While we all understand and can appreciate the positive impact that agriculture and renewable fuels have on the Nebraska economy, we equally understand the potential negative consequences that mandates can have on small businesses and consumers across our state. That’s why we oppose the fuel mandate at the center of LB 562 and AM1248.
If passed, this bill as introduced would require gas stations in Nebraska to make E15 available at no less than 50 percent of their pumps. The infrastructure upgrades required to comply with this mandate would impose substantial new costs on small business owners with an even more significant impact in rural Nebraska. While there are funds available to help offset these costs, it is for a limited amount of time and no guarantees and these funds are removed in the proposed committee amendment. We know some of the unintended consequences of this bill will include small-town gas stations being forced to close their business and fuel consumers having fewer options when filling up.
Just last year the Legislature passed legislation to incentivize the selling of E15 – this should be allowed to fully take effect before pushing mandates. The Legislature should be pushing policies that incentivize consumer driven solutions and not heavy-handed government solutions that only benefit a specific industry.
While being framed as a move that will be great for Nebraska, this approach of picking winners and losers in our economy feels more like the Washington way of getting things done. Please contact your senator today and ask them to oppose LB 562 and AM1248 and any attempt to impose new fuel mandates on retailers and Nebraska consumers.