I am very pleased to be here today for the Grand Opening of SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel’s expanded biodiesel facility—Oregon’s first commercial-scale biodiesel plant! As Regional Administrator of EPA Region 10 and on behalf of the entire West Coast Diesel Collaborative, please accept my sincerest congratulations for this great achievement.
I appreciate as well your leadership in bringing to scale and promoting clean and green renewable fuel and sustainable economic development in Oregon and throughout the west.
I first learned of SeQuential Biofuels commitment to environmental protection, innovation, and community sustainability when EPA Region 10’s Brownfields Program collaborated with SeQuential, the state of Oregon, Lane County, and other partners to transform a Eugene-area clean-up site into a state-of-the-art example of what the next generation of “gas stations” can be.
Today’s achievement marks another milestone: bringing that type of innovative vision to scale. That is no small feat, so I’d like to share why your achievement today is important to EPA and also how we are supporting your efforts.
EPA Region 10’s Strategy for 2007-2011 includes 6 Strategic Endeavors one of which—entitled Clean Energy and Climate Change—includes displacing 10% of petroleum fuel use with alternative fuels including renewable fuels produced here in the Pacific Northwest from local sources. It is through our participation in the West Coast Collaborative, a public-private partnership, that we expect to achieve this goal. In fact, the Collaborative and EPA have partnered with Bob and Kelly King and Pacific Biodiesel in Hawaii over the past two years on a grant project to develop appropriate local fuel crops for the biodiesel industry there.
The reasons for supporting this work are compelling. In contrast to petroleum diesel, biodiesel:
- improves public health
- fosters rural economic development
- contributes to energy independence
- decreases air pollution
- and substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions
So it’s not just a win-win—it’s a win-win-win-win-win!
And as you know, not all biodiesel is “created equal”. Your commitment to quality and to local feedstocks & production will help ensure that these multi-faceted benefits continue.
This year, the Collaborative will award roughly $5M in grants for projects that reduce diesel emissions in the west. We’ll be making those announcements later this fall. (Fact sheets and more information on the projects we’ve funded in the past are available at www.westcoastdiesel.org.)
The Collaborative also hosts symposia on topics such as “biodiesel use in marine engine applications and public fleets” which help decision-makers understand biodiesel’s benefits. It also convenes regularly scheduled teleconferences of an Agriculture & Biofuels group, providing a forum to explore collaboration opportunities, share technical information and seek funding for a variety of projects. I hope many of you will join us in Seattle on Nov. 5th and 6th for the Collaborative’s Annual Partners Meeting, which also will include sessions on agriculture and biofuels.
Finally, EPA is supporting the biodiesel industry by developing a much-needed update to our comprehensive lifecycle assessment analysis for a range of biofuels. The update will include a rigorous analysis of agricultural sector impacts and land use conversion impacts and will help clarify much of the current debate.
In short, like SeQuential Pacific, EPA, on its own and through the West Coast Collaborative, promotes community-based, renewable fuels. We are very pleased to join in celebrating SeQuential Pacific’s plant expansion and welcome its innovative contribution to the environmental quality and economic vitality of the Pacific Northwest. We wish you well.