of corn ethanol."
- "The debate [over ethanol] intensified recently when EPA released a draft decision ruling that 'indirect land use' issues must be considered when calculating the carbon footprint of corn-based ethanol. That decision raises the overall emissions of corn ethanol by including sometimes tenuously linked activities — critics say totally unrelated activities — in its carbon count."
- "House Agricultural Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (R-Minn.)...and the 26 Democrats on his committee say they will vote against climate change legislation passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week unless it better addresses several concerns raised by farmers, including reversing the EPA decision."
- Is Biomass Harvesting Sustainable?, late August 2008 (September 2008 issue) by Biomass Magazine: "Sustainability is a buzzword in the biomass industry. But sustainable can mean many things....A collaboration of researchers studied a biomass operation...in Minnesota to look at all the different components of a sustainable biomass harvesting operation."
- "Researchers from Minnesota and Wisconsin zeroed in on one particular system — small trees and undergrowth in the Superior National Forest — to gauge the environmental and economic costs of removing biomass from the forest."
- The study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) found that "there are many ways to interrupt a smooth supply of biomass to a market."
- Lead author Don Arnosti was quoted as saying, "What I have concluded is that biomass, at least woody biomass will likely forever be a coproduct....It cannot be seen as the single reason you are doing land management.
- Download the IATP study, Harvesting Fuel: Cutting Costs and Reducing Forest Fire Hazards Through Biomass Harvest.
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