Minnesota Farmfest went virtual with its political candidate forums this week when the major candidates for Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District gathered online to take questions on a number of issues.

Candidates were asked a question about new clean air standards based on a California model that the governor is considering for Minnesota. Many in the ag industry are concerned about its effects on the diesel industry. Republican candidate Dave Hughes said that neither the technology nor the markets are ready for a fossil fuel-free world.

“I’m not interested at all in radical environmental policy at the federal level or the state level at this time — if ever,” said Hughes. “And certainly it’s non-sensical to just declare the days of diesel are over.”

Hughes said America’s energy has been getting cleaner, and so would oppose what he called “artificial contrivances” like the California clean air standards.

Current U.S. Representative Collin Peterson agreed that the standards were a bad idea and said “we don’t need any part of this.”

“The California standards have been a big problem, and they’ve been a big problem for ethanol,” said Peterson. “We can’t get ethanol into California because of some of the regulations they have. So I just remind people, the energy cost in California for electricity is twice as much as it is in my District. And that is not the kind of thing that we want to emulate.”

Peterson said there is enough trouble with the diesel standards the way they are.

Also part of the forum were Republican candidates Michelle Fischbach and Dr. Noel Collis. The forum can be accessed in its entirety on the Minnesota Farmfest website.

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