Rep. Angie Craig represents Minnesota’s Second Congressional District. She is fighting for a Minnesota where every family member gets a fair shot to earn a good life. Rep. Craig learned the value of hard work from her mother, a single mom who raised three children while earning her teaching degree, and from watching her grandfather work as a farm foreman and then lose his job during the farm crisis in the 1980s. She learned firsthand how important it is to ensure family farms have the resources they need to succeed. That means increasing opportunities for an outstanding education, lowering health care costs and driving market access for our farmers. She will work with anyone and everyone to improve the lives and opportunities of Minnesotans.
We talked with Rep. Craig about the significance of the biofuels industry to Minnesota’s future, along with her thoughts on the growth of the E15 market in the state.
Can you share with our readers why the biofuel industry is important to the future of Minnesota?
Biofuels are an essential part of Minnesota’s farm economy. Expanding markets for biofuels creates jobs and drives economic growth in Minnesota. As national conversations surrounding climate change continue, we must position farmers as being part of the solution, not part of the problem. We know that biofuels significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve our chances of lowering bad emissions in the United States. I’m proud to support our nation’s biofuel facilities to improve our climate and our farm economy alike.
Hardship waivers are being granted to the world’s largest and most profitable oil refineries at the expense of the American farmer. These hardship waivers also continue to undermine the intent of the Renewable Fuel Standard. What do you think can be done to grow and stabilize markets for the ag industry?
These “hardship” waivers are a slap in the face to farm country, plain and simple. These waivers are a handout to big oil companies made on the backs of family farmers. For this reason, I joined a bipartisan letter to urge the Administration to end this unfair practice of issuing small refinery waivers to big oil companies, and I will continue to advocate for policies that expand our biofuels industry through my work on the bipartisan Congressional Biofuels Caucus.
In Minnesota there are 302 sites selling E15 year-round. Do you anticipate further growth for the E15 market and the possibility of it becoming the new E10?
I supported the President’s decision to allow for year round sales of E15, despite the problematic aspects of RIN reform that were tied to that rule. When it comes to expanding further growth in the E15 market, a lot of it comes down to the need for infrastructure investment. I am looking forward to finding ways to incentivize these developments with my colleagues and local stakeholders. Ultimately, we have to continue to tell the story of biofuels to gain consumer demand for the low cost and low emission fuel source that biofuels provide.
If you could share one last message with our readers who are invested in the future of ag, what would that message be? Farm families make up the fabric of Greater Minnesota.
I have spent these first few months in Congress doing what my colleagues on both sides of the aisle should do a little more of — listening. I visit local farms, hold farmer listening sessions and bring farmers to Washington to testify before the House Agriculture Committee because the best ideas don’t come from Washington lobbyists; they come from my constituents at home. While times are tough in farm country, the farmers I talk to are resilient folks who just want a fair shot. When we have more rural voices in the halls of Congress, we’re able to push for better policies that expand markets and grow economies for our farmers.