To the editor,

The ethanol industry plays an important role in the agricultural communities around northwest Minnesota, but for years, the EPA has held it back.

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Farmers rely on Minnesota ethanol plants to purchase crops like corn and convert them into biofuels. This stimulates the rural economy and raises the value of farm crops, putting money back in the pockets of hard-working American farmers. Unfortunately, EPA regulations have long restricted the sale of higher ethanol blends like E15 during the summer months - America's busiest time of travel.

President Trump announced this fall that the EPA will be lifting the regulations to provide relief for farmers, who have been experiencing financial turbulence over the last few years. My son and I had a chance to sit down with recently elected U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson from South Dakota to talk about leveraging the strength of our Midwest leadership to help make year-round E15 a reality. Now, the EPA must simply follow through on the president's announcement and allow the year-round sales of these fuels to all consumers.

Minnesota leaders like Gov.-elect Walz and new members of Congress like Jim Hagedorn and Pete Stauber have an awesome opportunity to work together for ag and ag industry to finally lift these regulations and put American farmers first.

The hard work has paid off, and Minnesota and the upper Midwest is all the better for it. Let's get this across the finish line.

Van Hapka

Warren, Minn.