Infrastructure grant program for ethanol-gasoline blends approved

Senators passed a bill May 2 that creates a state grant program intended to make ethanol-gasoline blends available at more Nebraska gas stations.

<a href='http://news.legislature.ne.gov/dist34' target='_blank' title='Link to the website of Sen. Curt Friesen'>Sen. Curt Friesen</a>
Sen. Curt Friesen

LB585, introduced by Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson, creates a cost-share grant program administered by the state Department of Environment and Energy meant to improve retail motor fuel sites by installing, replacing or converting infrastructure used to store, blend or dispense gasoline-ethanol blends.

An owner or operator of a retail motor fuel site is eligible to apply for the grants, which may be used only for infrastructure projects designed and used to store and dispense E-15 or E-85 gasoline or a blend of ethanol and gasoline from a pump designed to blend those fuels.

The department will award grants to the maximum number of qualified applicants and could approve up to $1 million in grants in any calendar year.

A grant could not exceed the lesser of 50 percent of the estimated cost of the improvement or $30,000 for a three-year cost-share agreement. For a five-year agreement, a grant could not exceed the lesser of 70 percent of the estimated cost of the improvement or $50,000 for a five-year agreement.

Lawmakers voted 49-0 to pass LB585.

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