In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it is no surprise that recreational boating has been a lifeline for our economy during the pandemic. Minnesota's recreational boating industry, which delivers over $3 billion annually in economic impact, has remained strong and is moving forward as we begin to pivot away from COVID-19.

Given the clear economic impact of the recreational boating industry across the state, I am deeply concerned to see a new bill from Minnesota lawmakers that has the potential to irreversibly harm Minnesotan boaters, off-road vehicle users, and the owners of small- to medium-sized businesses. The measure (SF 1178 and HF 1433) would inhibit boaters' (and other outdoor recreationalists') ability to refuel in the state by mandating the use of high-ethanol blends in Minnesota. This shortsighted bill ignores current federal law, which prohibits the use of gasoline with more than 10% ethanol in a variety of small-engine products, including boats, because it destroys them and puts consumers at risk.

Lund Boats has been a successful manufacturer in Minnesota since 1948. I am deeply concerned that this bill, if passed into law, may well drive away boat owners and tourism.

And it is not just boat owners who are at stake: The legislation would force many Minnesotans to fill up their engines in neighboring states, costing the state more than $50 million in lost tax revenue each year.

This bill, while seemingly serving a select group of constituents, comes at a great expense for our consumers and the local economy. I strongly urge Minnesota lawmakers to reconsider this and instead introduce common-sense regulations that actually help educate consumers about high-ethanol blends and expand options to best serve the many industries whose products would be impacted by higher than 10% ethanol in the marketplace.

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Dirk Hyde

New York Mills, Minnesota

The writer is president of Lund Boats & Brunswick Aluminum Boat Group Shared Services.


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