Thursday, January 17, 2008

Arizona Biodiesel Board's policy recommendations

The Tuscon-based Arizona Biodiesel Board (ABB) appears to have done some careful thinking on the legislative policy front. They describe their list of top policy priorities for the AZ state legislature here; very roughly summarized, they are:
  • Eliminate road tax remittance requirements for WVO-based biodiesel homebrewers
  • Allocate state funding for alternative feedstock research
  • Create an investment tax credit for feedstock cultivation on tribal lands
  • Mandate that all diesel fuel sold in Arizona contain at least 5% biodiesel
  • Include info on alternative fuels with MVD registration renewals
  • Tax incentives for the creation of biodiesel distribution infrastucture

There are some very thoughtful ideas here, that I'd like to explore in more depth in future posts. But one thing that strikes me is that there are no "legislative showstoppers" on the list -- that is, judging from this list I would conclude that there are no state-level legislative barriers that are fundamental obstacles to biofuels development -- i.e., ultimately this seems like a list of "nice-to-haves" (perhaps very nice to have) and not "must haves."

I understand that there have been some state-level showstoppers in the past. This article [alt. link here] describes (among other things) that state legislative action was necessary to "classify biodiesel and ethanol as motor fuels, making it legal for them to be sold in Arizona."

Certainly the state is not the only relevant regulating entity, though. We have seen an example where an innovative biofuel company was stymied by local zoning regulations -- more on this soon. And there is no doubt that federal policy has a massive impact on biofuels (one small example: nobody sells B100 in the Valley; the best you can do is B99, because of federal tax policy).

Navigating through this complex policy environment is one critical piece of the local biofuels puzzle.

4 comments:

Eric Johnson said...

Is there an alternative link for the Capitol Times article? I'm getting a login prompt.

Brad said...

Added a link to the Google cache page in the main text of the post. Strangely the other link seems to work if you to it from certain referring URLs, but not from others.

mrguymon said...

Eric and Brad,

I would like to thank you for this post on your Desert Biofuels blog. I appreciate your critique of our policy positions and would like to invite you to our future discussions. We are a well informed and enthusiastic group interested in furthering the use and knowledge of biodiesel in Arizona, similar to your apparent goals. We are looking for additional board members and ideas to reach those goals and certainly welcome your input and participation. Please contact me at michael@azbiofuels.com.

Thank you,
Michael Guymon

elderfisch said...

great work guys - you totally rock! made any progress on the show stoppers?
WRT zoning violations - i wonder if browning is starting to throw their weight (or maybe campaign contibutions) around at a local level to ensure small BD producers are "acceptable".

keep us all posted on the progress of having BD recognized as a motor fuel in AZ. i see ethanol is available at public pumps.