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Honorable Tim Walz

Representing the 1st District of MINNESOTA


Energy Independence | Ethanol | Gas Prices

America needs to transition to a clean energy economy and southern Minnesota is uniquely positioned to lead the way in this transition. I firmly believe that American ingenuity will allow us to meet our energy needs, create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil. By working towards a sustainable and renewable energy economy we can ensure a brighter future for all Americans.

I believe we need a comprehensive strategy to meet our energy needs. That’s why I have been proud to work on legislation that would allow us to take control of our energy future, while at the same time, creating jobs and making critical investments to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure. The basic premise of my bill is simple: take the royalties from expanding responsible access to our domestic oil supply and invest them back into America.

My all-American energy bill:

  • Expands access to responsible off-shore oil drilling
  • Invests these royalties into real clean, American energy solutions
  • Rebuilds America’s crumbling roads, bridges, locks, and dams
  • Creates U.S. jobs – both in the short and long term
  • Reduces our dependence on foreign oil

Energy Independence

As our population and communities expand, demand for energy production in the United States continues to increase rapidly. As demand increases, so do energy costs, forcing utility bills through the roof.

I have heard from many constituents who are concerned about the rising cost of energy and the need to become energy independent, so the United States is not reliant on other countries, including some of our enemies, to supply our energy. Many also want the United States to speed up our research on alternative, clean sources of energy; from solar and wind power to clean coal technology.

I strongly believe that we must invest in alternative sources of energy and develop new, innovative technology that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil and put us at the forefront of the clean energy economy worldwide. By doing this research and development, we will create new clean energy jobs. These jobs will be in all sectors, from engineering and science to marketing and business administration, and will help support the next generation of energy and power. And, we will reduce our dependence on foreign countries for our energy, which is a critical goal of our national security strategy.

Recently, I introduced the American Energy Opportunity Act. The basic premise of the Act is simple: take the royalties from expanding access to our domestic oil supply and invest them back into America. We must end our dependence on  foreign oil, doing so will allow us to take control of our energy future and keep prices at the pump down. The bill would extend important tax credits, such as the production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy right here in southern Minnesota. The bill would also establish the “Energy Independence and Security Fund”, which will fund advanced research projects, wind energy, solar energy and advanced vehicle research.

We must continue to encourage the growth of these industries and the jobs in rural Minnesota that comes with it. Ending our dependence on foreign oil means more than just lower gas prices; it also means more prosperous future for southern Minnesotans like you.

Ethanol: Made in Minnesota Energy

As you know, Minnesota is a national leader in the push to develop renewable fuels such as ethanol. Since 1997, every gallon of gasoline sold in Minnesota has included 10 percent ethanol and in 2005, the Minnesota State Legislature passed a law requiring this “E-10” standard to increase to 20 percent in 2013.

Ethanol has helped reduce our reliance on foreign oil imports and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has consistently found that ethanol production is energy efficient and yields more energy than it uses. Our use of ethanol has helped Minnesota’s farm families increase and diversify their income, while the construction of ethanol plants in rural Minnesota has played an important role in reinvigorating rural economies and brought jobs into those communities. In fact, about 40 percent of the total ethanol production capacity in the U.S. is owned and controlled by farmers and other local investors.

I have heard from some southern Minnesotans who are concerned that ethanol production has a harmful impact on the environment, feed prices, or land that has been enrolled in conservation programs. I understand these concerns and I take them seriously.

I do not believe that corn-based ethanol will be able to displace all of America’s oil imports. However, I think it can play an important role in helping our country reduce our reliance on foreign oil while we transition to new technologies. To that end, I support efforts to increase our research into ethanol and other technologies that hold great promise.

Gas Prices

Sharp spikes in fuel prices have immediate and painful consequences for us all. In rural areas like southern Minnesota, people rely on their vehicles to get around. The prices of goods in our stores are impacted by the extra costs associated with shipping when gas is too expensive. We must find a way to stop our markets from being held hostage by the price of oil.

The reasons behind fluctuating fuel costs are numerous and complex, but one thing remains clear: our nation’s reliance on the resources of other countries leaves us susceptible to price hikes caused by international turmoil or speculation in the markets. Specifically, our dependence on oil as an energy source means that high prices can paralyze our economy.

