everal years ago the federal government agreed it would pass a law requiring petroleum diesel fuel contain
two per cent biodiesel. But so far, it hasn’t done it.
Canadian canola grower associations want that renewable fuel standard in place April 1, 2011 and are urging farmers to lobby their MPs to make it happen.
“If a renewable fuel standard doesn’t come forward in a timely manner some of these producers that have invested in plants are stranded because the marketplace isn’t developing for their biodiesel to flow into,” said Brian Chorney, a farmer from East Selkirk and chair of the Canadian Canola Growers Association’s biodiesel committee.
When the two per cent biodiesel mandate takes effect it will require a million tonnes of canola annually to fill it, adding a new stable, domestic market for Canadian growers, Chorney said in an interview last week.
“Right now for every bushel of canola I produce, 85 per cent of it goes to export where it’s exposed to tariff and non-tariff trade barriers, ocean freight and currency fluctuations,” he said.
Last week the Manitoba Canola Growers Association, of which Chorney is a director, emailed farmers a newsletter asking them to contact their MPs to push for the biodiesel requirement.
“Discussing this at the kitchen table or in the coffee shop is not enough,” the newsletter says. “If you want Ottawa to deliver, please take the time to get your message to them today.”
The newsletter contains a link to a sample letter farmers can use to send to MPs.
The newsletter says farmers should also talk to friends and local government about the issue.
Manitoba mandated a two per cent biodiesel blend last November. British Columbia and Alberta also have biodiesel mandates, but the big diesel markets in Canada are Ontario and Quebec (as well as Alberta) so a national mandate is required, Chorney said.
The petroleum industry continues to ask for more studies. Chorney said it’s just a delaying tactic. Biodiesel has been intensely studied. What’s been found is when properly prepared and blended it meets all user needs,” he said.
Biodiesel has been successfully burned in Europe for many years, including in northern countries with cold winters, Chorney said. (Biodiesel’s flow point under cold temperatures is not as low as regular diesel, but that can be dealt with by reducing the amount of biodiesel in regular diesel or with additives.)
The newsletter says two federal government programs to encourage investment in biodiesel production have not met their goals. One of the programs is supposed to encourage farmers to invest in local biodiesel production. The other is supposed to encourage investment in larger plants.
Western Canada needs a large biodiesel plant, according to Chorney, to better serve the big oil companies that produce regular disease and will be compelled to add biodiesel.
“If they can’t source biodiesel in Canada they will get from the United States,” he said.
That’s where the bulk of the biodiesel used in B.C. comes from now, Chorney added. [email protected]
“Discussingthisat thekitchentableorin thecoffeeshopisnot
enough.Ifyouwant Ottawatodeliver,please takethetimetogetyour messagetothemtoday.”
– CANOLA GROWER ASSOCIATIONS’ NEWSLETTER