Regional Biofuel Discussion Welcomed

Frederick News Post

April 28, 2008

By Ike Wilson
News-Post Staff

Over the next six months, the Chesapeake Cellulosic Biofuels Panel will explore the production and use of next generation cellulosic feedstocks for biofuels development in the Chesapeake Bay region.
Interested people are invited to share their vision for biofuel development in the watershed, along with any issues or recommendations they want the panel to consider.”As chairman of the Chesapeake Cellulosic Biofuels Panel and a member of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, I invite you to contribute to the development of a ‘roadmap’ for guiding the evolution of next generation biofuels in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” Delegate Jim Hubbard said, in a recent press release. Hubbard is chairman of the biofuels panel, composed of agricultural, forestry, environmental, academic and business leaders from across the region. The project is being applauded as a welcome addition to a burgeoning biofuels industry.

Tom Butz, co-owner of Chesapeake Green Fuel in Adamstown, had not heard of the panel, but he likes the idea. “Anything to create awareness and make biofuel more sustainable and clear is appreciated,” Butz said.

Any group that promotes biofuel, in particular, biodiesel, is a fantastic idea, said Patrick Haley, chief executive officer of APE/BridgePath Scientific in Frederick. APE/BridgePath is a biodiesel testing company that ensures biofuel meets rigid, high-quality standards. “As a biodiesel testing facility, we encourage and support groups like these nationwide,” Haley said. “We look forward to assisting this group as well.”

The Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are co-championing the biofuel panel as partners in the Chesapeake Bay Program. The panel’s findings and recommendations will be released in early September and forwarded to the Chesapeake Executive Council for consideration. “We believe that if developed correctly, the production of renewable fuels from feedstocks grown and harvested in the region can produce significant economic and environmental benefits,” Hubbard said. “We also recognize that if developed incorrectly, the emergence of a major biofuels industry in the region could degrade soil, water and air quality and wildlife habitat and deliver additional pollutant loadings to the bay.”

The Chesapeake Bay Commission’s 2007 report, Biofuels and the Bay — Getting it Right to Benefit Farms, Forests, and the Chesapeake, advances a bold goal for the development of a biofuels industry by calling for the Chesapeake Bay watershed to lead the nation in the evolution from grain-based to cellulosic ethanol and other biofuels, according to Hubbard’s release.

“Blessed with productive agricultural and forest lands, a close proximity to major markets and refining facilities and access to technology and financial capital, we believe that the region is well positioned to achieve this goal,” Hubbard said.
Officials attend national biodiesel conference

BridgePath’s principal Patrick Haley attended the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo in Orlando, Fla., in February, which focused on the rapidly-growing industry, and included tracks on production, regulation and policy, safety, distribution and training.
“With renewable fuel standards going into effect in 2009, we want to be informed and educated about up-to-the-minute changes and improvements in the industry,” Haley said. “With an increase in biodiesel production comes an increase in the number of workers needed to ensure quality production, testing and distribution. ”

“One consistent theme during the conference was “green collar” jobs and how the U.S. Department of Labor is working with companies to fill this need”, Haley continued.

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