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As others see it: Minnesota takes big biodiesel step

Minnesota government leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty can take pride in moving Minnesota forward with a strategic energy policy that is leading the country.

On May 1, Minnesota became one of the first, if not the first, state to require its diesel fuel be blended with 5 percent biodiesel, up from the 2 percent level of the past few years. It's part of a plan established by Pawlenty and approved overwhelmingly by both parties in the Legislature. The plan makes Minnesota the first state in the nation to require B20, or 20 percent biodiesel by the year 2015.

Vehicles have been running on the 2 percent biodiesel since 2005 with little or no trouble. The product is made mainly from homegrown soybeans, but recently, more and more farmers are looking at producing biodiesel from other feedstocks, such as animal fats, spent cooking oil and algae, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

This progress should not be underestimated, and these programs should be pushed even more as we grow increasingly aware of our dependence on foreign and limited domestic petroleum. ...

Minnesota has been a leader in clean fuels since 2005. An EPA report lauds Minnesota as a leader in alternative fuel production noting the state's numerous ethanol plants and its establishment of some 100 fueling stations that sell E85, a cleaner burner gasoline with 85 percent ethanol. ...

Energy security and independence are goals all Minnesotans can embrace. Now the state and its leaders have given ordinary citizens tools to achieve and act on those goals. It's up to us to make energy independence happen.

The Free Press of Mankato