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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL)

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006
ST. PAUL - State Representatives Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis) & Laura Brod (R-New Prague) & State Senator Scott Dibble (DFL-Minneapolis) are applauding the signing of a bill putting Minnesota on the forefront for developing energy efficient plug-in hybrid vehicles. This new type of car can be charged with a standard home outlet and will run 40-90 percent of its miles, depending on driving area, without burning a drop of gasoline. All other times, the car will work like fuel-efficient hybrids already on the market and can burn renewable, Minnesota produced E-85 Minnesota produced gasoline. The new law instructs the state to buy plug-in hybrids when they become available, encourages Minnesota State University-Mankato to develop a flex-fuel plug-in hybrid vehicle, and creates a task force to report how to build the vehicles in Minnesota. "Minnesota has the resources necessary to make flexible fuel hybrid production a reality," said Hornstein, the bill's chief House author. "We have the research at Minnesota State-Mankato, we have the corn & ethanol industry, we have a growing number of wind farms, and we have the Ford plant." Brod, a key Republican co-author said the demand for these vehicles is there. "With rising gas prices and our dependence on foreign oil, the demand for vehicles that will save money and run on fuel produced here at home is increasing," Brod said. “This is good for our environment, good for reducing our reliance on foreign oil, good for our agriculture economy, and will continue Minnesota’s status as a nation leader in the area of renewable fuels and energy." Dibble, the bill's chief Senate author, noted that the task force charged with developing a plan to build these vehicles involves representatives from both the union and management of the Ford Plant. "Ford has said it will close the plant, and the task force can help us develop new opportunities," Dibble said. "We have a technology being developed in Minnesota that could be built at the Ford Plant, which already runs on renewable energy generated at the plant’s hydroelectric dam on the Mississippi river." Several organizations helped to spearhead the legislation through the committee process including the Twin Cities-based Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and Fresh Energy, formerly Minnesotans for An Energy Efficient Economy. For more information, contact David Morris at the ILSR at (612) 379-3815, or Michael Noble at Fresh Energy (651) 726-7563. -30-