Chair Sieben, Vice Chair Sullivan, Commissioner Means, Commissioner Schuerger, and
Commissioner Tuma,

Thank you for your service to the state of Minnesota and navigating the challenging and complex topics that come before the Public Utilities Commission. 

Green Plains is a leading agriculture and biorefining company focused on the development and utilization of fermentation, agricultural and biological technologies in the processing of annually renewable crops into sustainable value-added ingredients. This includes the production of cleaner low-carbon biofuels, renewable feedstocks for advanced biofuels and high-purity alcohols for
use in cleaners and disinfectants. Green Plains is an innovative producer of novel ingredients for animal and aquaculture diets to help satisfy a growing global appetite for sustainable protein. Based here in the Midwest, our company and nearly 1,000 team members operate 11 biorefineries across the region, including two in Minnesota, that process over 300 million bushels of corn to produce over 900 million gallons of low-carbon biofuels every year.

We are proud to be part of an industry that that is driving economic growth and improving environmental outcomes in Minnesota and beyond. Minnesota-based ethanol producers contribute nearly $2.1 billion to the state’s GDP every year, support more than 22,000 total jobs, and purchase approximately half of the corn grown in the state (corn is planted on approximately 8.4 million acres in Minnesota according to the U.S Department of Agriculture). A declining ethanol industry would be devastating for our economy and farmers, who would likely experience reduced commodity prices and weaker land values as a result. 

As a result, it is critical that we take the steps necessary to ensure the ethanol and agricultural industries remain competitive not just today but in the years and decades to come. That is the reason why eight of our biorefineries, including our plants in Fairmont, Minnesota and Fergus Falls, Minnesota, along with 24 other facilities across the Midwest have joined the Summit Carbon Solutions project. These investments will reduce the carbon intensity of the ethanol our facilities produce and allow us to sell it at a premium in the growing number of states and countries that have adopted low carbon fuel standards. California, the largest ethanol consuming state, and Canada, the largest U.S. ethanol importer, have both adopted policies that incentivize the use of low carbon fuels. With more and more states and countries considering adopting these standards, we believe this is the future of the ethanol industry and the best way to keep it strong for years to come.

The flip side of that coin is that the ethanol industry could experience significant challenges without being able to rapidly decarbonize and access these critical markets. If our industry is going to continue to maintain employment levels and continue purchasing corn from family farms at the quantity we do today, we need to be able to compete in a world that is increasingly decarbonizing. 

This project will also provide meaningful economic benefits across Minnesota. During construction, an average of $54 million will be invested in each of the counties where the project is located, providing a boost to local businesses. Once the system is in service, an average of $1.28 million in new property taxes in those same counties will help support schools, roads, public safety officials, and more.

Our company is excited to see Summit Carbon Solutions’ application with the PUC move forward and we hope the Commission will follow its typical processes for routing pipelines. Specifically, we believe that the environmental review of the project should follow Minnesota Chapter 216G. Moreover, the company has held numerous public forums, engaged a wide range of stakeholders, and met individually with landowners in these communities to introduce the project, answer questions, and address any concerns.

For all of these reasons, we hope you will support this critical infrastructure project. If you have any questions or concerns about the project, please feel free to reach out. 

Sincerely,

Devin Mogler
SVP Government Relations, Sustainability and Communications
Green Plains Inc