October 7, 2008

Biofuels action plan unveiled

The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Energy have released a National Biofuels Action Plan, which details the collaborative efforts of various federal agencies to accelerate the development of a sustainable biofuels industry.

The plan is in response to President George Bush’s "Twenty In Ten" goal - cutting gasoline consumption 20 percent over the next 10 years by investing in renewable and alternative fuel vehicles.

Ag Secretary Ed Schafer said federal leadership can provide the "vision for research, industry and citizens to understand how the nation will become less dependent on foreign oil and create strong rural economies." Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said the plan is a "strategic blueprint" that shows the way to meet President Bush’s goal.

The plan outlines interagency actions and accelerated federally supported research efforts in seven areas - Sustainability, Feedstock Production, Feedstock Logistics, Conversion Science and Technology, Distribution Infrastructure, Blending and Environment, Health and Safety.

The problem is, all of the people involved in the news conference today may be out of a job in a few months, and President Bush is out in January. Yet all the people doing the work to make this happen will still be around...So will this action plan grow legs and stand on its own by January or end up covered in dust?

Related to the action plan, an initial report came out today on using mid-range ethanol blends like E15 or E20. That report was supportive to using higher blends in regular cars - find it here (.pdf) or a response from the American Coalition of Ethanol here.

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