Monday, March 28, 2005

Save Biodiesel in Berkeley

I have just emailed mayor Tom Bates and I urge you to do so as well. The City of Berkeley is considering abandoning its leadership in utilizing 100% biofuel for its fleet of diesel vehicles. Here is the call to action from Berkeley's Ecology Center:

The Ecology Center, Berkeley Biodiesel Collective, and BioFuel Oasis urge you to email and/or call the Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and tell him that the city should continue to run their vehicles on 100% biodiesel (B100).

The City of Berkeley has been running it's vehicles on 100% biodiesel (B100) for 1-2 years. They have recently switched to B20 (20% biodiesel, 80% diesel). There was an article in the Daily Planet that blamed it on the quality of fuel they were getting. On closer examination, we believe that it's not the quality of the fuel, but that the city hasn't always done the proper maintenance on their storage tanks and on their vehicles to run biodiesel. Plus, a key proponent of biodiesel in the Public Works Dept. retired, so there is not the support there to take the precautions and maintenance around running an alternative fuel (biodiesel is probably the easiest alternative fuel compared to CNG, electric, etc.).

The Ecology Center recycling trucks and the City of Berkeley vehicles have pioneered the use of 100% biodiesel (B100) and have won awards for it. The rest of the country looks to them for advice and the lead. We need to keep them on B100, the only petroleum-free, renewable vehicle fuel, so others will continue to follow.

Please email and/or call the mayor of Berkeley and your councilperson. Include your address if you live in Berkeley.

Mayor Tom Bates
(510) 981-7100

Thank you for your help!

Here's some points from the Ecology Center about how using biodiesel fuel benefits all of us:

o Using biodiesel in place of petroleum diesel helps prevent
asthma. Studies have shown that emissions from petroleum diesel are
among the leading contributors to asthma. Children living along
transit lines, such as the I-80 corridor, experience increased rates
of asthma and respiratory illness. The City's heavy trucks use main
arteries, such as Sacramento St, San Pablo Avenue, University, and
Gilman. The effects of exhaust have a disproportionate effect on
lower income neighborhoods where asthma rates are highest.

o A report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council
showed that a child riding inside of a diesel school bus may be
exposed to as much as 4 times the level of toxic diesel exhaust as
someone standing or riding beside it. Our kids deserve cleaner air.
Let's keep our buses running on clean burning biodiesel. (For the
full report, go to .)

o Recently, the City of Berkeley passed a resolution to endorse
the Kyoto protocol and to do its part to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Because it's made from renewable plant sources, biodiesel fuel
reduces greenhouse-causing gases like no other fuel. Let's continue
to be a model for other cities to follow.

o Biodiesel contains 80-90% fewer carcinogens than are found in
petroleum diesel, and virtually eliminates sulfur emissions that
contribute to acid rain.

o Domestic biodiesel reduces U.S. dependence on highly
polluting oil products, environmentally destructive oil drilling, and
wars and interventions involving the world oil market.

o In 2004, the EPA recognized the City of Berkeley for
Outstanding Environmental Achievement for its adoption of biodiesel.
It's important that Berkeley continue this award winning program.

BioFuel Oasis
A Worker-Owned Cooperative
2465 4th St
Berkeley, CA 94710
510 665 5509

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