South Dakota Lawmakers Pass Ethanol Blender Pump Bill

Passed by the South Dakota House of Representatives on February 23, House Bill 1192 was unanimously passed on March 2 by the South Dakota Senate.  The bill will establish an incentive grant program for the installation of ethanol blender pumps, using $1 million in federal funds received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  The legislation awaits a signature from Republican Governor Mike Rounds, which is expected.

Under the legislation, grants must be issued between April 1, 2010 and May 28, 2010, and each grant may not exceed $10,000.  The text of HB 1192, introduced by Rep. Mitch Fargen, Democrat from District 8, can be read here:

http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2010/Bills/HB1192HST.pdf

The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) calls the legislation a win for consumers across the state.

“We support maximum consumer choice at the pump, and this legislation will make it easier for South Dakota fuel marketers to add more renewable fuel choices for their customers,” said Brian Jennings, Executive Vice President of ACE.  “Ultimately we need to shift the power to decide what fuels motorists use away from government agencies and oil companies, and back to the consumer.  Motorists should be able to choose between a variety of blends such as E10, E15, E20, E30, E85, and even ethanol-free gasoline, and we believe that when they are given meaningful choices at the pump, they will select the ethanol blends that work best in their own vehicles.”

Blender pumps are not new to the fuel industry, but are finding new use with E85.  Featuring two underground tanks, usually one for unleaded and one for E85, the pumps can dispense a variety of mid-level ethanol blends such as E20, E30, and E85 for use in flexible fuel vehicles.

Our Take:
Minnesota is looking for ways to increase jobs, increase government revenue to balance its budget and jump start the still sluggish state economy—why don’t they harness the proven economic development success of ethanol, and build on that foundation the way South Dakota now plans to do? More ethanol infrastructure in our state would mean more jobs for Minnesotans. Let’s copy our neighbor and make ethanol easier to buy for Minnesota drivers. If we can add blender pumps to an approval from the EPA for E15 sometime this summer, the increased call for farm-based renewable fuel will mean a sizeable increase in value-added production here, and less importation of foreign oil. That’s more dollars and jobs here in Minnesota and that’s a winner for everyone.

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