EDITORIAL: State's alternative fuel program deserves support
As we wring our hands when paying for gasoline and home heating fuel, it's good to know Wisconsin is taking the lead in addressing alternatives. Gov. Jim Doyle recently gathered with representatives of industry, the University of Wisconsin and en...
As we wring our hands when paying for gasoline and home heating fuel, it's good to know Wisconsin is taking the lead in addressing alternatives.
Gov. Jim Doyle recently gathered with representatives of industry, the University of Wisconsin and environmental leaders to sign a "declaration of energy independence." While the move is symbolic and somewhat political, it appears state officials are very serious about developing alternative fuels.
Most refreshing, they are looking beyond the development of corn-based ethanol. Although corn is a viable component of biofuel, growing the crop promotes the usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
In Superior today, DNR Secretary Scott Hassett said the state strongly supports research into the development of ethanol from forest byproducts, available in abundance in northern Wisconsin, and switch grass, common in the state's south.
"As a state, we can be a leader in this," he said. "Government can be a leader, but it's good to see the private sector is also getting involved."
On the state front, he referred to expertise available through the UW system, plus a series of gubernatorial commitments to increase the use of renewable fuels during the next two decades. On the private side, Hassett pointed to Flambeau Papers' desire to create an ethanol biorefinery at its Park Falls mill.
"We've got the talent, and it's a great niche for Wisconsin to be in," he said.
So far, some state lawmakers have been less than enthusiastic about advancing such efforts. Hopefully, they'll take a new look and lend their support.