SPECIAL REPORT: Highway Bill includes provisions for biodiesel

| 8/11/2005

Willie Nelson is probably happy with at least one part of the Highway Bill, which was signed into law by President Bush on Wednesday, Aug. 10.

That would be the part that sets aside $8 million for a biodiesel research program headed by the National Biodiesel Board.

Joe Jobe, chief executive officer of the NBB, praised the funding in a news release. He said it will give the biodiesel industry the opportunity to incorporate biodiesel fuel into the development of clean diesel technology that has been mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

"This program will benefit all Americans with increased energy security, reduced pollution and a more robust economy by making biodiesel more prominent in the future of our nation's transport sector," Jobe said.

In addition to the funding, the Highway Bill has several other provisions related to biodiesel. The fuel is now eligible under the scope of the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality funding program for seven states.

According to the mitigation program's Web site, the program provides funds to state departments of transportations, municipal planning offices, and transit agencies to invest in projects that reduce air pollutants from transportation-related sources. The program was initiated by Congress in 1991.

Biodiesel is also now eligible as part of the Clean Fuels Grant Program, which provides funding for research into clean fuels.