Don’t delay biofuel bill, GGC warns

Any more delay on Ottawa’s bill to set up minimum biofuel content for Canadian fuels could cost some development in Canada’s biofuel production sector, the Grain Growers of Canada warned Wednesday.

Bill C-33, which the House of Commons passed in late May, would require all gasoline sold in Canada to contain five per cent ethanol by 2010, and all diesel and heating oil sold in Canada to contain two per cent renewable fuels by 2012.

“We see investment capital starting to build the infrastructure necessary for a Canadian biofuels industry and know that there is a lot more money waiting for the fuel mandates to be in place before committing,” GGC president Ross Ravelli said in a release Wendesday.

“Any delay would shake investor confidence and in turn, translate into lost opportunities for farmers and rural communities.”

C-33 is now the subject of hearings in the Senate, the GGC wrote, but the Commons is set to adjourn “in the coming days” and if C-33 isn’t brought into force this session, it would have to wait until late fall, “by which time new biofuel plants may either have delayed start-up or considered locating outside of Canada.”

“We are insisting that this bill and the mandates for both ethanol and biodiesel be passed before the Senate adjourns for the summer,” said Ravelli, who farms at Dawson Creek in B.C.’s Peace region.

“The Senate ag committee was just in the media today talking about the need to have jobs in rural areas, and here is a perfect opportunity,” said Ravelli, referring to the committee’s report Tuesday on rural poverty and the need for a new federal department of rural affairs.

“The current strength we see today in grain prices is due in part to the development of ethanol and biodiesel,” Ravelli said. “As farmers we want to earn our living from the marketplace, not from farm support programs and we know that biofuels can play an important role in our future profitability.”

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