Biodiesel Bill Creates Triple-Win for Pennsylvania

By Ben Wootton | September 16, 2008
On July 4, the Pennsylvania General Assembly gave us added reason to celebrate Independence Day when it passed Special Session Senate Bill 22, which provides Pennsylvania biodiesel companies with a production incentive that will put us "on the map" with other progressive states that have invested in renewable energy solutions (see the BIObyte on page 22 of the September 2008 issue).

Following the bill's passage, Pennsylvania's biodiesel companies-many of which were struggling to stay in business due to adverse economics and unfair out-of-state competition-have started ramping up production, hiring back employees and planning for new growth.

We applaud the public officials who worked with the Pennsylvania Biodiesel Producers Group, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, and biodiesel companies across the commonwealth for their hard work and support for the in-state biodiesel production incentive. Through this bipartisan agreement, the biodiesel incentive will enable production companies to sell their biodiesel fuel at competitive prices. Pennsylvania biodiesel will be price-competitive with out-of-state producers' fuel and regular petroleum diesel. This is critical to our state's energy independence strategy because other states-largely Midwestern states that are home to major grain conglomerates-heavily subsidize their producers, who compete with Pennsylvania's.

In addition, our commitment to biodiesel addresses two critical issues of importance to all Pennsylvanians: support for agriculture and the enhancement of air quality. Biodiesel can be produced from Pennsylvania soybeans and other feedstocks, and it reduces the particulate air pollution that comes from diesel engines. Biodiesel is environmentally friendly, biodegradable and nonflammable fuel. It can be used in almost all diesel engines without modification in transit buses, emergency vehicles, tractor-trailer trucks and construction vehicles. Instead of disposing of waste cooking grease, restaurants can have it taken away at no cost, and a biodiesel producer can transform it into renewable fuel. Instead of disposing of superfluous soybean oil, producers can convert it into biodiesel.

Along with environmental and agricultural benefits, the Pennsylvania biodiesel industry will enhance our economy by creating more job opportunities and keeping our energy dollars in-state. New markets will develop as the need for renewable sources increases. With the cost of home heating oil and petroleum-based fuels hitting record highs, Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to switch to biodiesel created from Pennsylvania sources. Therefore, the passage of Special Session Senate Bill 22 supports the drive toward energy independence and creates a triple-win for Pennsylvania's economy, environment and agriculture.

Ben Wootton
Pennsylvania Biodiesel Producers Group
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