Today, Mikal Shabazz, Assistant to the Director, Tiffani Penson, Public Outreach Coordinator, and I headed down to Salem in the bureau's biodiesel-powered VW Jettas to join American music legend Willie Nelson, his wife Annie, Commissioner Randy Leonard, and many others for a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Sequential-Pacific Biodiesel plant in Salem.
Portland became the first U.S. city to adopt a Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in November 2006 to encourage energy independence, and BDS will be the agency responsible for enforcing this initiative in Portland. We are also adding a growing number of biodiesel-powered vehicles to our fleet each year.
The Salem plant currently uses recycled cooking oil from local restaurants and food processors such as Burgerville and Kettle Foods to make biodiesel. The crowd was encouraged to "eat more fries" in an effort to support these businesses that in turn support the biofuels market.
The Nelsons and Leonard both emphasized the many benefits that biodiesel provides including, supporting farmers, reducing dependence on foreign oil, supporting local businesses that manufacture and contribute to the manufacture of biodiesel, cleaner air...the list goes on and on.
Nelson shared that his wife, Annie, decided to buy a Volkswagon that ran on vegetable oil four years ago and from that point on, their passion for promoting this cleaner burning diesel fuel took flight. They are financial investors in Pacific Biodiesel, run their tour bus and vehicles on 100% biodiesel, helped form the Sustainable Biodiesel Alliance, and more.
At BDS, we are excited about being part of this growing movement to affect change for a cleaner environment and stronger economy, as well as set an example for the rest of the country.
Submitted by Alisa Cour
BDS Customer Service Manager