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Northern Tier Energy set to talk amid debate on gas price bill

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ST. PAUL PARK — A Northern Tier Energy representative said new company managers will meet with state lawmakers to discuss concerns that gas prices at the firm’s SuperAmerica stores are higher near the St. Paul Park refinery than elsewhere in the Twin Cities.

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“We will engage,” Mike Ahern, a lobbyist for Northern Tier, told legislators last week.

Ahern’s comments came as the Senate Commerce Committee considered a bill by Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, that would place certain restrictions on how much Northern Tier can charge for its fuel at stations near the refinery.

Sieben said she authored the bill “sort of out of frustration” after she and Rep. Dan Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, were unable to get a response from Northern Tier about gas price discrepancies in south Washington County.

“We’ve never really gotten an answer or an explanation,” Sieben said.

The proposal by Sieben and Schoen would require that fuel sold at stations owned by Northern Tier Energy within seven miles of the refinery can’t be priced higher than at any of its gas stations within 35 miles. Northern Tier owns SuperAmerica stores across the Twin Cities and the region. The bill does not affect other gas stations.

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