Biodiesel bill passes Kentucky House

| Friday, January 18, 2002

A Kentucky House committee approved legislation Thursday that would require diesel fuel in the state to contain an additive that opponents say may invalidate engine warranties and raise fuel prices.

If passed in the Senate, HB40 would require that all diesel fuel in Kentucky contain a 2 percent blend by July 1, 2003. The proposal also increases the blend to 5 percent by July 2007.

According to the Kentucky Post, soybean and agriculture interests had lobbied heavily to get approval from the House Agriculture and Small Business Committee. Opponents of the bill gave various estimates to the committee about how the price of biodiesel would hike fuel costs, perhaps as much as 2 to 8 cents per gallon. However, the bill passed easily, 17 to 1.

Trucking interests at the hearing said the bill would cause mechanical and emission problems and could cause warranties on engines to be voided.

The debate also pitted industrial interests against the agriculture sector that might benefit from the change. Allegedly, one opponent to the bill said it was an attempt by heavily subsidized agricultural interests to tax diesel fuel users through the force of a state mandate in order to provide a financial subsidy to biodiesel producers.

Rep. Mark Treesh (R-Philpot) and Rep. Roger Thomas (D-Bowling Green), chairman of the committee, indicated they may look further into whether the effective date of the requirement could be changed to accommodate objections.

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