Biodiesel producers in Texas are gearing up for a big
meeting next week.
They must prove to the Texas Commission on Environmental
Quality that their biodiesel meets the strict emissions standards outlined in
November 2005 in the Texas Low Emissions Diesel program, commonly known as
The Texas biodiesel industry is nearing the end of a grace
period granted by the commission in February this year to bring forward proof
of the fuel's emissions in line with TxLED.
The subject is nitrogen oxide emissions - known as NOx - and
whether an additive is needed in biodiesel for the fuel to meet the TxLED
Commissioners will convene for a public meeting, 9:30 a.m.
CST, Dec. 8, at commission headquarters, Room 201 S, Building E, 12100 Park 35
Circle, Austin, TX.
The meeting is open to the public.
Invited are industry stakeholders who will present
information that other states do not question - that biodiesel has low NOx
Eastern Texas has been concerned - particularly in metro
Dallas-Fort Worth and the Houston-Galveston-Brazoria County corridor - about
The environmental commission stepped in last year and
created the TxLED standard for all diesel fuels. During that process, the
commission began questioning the NOx emissions of biodiesel.
"The crucial issue is going to be whether or not biodiesel
increases the NOx - the nitrogen oxide - from an engine," commission spokesman
Andy Saenz told Land Line Magazine. "Air quality is a major issue in the
eastern part of Texas where this biodiesel is to be sold, so our concerns are,
are we allowing a fuel that will increase air pollution in the two largest
metropolitan areas in the state."
The TxLED mandate affects 110 Texas counties.
Saenz said the commission will look at the latest studies to
make a decision about whether to further extend the timeline for producers to
meet NOx standards, or to settle the issue once and for all that Texas biodiesel meets the standards.
"This has been a big issue," Saenz said. "Everybody's trying
to get to the same place - to offer a reliable fuel source for the country, but
do it in a way that doesn't increase air pollution."
The public meeting will be online for viewing at www.tceq.state.tx.us during the specified time.
Last week, biodiesel promoter and country music legend
Willie Nelson urged XM Satellite Radio listeners to call the Texas governor's
office to urge that the state not ban biodiesel sales.
Nelson is a principal owner of a biodiesel product called
"Biowillie" and markets the fuel in Texas.
A spokeswoman for the governor told Land Line Magazine
that she was unaware of any plans to outlaw the renewable fuel, but that the
environmental commission was monitoring the latest developments in emissions
- By David Tanner, staff writer