Blender pump legislation to go before SD senate committee

By Tim Albrecht | February 16, 2018

A new legislative bill to fund more ethanol blender pumps across South Dakota is set to go before the state Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee Thursday, Feb. 20. The bill is being proposed by Sen. Jason Frerichs, of Wilmot, South Dakota.

The bill, SB 210, would transfer $1 million to the ethanol infrastructure program to update fuel stations with blender pumps and the related infrastructure, says Frerichs. “We’re working on this bill because the ethanol plants in South Dakota have received an incentive payment through our Petroleum Release Compensation Fund. Since most of the plants are getting their payments taken care of there will be extra money there. Instead of having that extra money revert to a general fund, or highway fund, we want to see it continue to go towards ethanol incentives.”

Frerichs would like to focus on E30 as part of the new blender pumps, referencing Glacial Lakes Energy, LLC’s E30 Challenge, which pushed residents of Watertown, South Dakota, to try E30 in their vehicles. Watertown is home to a handful of blender pumps, so it works well there, but the bill could expand the reach of E30 challenge, he says. “We’re thinking of Sioux Falls or Rapid City as places where we can have mid-range ethanol blends at affordable prices and need that blender pump infrastructure.”

The push for blender pumps has been a constant emphasis for Frerichs since he joined the South Dakota Legislature in 2009. “It’s always been a passion of mine,” he says. “I’m a corn farmer myself and almost all of our corn goes to the local ethanol plants. So, it’s very important to me that we keep our ethanol industry vibrant and working well in the Upper Midwest.”

It’s a goal of Frerichs’ to set up ethanol in the state for future success and wants to continue the incentives for mid-range ethanol blends, he says. “I want consumers to have the choice to pick the blend of ethanol they think is the best in terms of cost effectiveness and power, and that’s what blender pumps offer people.”