Michigan Renewable Fuels Commission holds first meeting

By | January 24, 2007
The Michigan Renewable Fuels Commission, formed as part of a comprehensive biofuels package signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in July, held its first meeting in Lansing, Mich., in late November 2006. The formative meeting was led by Mitch Irwin, director of the state Department of Agriculture and commission chair, and featured Suzanne Hunt, biofuels project manager for WorldWatch Institute, as a keynote speaker.

"I think it's pretty clear that Governor Granholm, as well as the citizens of Michigan, want us to put the pedal to the metal even though gas prices are up and down," Irwin said of renewable fuels production and promotion in the state. "We think the sky is the limit when it comes to replacing petrol in Michigan."

In addition to commission members, there were some special guests in attendance, including state representatives Jeff Mayes, Gayle Bits and Jeff Hanson. As part of the enacted legislation, the commission is required to issue a report to Michigan legislators in July stating what barriers exist and giving recommendations to overcome them in order to enhance and promote the use of renewable fuels in the state, Irwin said.

Based on an initial survey conducted by the commission, four categories need additional study and focus: feedstocks, production and fuel supply, distribution and infrastructure, and public education and marketing. Commissioners have been asked to sit on one of four subcommittees that will be dedicated to looking at these areas of interest, Irwin said.

At press time, the commission's second meeting was scheduled in conjunction with the National Auto Show in Detroit in early January. It was to focus on the commission's overall vision and include subcommittee breakout sessions. It would also feature a first-look tour of all the vehicles at the show.
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