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Idaho School District Hopes to Switch from B5 to B20 Biodiesel

April 21, 2009

HAILEY, ID --- The Blaine County School District's plans to switch its bus fleet from B5 biodiesel to B20 biodiesel has hit a snag because of local residents' objections to the installation of a new fuel storage tank. 

According to a report in the Idaho Mountain Express, the district held a meeting for local residents to learn more about the plans. A handful of people in the neighborhood raised objections. 

"Biodiesel is the right thing to do," said local resident Becki Keefer. "But the question is, this is a residential area and now we've got a bus maintenance facility and now a biodiesel tank and where's this going to stop? I applaud you guys for doing this, but I'm sorry it has to be in a residential neighborhood." 

Currently, the district fleet runs on lower-grade B5 biodiesel, available from United Oil at pumps in Hailey. B20 is not yet available locally for pump sales, but it could be shipped for bulk purchases. 

"The only way we could get B20 biodiesel was to put in a tank ourselves," Mike Chatterton, the district's business manager, said during the meeting hosted by the district. 

Eventually, the district will seek Hailey city approval for installation of the 12,000-gallon biodiesel tank at the district's bus maintenance facility. The tank is expected to cost the district about $82,000. It would be installed above ground next to a 10-foot high retaining wall. 

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