By Tim Leeds 

Zinke: Will try to restore Northern biodiesel funding


A Whitefish Republican state senator said a new source of funding has been found for the biodiesel research program at Montana State University-Northern, and an amendment will be coming to the state budget to restore that funding.

Ryan Zinke e-mailed the Havre Daily this morning that an amendment will be proposed that will move $500,000 from a Montana Department of Transportation special revenue account to replace funding for Northern's program that was axed in the House.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer had proposed providing $400,000 for the renewable fuel research, but it was cut in committee.

Rep. Wendy Warburton, R-Havre, sponsored an amendment to try to restore the funding, but it failed in a close vote.

Sen. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Box Elder. has said he will do whatever he can to get the funding restored.

Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, and Sen. Rowlie Hutton, R-Havre, have said they are working through many avenues to promote the funding in the budget and the research in general, including focusing on Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway's testing of locally produced biodiesel in a locomotive.

That year-long test is being done in partnership with Northern and Earl Fisher Biofuels of Chester.

The legislators have said the testing will be a benefit to business and the economy throughout the state, and will focus on that in trying to restore the funding.


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