Canada's House of Commons passes renewable fuel bill

By Hope Deutscher | May 09, 2008
Web exclusive posted May 29, 2008 at 4:56 p.m. CST

With support from both conservatives and liberals, Canada's House of Commons overwhelmingly passed Bill C-33 by a 173 to 64 margin May 28. The legislation, the first of its kind in Canada, will implement a national renewable fuels standard, requiring ethanol- and biodiesel-blended transportation fuels in Canada. The bill still needs to be approved by the Senate.

If enacted, Bill C-33 would require that gasoline have 5 percent ethanol content by 2010; and by 2012, it mandates that diesel fuel have a 2 percent renewable content.

"Today, the House of Commons voted to grow beyond oil," said Gordon Quaiattini, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. "Thanks to this vote, we will lower greenhouse gas emissions, provide new opportunities for Canadian farmers, and bring about competition at the pump. With oil and gas prices at record highs, the case for viable alternatives to petroleum has never been stronger."

Jeff Passmore, executive vice president of Iogen Corp., said the House's passage of the biofuels bill and the Renewable Fuel Standard in Canada is a critical development for next generation biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol. "This vote represents a vote for next generation biofuels," Passmore said.

Ross Ravelli, president of Grain Growers of Canada said the legislation will help ensure the development of a Canadian biofuels sector that will provide strong environmental benefits and create a valuable market. Brian Chorney, president of Canadian Canola Growers Association agreed. "The passage of this bill means new markets for Canadian canola growers, more value-added processing here at home, and it means new jobs created and the revitalization of rural communities right across Canada," Chorney said. "It also means choice and diversity for drivers, and new and cleaner sources of fuel supply in the diesel fuel pool."

"With world corn prices having been very low for decades, ethanol production in Canada allows us to stay away from high transport cost export markets and improve the return on our hardlaboured product," said Christian Overbeek, president of the Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Québec. "Using the starch from corn to make ethanol will help lower harmful GHG emissions and moderate the price at the pump for Quebec drivers, while the distillers grains coproduct from ethanol will help provide a valuable high-protein feed for Quebec livestock producers. We commend the federal MPs who support Quebec farmers and rural communities by voting for Bill C-33."

Canadian Soybean Council Chair Jim Gowland said the country's soybean industry welcomes the neutral feedstock approach taken to biodiesel in Bill C-33. "Soybeans are a diverse crop and Canadian soybean producers are adaptable to the needs of the market and this is another market for us to tap into," Gowland said.

Canada's largest biodiesel producer, BIOX Corp. called the vote in Parliament a big boost for biodiesel and other renewable fuels in Canada. "This is a huge win for Canadians today," said Tim Haig, president and CEO of BIOX, and chair of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. "With diesel prices at an all-time high, trucks, boats, buses, and all diesel drivers will finally have choice at the pump now, paving the way for even greener and less expensive renewable fuels in the near future."

Canada's leading ethanol producer, GreenField Ethanol applauded the passage of biofuels Bill C-33 in the House of Commons. GreenField's ethanol plants in Chatham and Tiverton, Ontario, and in Varennes, Quebec, produce a total of 97.7 MMgy (370 million liters). The company is in the final stages of construction of a 52.8 MMgy (200 million liters) plant in Johnstown, Ontario, that will create 50 permanent jobs and more than 200 construction jobs in Eastern Ontario. It will also provide farmers with a new market for 20 million surplus bushels of corn per year.

Bob Gallant, president and CEO of GreenField Ethanol said, Bill C-33, when passed by the Senate, will assure this market for ethanol in the future. "Right now, as a result of grain ethanol, we have a market in Canada, we have infrastructure, we have customers using our product, we have companies like GreenField that have earnings and investments and are pouring millions into research and development for next generation cellulosic ethanol," Gallant said. "The passage of Bill C-33 will help companies like ours provide Canadians with a much-needed alternative to expensive, polluting, ozone-depleting non-renewable oil."