Manitoba PCs promise biodiesel boost

Manitoba trucks may soon be burning more biodiesel.

Today, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister promised to increase the renewable content in diesel fuel to five percent if the Progressive Conservatives are re-elected Sept. 10.

Right now, diesel fuel in Manitoba must contain two percent biodiesel.

Canola industry associations praised Pallister for the biodiesel commitment, saying canola growers, Manitoba’s economy and the environment will all benefit.

“Enhancing biofuel use is a win-win-win for Manitoba. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, promotes value added processing of canola and creates a larger domestic market for canola that is free from international trade actions,” says Jim Everson, president of the Canola Council of Canada (CCC). “This announcement is welcome and timely given the current market access challenges facing our industry.”

The Manitoba Canola Grower Association and the Canadian Canola Growers Association said canola represents about 40 percent of the feedstock used to make biofuel in Canada.

If all provinces increased the biodiesel percentage in diesel to five percent, it would boost national demand for canola seed.

“(About) 1.3 million tonnes of canola would be utilized by Canada’s domestic renewable fuel supply,” the associations said in a release. “At the same time, Canada would see a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.”

The 1.3 million tonnes in demand would represent about six percent of Canada’s annual canola production.

“Canola farmers across Canada grow over 20 million tonnes of canola each year and increasing domestic demand for renewable fuels is a good way to diversify markets for Canadian canola seed,” said Delaney Ross Burtnack, MCGA executive director.

There’s a good chance that Pallister will have an opportunity to turn his promise into reality.

A poll, released Aug. 22, said the Progressive Conservatives have the support of 42.5 percent of Manitobans, compared to 34.7 percent for the NDP.

The PCs have a huge advantage in seats going into the election. In 2016 Pallister and the Progressive Conservatives won 40 out of 57 constituencies.

As of Aug. 12 at the dissolution of the legislature, the PCs had 38 seats and the NDP 12.

Contact robert.arnason@producer.com

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