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Trucking association questions Pallister’s new gasoline regulations for Manitoba - CJOB and Global News Winnipeg

- by Christina Hryniuk

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister talks to reporters in Brandon. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve Lambert

New gasoline regulations in Manitoba will be equal to taking 100,000 cars off the road, according to an announcement by the province Tuesday.Premier Brian Pallister said the ethanol content requirement of gasoline will increase to 10 per cent from 8.5 per cent and the biodiesel content of diesel will increase to five per cent from two per cen

“We have the cleanest electricity in Canada already and soon we will have the cleanest fuels in Canada too,” said Pallister. “Manitoba is leading the country once again.

“Agriculture always has been and always will be the key to Manitoba’s economic success.

“As an important economic driver, our agriculture industry cannot take its foot off the gas, so we will make that gas greener.”

The province said its new clean fuel standards are expected to reduce Manitoba’s emissions by almost 400,000 tonnes over the next five years — the equivalent of taking 100,000 vehicles off Manitoba roads.

The Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA), however, says it’s not thrilled with the new regulations.

Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association
Terry Shaw, executive director of the Manitoba Trucking Association Kevin Hirschfield/Global News

MTA executive director Terry Shaw told 680 CJOB his organization needs more information as to whether the province is speaking specifically about biodiesel or renewable diesel, which he referred to as “apple juice and orange juice — two different products.”

Both, however, have problems, he said.

“Neither are produced locally … it’s well understood by the fuelling industry that we don’t have the current infrastructure in place to support increased renewable fuel levels, so even once the regulations change, it’s going to be an estimated three years — an estimated $10 million — to create that blending capacity in Manitoba.

“Increasing biodiesel beyond what we see already today? Huge problems.”

The province said the next step in the process will be consultations with industry and other stakeholders over the coming months, with regulatory changes to be made in the spring.

A cross-border company, however is eyeing southwestern Manitoba as a location to build a biodiesel plant.

New West Opportunities chief operating officer Shane Pospisil told 680 CJOB his company is looking into the project following the province’s announcement of higher requirements for biofuel in gasoline and diesel.

A local plant would cut down on the amount of biofuel that needs to be shipped from other countries, he said.

“We see significant opportunities here, and we’ve been in Brandon the last few days talking with a lot of ag producers and industry leaders,” said Pospisil.

“There’s a fairly high level of excitement in terms of we’re talking about, and we see the potential for some strong partnerships.”

Pospisil said New West would still have to do its due diligence and make sure the numbers worked, but that there are ways to make biodiesel work in the province.

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This news article was originally published by Global News Winnipeg.