Walker attacks ethanol law

| Print |  Email
Monday, September 01, 2008

ethanol

SALEM Just weeks before Eastern Oregon gas stations will be required to sell fuel blended with ethanol, one lawmaker is already reconsidering the state’s year-old renewable fuel mandate, provoking an industry that’s invested upward of $300 million to produce ethanol in, and for, the Oregon market.

Sen. Vicki Walker (D-Eugene) calls ethanol a “boondoggle” and says one of her top priorities in the next legislative session is to repeal or retool the requirement that all unleaded fuel sold in the state be at least 10% ethanol. Walker voted for the law, but now calls her decision a mistake. She says most of her other Natural Resources Committee members side with her.

As more states set biofuel standards and more drivers begin to use it, ethanol as a viable alternative to conventional gas is coming under fresh scrutiny at a time when gas prices are soaring.

Walker says the gas mileage in her Toyota Camry hybrid has dipped since she started using the blended fuel, an ethanol side effect the industry acknowledges. She also blames the increased use of corn for ethanol for rising food prices, although experts continue to debate this. “We have created a very expensive alternative to fuel,” she says.

In June, the new Cascade Grain plant in Clatskanie began producing its goal of 113 million gallons of ethanol per year. President Charles Carlson says the $200 million plant was built in Oregon because of the renewable fuel law, and vows to fight any attempt to overturn it.

It’s a “knee-jerk reaction” Carlson says of Walker’s plans. When locally produced and sold, ethanol drives down prices at the pump and reduces dependence on foreign oil, he says.

The Oregon Environmental Council recognizes corn ethanol isn’t the most efficient alternative fuel, but supports the law because it lays the infrastructure for future investment and research in Oregon into other biofuels such as cellulostic ethanol, says John Galloway, program director.

“Corn ethanol is the only market-ready crop right now,” says Tim Raphael, director of government affairs for Sacramento-based Pacific Ethanol. Last year the company completed a $100 million ethanol plant in Boardman. In January the federal Department of Energy awarded the company $25 million to research and produce cellulosic ethanol at its Boardman facility.

Repealing the law would have a “chilling effect” on similar research and investment, says Raphael.                    

JASON SHUFFLER


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

More Articles

Courtside

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Power lunching at the Court Street Dairy Lunch in Salem.


Read more...

Are wolves good for business?

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 06, 2015
030615-wolf-thumbBY JEFF DELKIN | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

As a local business owner, I believe it’s important to build our economy on a platform of conservation values.  


Read more...

6 development projects reshaping Bend

The Latest
Thursday, April 09, 2015
bendthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Bend has reclaimed its prerecession title as one of the fastest growing cities in the country.


Read more...

Footloose

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Founded 12 years ago, Keen Inc. likes to push the envelope, starting with the debut of the “Newport” closed toe sandal in 2003. Since then, the company has opened a factory on Swan Island and a sleek new headquarters in the Pearl District. The brand’s newest offering, UNEEK, is a sandal made from two woven cords and not much more.


Read more...

Downtime with the executive director of Greater Portland Inc.

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015

Janet LaBar, Executive director, Greater Portland Inc.


Read more...

Get on the bus!

April 2015
Thursday, March 19, 2015
BY APRIL STREETER

How the private sector can ride the next transit revolution.


Read more...

VIDEO: The 2015 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, February 27, 2015

videothumbVIDEO: 2015 100 Best Companies to work for in Oregon


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS