Massachusetts legislation pushes biofuels

| Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Top lawmakers in Massachusetts are proposing a combination of first-of-their-kind mandates and incentives to promote the development and use of biofuels in the state.

In an effort to reduce the state’s carbon dioxide emissions and dependence on foreign oil, the proposed legislation would require all diesel fuel and heating oil to contain a minimum amount of bio-based alternatives.

Several other states have biodiesel content standards but Massachusetts would be the first to put in place a biofuel standard for home heating oil.

Gov. Deval Patrick filed the biofuel legislation this month along with House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi and Senate President Therese Murray. It would require all diesel fuel and heating oil to contain at least 2 percent biofuel by 2010, increasing to 5 percent by 2013.

“We need to add clean fuels to the mix today, but we also have to look ahead to the renewable fuel that will do the most good,” Patrick said in a written statement.

The bill also would exempt gas that contains non-corn-based ethanol from the state’s 23-cent-per-gallon gas tax. It is intended to give dealers financial incentive to buy blends that are less polluting as well as give Massachusetts-based companies incentive to produce it.

The governor has said he is hopeful passage of the new mandates and incentives will help create 3,000 jobs in the state and pump $320 million into the economy.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Massachusetts in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor