Biofuel bill dies in Oregon

| 8/11/2005

Earlier this month, the Oregon Legislature failed to approve a bid to provide tax incentives for making biofuels before lawmakers wrapped up their work for the year.

House and Senate lawmakers OK’d different versions of the measure, which sought to encourage farmers and biofuel producers to expand production and consumption of renewable, plant-based motor-vehicle fuels.

But as the 2005 session wrapped up Friday, Aug. 5, the biofuels bill – HB3481 – was left behind. It was fatally stalled by disputes about unrelated amendments sought by business lobbyists to block new auto emission standards and extend some pollution tax breaks, The Associated Press reported.

The Oregon Environmental Council said the bill would have not only provided a cleaner fuel for vehicles but created jobs and launched a new market for Oregon corn and seed farmers.

Rep. Jeff Kropf, co-sponsor of the bill and a grass seed grower, called the biofuels bill a “casualty of politics” and said it provides another example of how excessive partisanship at the Capitol ends up killing worthwhile ideas.

Kropf, R-Sublimity, said he plans to introduce a new biofuels bill when the next Legislature convenes, in January 2007.

Elsewhere, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has made a commitment to boosting the state government’s dependence on alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol-blended gasoline.

Richardson said in a written statement earlier this month he will issue an executive order to require that 15 percent of the fuel used by state vehicles comes from renewable sources by the end of the decade.

In Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has signed a bill into law promoting the use of biodiesel by government-owned diesel vehicles.

The new law requires any government-owned diesel vehicles to use a 2 percent biodiesel blend, but only under certain conditions. For example, use of the blend is required only if the state vehicle is fueling at a bulk, central fueling facility where the blend is available.

Experts have told Land Line that fuel meeting the federal standard for biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine without modification.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor