By Craig Keener
Pennsylvania’s recent biodiesel mandate took effect Jan. 15 of this year, but it’s still uncertain what it will mean for local farmers across the state, including dairy farmers in Centre County.
The Biodiesel & Ethanol Incentives Mandate calls for all diesel fuel sold within the state to contain a minimum of two percent biodiesel per gallon. The biodiesel will be created from in-state production facilities and help create a renewable fuel source that will rely on raw commodities from Pennsylvania’s farms, according to a National Biodiesel Board press release.
While the legislation has had many favorable responses, Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) director Brian Snyder thinks that the legislation is addressing the wrong issue.
“We can’t solve the energy or climate problems just by replacing imported oil with domestically produced product,” he said. “We must simply use less of either, much less.”
Using large amounts of soybeans, and the land they grow on, for biodiesel instead of food raises concerns that food prices will jump.
Ethanol, a fuel source that in the United States relies on corn, has been responsible for a 10 to 15 percent increase in food costs in the past year, according to the Congressional Budget Office. About one-fourth of corn grown in the United States is being used to create ethanol, thus creating a smaller supply of corn for consumption, the CBO reported last month.
But other local experts support the mandate, saying it is a practical first step to reducing fuel’s impact on the environment. Read more »