By Ashley Ahearn KUOW.org 01/14/15 audio here
....Seven years and $135 million in investment later, Plaza stands proudly in front of a row of 2-million gallon tanks at the Imperium Grays Harbor biodiesel plant. It’s overseen by Imperium Renewables, the company he founded.
It’s the second-largest biodiesel facility in the country, but Plaza can hardly make a buck selling biodiesel in his home state. Forty percent of the output in 2014 went to Alberta and British Columbia. The remainder went to Oregon and California.
What do these other provinces and states have in common? A low carbon fuel standard....
... Plaza’s facility, which could produce 100 million gallons of low-carbon biodiesel each year, has been the poster child for a push by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee to enact a low carbon fuel standard. That would mandate that cars and trucks use more biofuels. It would also prompt the development of other clean transportation options. ...
Imperium Renewables and other companies operating in the clean fuels space have a tricky relationship with the oil industry. Imperium relies on oil companies to buy its lower-carbon fuel, but oil companies only buy it because they are mandated to do so, while at the same time fighting those mandates up and down the West Coast.
The Western States Petroleum Association has funded front groups to attack low carbon fuel standards in California, Oregon and Washington, according to a presentation by the association in November. In Washington, the front group is known as “Washington Consumers for a Sound Fuel Policy.” In Oregon, it’s “Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy.” .....
....Proponents of the low carbon fuel standard in Washington say that failing to adopt the policy will cost the state money because Washington will be left behind in the clean energy economy as more companies, like Imperium, take their business - and their cleaner-burning product - elsewhere.
“We don’t want to be the only state that doesn’t get the cleaner fuels. We want the benefits here in Washington, too,” said Jessica Finn Coven, Washington director at Climate Solutions, a nonprofit in Seattle..... more here