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Archive for the ‘biofuels’ Category

minwind-bc.jpg 

Minnesota’s 1st CD Congressman Tim Walz(D) has been working hard in Washington D.C. on energy issues and recently issued a press release about the Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation Tax Act of 2008, H.R. 5351. Ollie Ox over at Bluestem Prairie covers it in detail here.

Minnesota Central looks at the tax and job creation implications in his post: Vote 51: Minnesota Jobs at stake while Congress chooses whose Tax Break to Extend.

Meanwhile, here in SW Minnesota local folks are working hard to prove that renewable and alternative energy is real and viable. Wind turbines are popping up and generating electricity and income due to a cooperative effort among local farmers and community members. Minwind LLC of Luverne, with over 300 members, has 11 turbines and plans to build more. Many of these people were instrumental in building the ethanol plant in Luverne owned by AgriEnergy LLC. The November/December 2007 issue of Rural Cooperatives published by the USDA highlights the Minwind project. New transmission lines are currently being constructed along I-90, creating good paying jobs.

 Here is a short (37 sec.) slide show

 

and since the title of this post is a Dylan tune here is a video of him performing in 1963. Enjoy!

 

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Living in corn country you have your ear (no pun intended) to news about ethanol.  It was the subject of my post, Beer or Biofuels, The Utimate Challenge. I recently ran across the following interesting commentary from It’s Getting Hot In Here:

Before We Get Drunk on Ethanol, Let’s Make Sure We Get It Right

Not all biofuels are created equal: in fact, depending on how they are produced, biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel can be environmentally destructive, raise the price of food, and even hurt efforts to tackle global warming.

Biofuels – ethanol and biodiesel – present a potentially important (partial) solution to concerns about global warming and our over-reliance on oil. However, to paraphrase a great LA Times op ed on the ethanol craze, alcohol is best enjoyed in moderation, and the same goes for these alcohol-based biofuels. Read the rest here.

Peace and solidarity,

CHC

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A disturbing story appeared today in the UK’s Independent.

Biofuels may be good for the environment, but they are bad news for German beer drinkers. Prices in the country’s pubs look set to rise by 40 per cent this year, because Germany’s farmers are growing less barley for beer production and more crops for biodiesel and bioethanol. read the rest here.

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Richard Weber, the head of the German brewers association had this to say, “The energy and food sectors are competing for the same raw materials and the same acreage.”

This story raises several questions and the first one is; Isn’t beer a food? 

Ethanol plants and biodiesel refineries are popping up all over Minnesota and the Midwest and everyone is going yea, rah, rah. Politicians are giddy and eager to pass legislation that promotes biofuels. You really can’t blame them because it helps the agricultural industry, creates jobs, and supposedly helps the environment. It is a win/win situation.

Or is it?

Corn prices are escalating which results in higher food prices. Crop farmers are now looking at land that is in conservation acres, hoping to convince the government to let them plow it up and plant more corn. Large national and multi-national corporations are eyeing up the local plants.

Are we creating many problems trying to solve one?

Maybe the beer drinkers will have to figure this one out.

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 You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. — Frank Zappa

Peace & solidarity,

CHC

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