Walker attacks ethanol law

| Print |  Email
Archives - September 2008
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

Party Like It’s 1999

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
pets-com-sock-puppetBY JASON NORRIS, CFA | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Pets.com, GeoCities, eToys, and WorldCom … blasts-from-the-past that all signify the late 1990s Internet bubble. Yet we believe the dynamics of the market, specifically in technology stocks, are much different today than it was during the late 1990s.


Read more...

On the Road

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

My daughter turned 18 last week, and for her birthday I got her a Car2Go membership. Not to label myself a disruptor or anything, but it felt like a groundbreaking moment. The two of us, mother and child, were participating in a new teen rite of passage: Instead of handing over the car keys, I handed over a car-sharing card — with the caveat that she not use the gift as her own personal car service.


Read more...

4 highlights of the MLS labor deal

The Latest
Wednesday, March 04, 2015
timbersthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

On Wednesday night, a couple days ahead of the 2015 season kickoff, Major League Soccer and the Players Union reached an agreement.


Read more...

5 highlights from the Angel Oregon Showcase

The Latest
Thursday, April 23, 2015
IMG 5069BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well at the Oregon Angel showcase, an annual event for angel investors and early stage entrepreneurs.


Read more...

Power Players

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

A new energy-sharing agreement sparks concerns about independence and collaboration in the region's utility industry.


Read more...

Emperor of the Sea

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY COURTNEY SHERWOOD | Photos by Jason E. Kaplan

Pacific Seafood, one of the world’s largest processors, is rebranding as a more transparent and consumer-friendly operation. A controversial CEO and monopoly accusations from coastal fishermen complicate the tale.


Read more...

Banking Perspective

April 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with Craig Wanichek, president and CEO of Summit Bank.


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