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Businesses want biodiesel quality backed by law

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. -- Some local business owners say it's a mistake for Ottawa to mandate biodiesel while refusing to ensure biodiesel blend quality.

Those who are concerned about Canada's upcoming biodiesel mandate are being urged to call their regional Chamber Of Commerce so that they can pressure Ottawa to add more regulatory oversight to biodiesel production.

The federal government is prescribing a national on-road biodiesel mandate of B2 (two-percent biofuel) at some point between 2010 and 2012. Individual provinces like B.C. and Alberta are rolling out their regional rules.

As written, the proposal requires petroleum producers to comply with a renewable fuel “pool average,” meaning they must send to market an annual biodiesel average of B2.

Currently, most biodiesel producers abide by the Engine Manufactures Association-approved ASTM specifications, but compliance for the most part is voluntary and not backed by consumer protection law.

Biodiesel is a good thing, but Ottawa has
to ensure fuel buyers are getting product that
won't harm their equipment, businesses say.

While the Lethbridge Chamber Of Commerce www.lethbridgechamber.com and others like it aren't against the national biodiesel mandate, they want government to ensure quality standards are met through legislation.  

Like the Canadian Trucking Alliance and its B.C. counterpart, they also want the feds to back away from the "pool average" provision, which could mean that higher biodiesel blends are sent to market in various regions to make up for no biodiesel deliveries demanded by larger diesel customers.

While biodiesel is relatively simple to manufacture, high quality biodiesel is difficult to produce consistently, says the business group.

"The federal government's goal of 2 percent by 2012 is a reasonable goal as long as it is a consistent blend across the board and all blends are labeled so the consumer knows what they are purchasing. We should support biodiesel as a way to extend the diesel fuel supply and help reduce our green house gas footprint … though, we will have very poor acceptance and strong resistance if there is too much off spec biodiesel allowed into the market," read the argument the Lethbridge council made for drafting a resolution in 2007.

It was then passed by the Canadian Chambers of Commerce and became part of the official Policy Book before being forwarded to the Minister of the Environment; but so far there has been no response from the government.

Bill Waugh, branch manager of Cummins Western Canada says the resolution will fall off the books in 2010 and is asking businesses who transport and receive freight to contact their local Chambers to revive it until there is a response from policy makers.


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