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Tri-State Biodiesel fights myths

By Kris Bevill | June 17, 2008
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Web exclusive posted July 1, 2008 at 1:45 p.m. CST

Brent Baker, president of Tri-State Biodiesel in New York City, recently found himself fielding an increased number of phone calls from people wondering what is so great about biodiesel isn't it the reason people are starving? Doesn't it take more energy to make than it creates? What about greenhouse gas emissions and the rainforests?

Baker became so frustrated about having to constantly defend biodiesel to people who were being misled by incorrect information that he decided to do something about it on a larger level. A few months ago, he began writing statements to potential clients and other interested parties setting the facts straight about biodiesel. Now, he's heading a national "grassroots" movement for others to do the same. "I like to call it a 'push back'," Baker said.

One of the things he's frustrated about is that all biofuels are constantly lumped into one group by the mainstream media and biodiesel is often referred to as being the same as corn ethanol. "We're going to try to do what we can here in New York and with our circle of colleagues in the biodiesel industry to push back on that," Baker said. "I think our society is sophisticated enough now that we can say "biodiesel" when we're talking about biodiesel and "ethanol" when we're talking about ethanol."

The National Biodiesel Board, of which Tri-State Biodiesel is a member, told Baker they are in the process of forming their own public relations campaign. However, Baker thinks his grassroots movement can compliment their efforts and he hopes it will catch on with others in the industry.

Baker's goal is to appeal to three different groups of people. The first being members of the biodiesel industry and the biodiesel movement. "Our first step was to get this notion of 'let's make an effort to speak up and coordinate our efforts with the NBB and with each other'," he said.

The second part of Baker's plan is to inform political leaders and customers on a local level. He's doing his part in New York and hopes that biodiesel proponents across the country will do something similar.

Finally, Baker plans to reach out to the press and the general public to set the record straight on biodiesel. "We're trying to get the information out there as best we can," he said.

A newsletter addressing the myths and facts about biodiesel can be found on Tri-State Biodiesel' Web site www.tristatebiodiesel.com. Baker encourages anyone interested to use the newsletter for their own public relations campaign or any other way they choose to help push back misinformation about biodiesel.
 

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