Wednesday, April 16, 2008

AZ policymakers "get" biofuels

One of the points we've been making when we articulate our vision of "local biofuels" is that we have the ingredients here in Arizona to implement local biofuels in a world class way. We have bleeding-edge research happening at ASU. We have visionary entrepreneurs doing some amazing things. We have well-established grassroots organizations and an active individual producer community. And, critically, we have policymakers that "get it." We've had the opportunity to have dialogue with folks like state Representative Tom Boone, Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, the Governor's environmental policy advisor Lori Faeth, senior reps from ADEQ and many others, and have been consistently struck by how thoughtful, knowledgeable and supportive these key policymakers have been concerning biofuels.

While we haven't had the opportunity to meet with him personally, another Arizona policymaker who is playing a leadership role in connection with biofuels is federal Representative John Shadegg. As described in this article, on April 4th Shadegg proposed legislation to close the shameful "splash and dash" loophole that has enable foreign biodiesel producers to transship biodiesel through a U.S. port, blend it with 1% petrol diesel, collect a $1 per gallon blenders credit (funded by U.S. taxpayers), and then ship the fuel onward to Europe (or elsewhere) for sale. Kudos to Shadegg for leading on this issue.

[The one potential counterexample we've encountered in connection with local policymakers "getting it" (or not) is AZ Biodiesel's current struggle with the City of Chandler. As described here, AZ Biodiesel is caught up in dispute over zoning and planning issues which threatens to shut them down. Our hope is that cooler heads will prevail and city leaders will figure out a path to resolution that enables this critical local resource to stay online while issues are being addressed.]

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