Defunding Biodiesel, Ethanol Center Draws Rep’s Ire

SONY DSCThe North Carolina legislature’s lack of approving funds for a center that promotes the development of biodiesel and ethanol in the state draws the ire of one of its own members. In an opinion piece for the Herald Sun of Durham, N.C., State Representative G.K. Butterfield says the Biofuels Center of North Carolina in Oxford will soon close for good without the funding, and he says that is short-sighted for a job incubator that has created more than 21,000 clean energy jobs in the state.

[T]he misguided leadership in the General Assembly has voted against job creation by defunding the Biofuels Center in the state’s FY2014 budget… We simply cannot afford to reject job creation and the building of new industries in our state by standing idly by and allowing the General Assembly to shut the door on expanding employment opportunities and innovation…

With the help of the Biofuels Center, our state has become a leader in renewable fuel production. The Biofuels Center has invested $10.1 million in 71 projects throughout North Carolina dedicated to working with farmers to develop new biofuel crops and working with companies to build new manufacturing capacity to produce those fuels, especially in rural communities like many of those I represent in eastern North Carolina. Our state has five major biodiesel producers and leads the nation in biodiesel stations. When superstorm Sandy hit in 2012, Triangle Biofuels in Wilson provided significant amounts of biodiesel to the Northeast to respond to critical fuel shortages.

Butterfield points out that the Biofuels Center has been operating on a $4 million annual budget, less than two one hundredths of a percent of the entire state budget, while leveraging hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment and creating hundreds of jobs in new energy markets. He concludes that “North Carolinians deserve better.”

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