Sustainable Biofuels are Alaska’s Best Option.

February 11, 2008

The Anchorage Daily News reprinted an abbreviated article from the New York Times criticizing biofuels for releasing carbon from the soil when land is converted to Agriculture. This “new” biofuels study is not really new news, and doesn’t really apply to the feedstocks we’re pursuing in Alaska. But rather a similar argument against tropical Palm biodiesel that we’ve been hearing for years:

Here’s a letter to the editor I sent to the Daily News:

Sustainable Biofuels are Alaska’s Best Option.

Your article “Climate may be Harmed by Biofuels” on Friday February 8th ignores Alaska’s unique biofuel opportunities. What was missing from the article comes from the Author’s own press release:

“Researchers did note that some biofuels do not contribute to climate change because they do not require the conversion of native habitat.”

Alaska’s biofuels do not destroy native habitat, and I would argue, reduce our impact on climate change.

While the study especially condemns the clearing of tropical lands for agricultural biofuels, Alaska is dumping the equivalent of 13 millions gallons of fish oil and is exporting nearly half a million gallons of used deep fryer oil. In addition to capturing these wasted renewable resources, we need to support the Delta growers planting Canola on existing croplands for fuel to power Alaska’s family farms.

Although Alaska biofuels cannot replace all our fossil fuel use, they can displace a significant amount of diesel, save our communities from high fuel prices, reclaim wasted resources, and reduce Alaska’s carbon emissions.

They’re not a silver bullet, but Alaska biofuels are a part of a sustainable solution.

In fact, the bigwigs at the National Biodiesel Board just announced the formation of a Sustainability Task Force, thanks to the persistent work of folks at the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance and the Sustainable Biodiesel Summit.

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