Washington State Considers Bolstering Role of Biofuel
OLYMPIA, Wash. --- Washington state legislators are considering bills proposing loans and tax breaks to the alternative-fuel industry and requiring oil companies to include Washington-produced vegetable fuels to their products, according to a report in the Seattle Post Intelligencer Reporter.One bill (HB2393) features an emergency clause to let farmers know whether the refining capacity for fuel crops will be in place if they plant seeds this spring. The bill is part of the House Democrats’ Energy Freedom Loan Account, the newspaper said. Legislators backing these efforts have said their approach has three main components: incentives, infrastructure investment and renewable fuel standards. The latter component figures to stir the most debate.One bill (HB2666) proposes that all diesel sold in the state has at least 2 percent biodiesel and that regular gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol. But Rep. Janea Holmquist (R-Moses Lake) told the newspaper that the state would need to provide about 10 million gallons of biodiesel annually to make the mandate feasible.Some legislators, however, have argued against imposing such mandates.Meanwhile, Washington’s Snohomish County has switched part of its vehicle fleet to biodiesel, according to a report in the Seattle Times. About 275 of the county’s 1,500 vehicles have made the switch as part of a one-year pilot project. As a result, about 16,000 to 20,000 gallons of traditional diesel have been replaced with biodiesel each month. The biodiesel consists of about 20 percent pressed oils from mustard and rapeseed and 80 percent low-sulfur diesel. Petrocard, a commercial fuel supplier, provides the biodiesel to the county.