Sunday, March 16, 2008

Even green fuel can be a killer

I wish I could say I was surprised, but no, I'm not. It turns out the green fuel, or bio fuel, revolution taking place here in this country isn't so green after all. As usual, it all comes down to greed. It is cheaper to dump bio fuel by-products than to dispose of them safely. The New York Times reported earlier this week on the illegal dumping of fuel production by products, including a tanker dumping glycerin in Missouri.
an anonymous caller reported [to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources] that a tanker truck was dumping milky white goop into Belle Fountain Ditch, one of the many man-made channels that drain Missouri’s Bootheel region. That substance turned out to be glycerin from a bio-diesel plant.

In January, a grand jury indicted a Missouri businessman in the discharge, which killed at least 25,000 fish and wiped out the population of fat pocketbook mussels, an endangered species.

Apparently Times Beach has receded from the memory of this Missourian, or more likely, he's the moral equivalent of W.

When I bought my car (Pontiac Vibe) in 2003, I researched extensively trying to find the best combination of fuel economy, safety, reliability and model that would meet our needs. I really debated about purchasing a diesel VW Jetta Wagon, hoping to run bio-fuel in it, but decided against it. My car at the time, a VW Golf, was only slightly more reliable than a Yugo, which did not inspire hope for reliability in the Jetta, and bio-fuel was still scarce in Maine at the time. Reading this story, I'm glad I opted for the Vibe, which gets good mileage, especially once I remove the snow tires, (35+mpg hgwy) and is utterly and completely reliable.

As for the polluters, time to make toxics dumping subject to the death penalty, and increase the fines and criminal penalties for businesses guilty of dumping, such that the business and its trustees are bankrupted. (Since my first choice is a firing squad, this seems like a compromise.)

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