Louisiana lawmakers consider biofuel mandate

| 5/19/2006

The Louisiana state legislature is considering a bill that would require 2 percent of all fuel sold within the state to contain either ethanol or biodiesel.

The measure, HB 685, was approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, May 16. The provision would only go into effect if production of renewable fuels reaches certain levels within the state – 10 million gallons for biodiesel and 50 million gallons for ethanol.

The Times-Picayune of New Orleans reported that the measure has sparked some controversy in the state. On the one hand, agriculture interests are looking to spur the development of ethanol and biodiesel plants within the state.

On the other side, representatives from Louisiana’s oil and gas industry argue that production of renewable fuels should depend on natural supply and demand in the free market, not on government mandates.

The Times-Picayune reported that there are currently no plants in the state that produce ethanol, but the state’s construction budget includes $1 million to build such a plant in East Carroll Parish.

Vanguard SynFuels LLC operates the state’s only biodiesel plant in Pollock.