As noted above, my All-American Energy bill—the American Energy Opportunity Act—would go a long ways in reducing our dependence on foreign oil. While this bill is important, it is not the only measure I’m advocating for. Another problem we must solve, and which contributes significantly to rising gas prices in our area of the country, is the simultaneous closure of area refineries. In May of 2013, a number of refineries closed temporarily for maintenance. This affected the supply of oil, sending prices through the roof. This makes no sense. Consumers should not be forced to suffer because refineries can't better coordinate their closures.

To this end, I led a coalition of MN legislators, including Representatives Peterson, McCollum, Ellison and Nolan in introducing the Gas Price and Refinery Capacity Relief Act of 2013. This Act would require refineries to report to the Department of Energy, one year in advance, of any planned outage. The Department of Energy would then be required to analyze this data in an effort to identify any simultaneous outages which may cause the type of disruptions experienced by Minnesotans in May of 2013 when they faced gas prices above $4. Senators Klobuchar and Franken have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

This is a common sense fix which can help provide relief to consumers.


More on Energy

Apr 13, 2017 Press Release

LITTLE FALLS, MN – Today, U.S. Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Camp Ripley to dedicate the Camp’s recently constructed solar array. The $25 million, 10-megawatt solar farm – Minnesota’s largest solar farm – is the result of a public-private partnership between the Minnesota National Guard and Minnesota Power.

Feb 17, 2016 Press Release

Mankato, MN [2/17/16] – Today, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) toured the School Sisters of Notre Dame solar farm located atop Good Counsel Hill and discussed how important investing in renewable energy is to meeting America’s energy demands, creating jobs and addressing the threats posed by climate change.

Jul 17, 2015 Press Release

Janesville, MN [7/17/15] – Today, Congressman Tim Walz visited local biofuels plant, Guardian Energy in Janesville, to highlight the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and all-American energy solutions as a driver for the middle class economy.

May 27, 2015 Press Release

Tours local solar energy projects, touts jobs and cost savings for consumers

Rep. Walz tours solar energy projects with local energy leaders

May 21, 2015 Press Release

Washington, DC [5/21/15] – Today, Congressman Robert E. Latta (R-OH) and Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN) announced the founding of the Congressional Propane Caucus.

The caucus has been formed in order to provide a bipartisan forum to engage Members of Congress, their staff, and the public on issues of importance to propane consumers and the propane industry. 

Mar 19, 2015 Press Release

Public-Private partnership, led by the President, includes voluntary commitments from companies like GE, Honeywell, & IBM to tackle the issue

Nov 14, 2014 Press Release

Washington, DC [11/14/14] Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), along with Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN), today introduced the Propane Education and Research Enhancement Act of 2014. The bipartisan legislation directs the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to more accurately calculate consumer propane costs. It also enables the propane industry to use its resources to mitigate price spikes.

Sep 12, 2014 Press Release

New Ulm, MN [9/12/14] – Today, Representative Tim Walz toured New Ulm Quartzite and talked about ways to create opportunity and jobs for southern Minnesota, including through his all-American Energy and Infrastructure Act. Rep. Walz’s vision for changing the way Washington thinks about infrastructure and energy is simple: take the royalty payments for offshore drilling and invest them into clean energy and construction jobs that would rebuild our roads and bridges at home, like Highway 14 in New Ulm.

Aug 18, 2014 Press Release

This year Walz took part in a short bike ride with students and outdoor enthusiasts prior to the potluck

Winona, MN [8/18/14]—Today, Representative Tim Walz—Ranking Member of the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Energy, and Forestry—hosted the second annual Walz Conservation Potluck lunch with conservation leaders on the banks of the Mississippi in Winona. Prior to the potluck, Walz took part in a short bike ride with students and outdoor enthusiasts.

Apr 29, 2014 Press Release

Washington, DC [4/29/14] – Today, Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), and Rick Nolan (D-MN) met with senior officials at the White House to discuss the importance of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The Members shared their strong concerns about the EPA’s proposed rule on the RFS. They also stated their belief that the RFS plays a critical role as an alternative to foreign oil, while benefiting local economies across the country and creating jobs in rural communities. The Midwestern lawmakers released the following statement: