Senate holds hearing on bill to repeal ethanol blend requirements

A Missouri senator thinks corn grown in our state belongs in feed troughs, not in our gas tanks.
Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee’s Summit, has filed a bill that would repeal the 10 blend requirement for Missouri gas station owners. Under current law, gas stations are required to use a 10 percent blend in fuel if the price of ethanol is at or below the cost of gasoline.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow in front of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Bartle said in his weekly column on Friday that he plans on being at the hearing for support.
Bartle said the mandate forces farmers to grow corn for fuel instead of food, driving up grocery store and animal feed prices. He said during these hard economic times Missourians do not need more costs.
“I cannot think of a worse time to make things any more financially difficult for Missourians, all of whom are affected by food prices and are struggling more than ever to make ends meet,” Bartle said in his column.
Ray County Grain Growers General Manager Mike Nordwald was not available for comment for this story, but in the past has discounted Bartle’s claims. Nordwald said in December that grain prices and fuel prices were lower but consumers were not seeing the trickle down at the store.
Bartle said the mandate simply props up certain industries and prohibits the development of other fuel sources.
“By getting in the business of picking ‘winners’ and ‘losers,’ state government is hindering innovation and the development of other technologies,” Bartle said.
Another bill being heard by the Agriculture Committee tomorrow would make the same requirement for diesel fuel sold in the state.
Senate Bill 29 would require retailers to sell a five percent bio-diesel blend fuel. Like the ethanol statute, retailers would not be liable to purchase the blend unless the bio-diesel could be purchased for less or equal to regular diesel.

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