Biodiesel Access Now is an educational project of the Southern California Biodiesel Users Group. Through this program we hope that our members can educate themselves, our public officials and others on the importance of keeping access to biodiesel, specifically B99.9 and B100 open to consumers in California. The first necessary step is to level the playing field and allow the same variance for B99.9/B100 as is now provided for biodiesel blends up to B20.
In February 2008, the California State Water Resource Control Board, which regulates underground fuel tanks in the state, determined that biodiesel is a hazardous material when stored in underground fuel tanks in any blend ratio. After legislative wrangling, and protracted negotiations the Water Board has now allowed the underground storage of B5 and in limited cases the use of underground tanks to store B20. But, there was no provision or allowance for storage of B99 or B100 in underground tanks which effectively outlawed the type of tanks used by most every service station.
This ruling released this June 4th has resulted in a number of biodiesel facilities being shut down, including the ConservFuel stations and the Pacific Palisades station which was the first public B100 station in the Los Angeles region.
The 2008 State Water Board Ruling
The 2009 State Water Board Ruling on B20 Storage
The 2008 State Water Board Ruling Powerpoint
As an example of the misinformation being spread about biodiesel, this presentation by Robert Hodam, a staff member at the Water Board is baised on bad science, outdated technical data and junk information. The Hodam Presentation
If you want to influence change, you need to take the time to write some letters.
Below is a letter I am writing to my elected representatives and state officials. Cut and paste it as a template for your letter.
Include me as a bcc so I can get an idea of the number of letters being sent. firstname.lastname@example.org
Also just added are two other letter examples sent in by another concerned biodiesel user.
Also the Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, State Capitol Building, Room 1114, Sacramento, CA 95814
Write your other elected officials State Senator, Assembly member, Board of Supervisor, Mayor and City Council. Look up your representatives at
Vote Smart or California Legslator Information
Enter your zip code to get your state representatives email
Also write the State Assembly Speaker
Karen Bass email@example.com
State Senate Locator The California State Senate Locator On left sidebar click on Your Senator
The Senate Majority Leader, Senator Dean Florez is a friend of biodiesel, write him and express your desire to get B99 Back
The 2009 California State Roster is a comprehensive listing of governments within the state. Select the entire document (5.2mb) or the relevant section. The 2009 California State Roster
Also Write -
Secretary of the Department of Food and Agriculture A.G. Kawamura firstname.lastname@example.org
Attorney General Edmund G. Brown (Jerry) email@example.com
Secretary California Natural Resources Agency Mike Chrisman firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency Linda Adams LAdams@calepa.ca.gov
Chairman, California Energy Commission, James D. Boyd email@example.com
Director, California Department of Water Resources Lester A. Snow firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairwoman California Air Resources Board Mary D. Nichols email@example.com
And an email to Mike Scheible, Deputy Director, Air Resources Board firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear: Insert Name/Title Here
I am writing to state my great distress regarding recent rulings by the California State Water Board regarding the storage of Biodiesel in Underground Storage Tanks (UST).
I am an environmentally oriented California resident and for the past 9 years have been driving a vehicle powered by 100% biodiesel. I made the environmental choice in transportation to reduce my emissions, clean the environment and to eliminate my reliance on non-sustainable petroleum fuels.
The Water Board ruling to outlaw the storage of any blend of biodiesel over B20 has caused the local stations providing B99.9 to close. Not only have I lost my access to this clean burning fuel, thousands of other California drivers have also lost access to biodiesel. This includes individual users, school bus fleets, commercial operations and even municipal applications.
Although the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Biodiesel states that "this product contains no hazardous materials", the staff at the water board decided that they would declare any biodiesel stored in underground tanks to be a hazardous material, because it could be mixed with hazardous materials.
The irony of the process is that the water board has now allowed for the underground storage of a B-5 blend of 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel due to recent changes in the ASTM specifications for petroleum diesel. In addition they are just now issuing rules to allow a variance in limited situations for the storage of biodiesel blend B20 (20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel).
Yet the board chair is strongly resisting any allowance of purer blends of biodiesel, specifically blends containing less that 0.01% petroleum and even pure biodiesel. It makes no sense to allow the underground storage of blends containing up to 95% petroleum and to condemn the storage of pure or virtually pure non-hazardous biodiesel.
Additionally, the use of underground storage tanks for pure biodiesel by bulk fuel distributors is key for the wholesale distribution of biodiesel prior to blending as B5 and B20. Green jobs, alternative fuels and our advanced use of renewable fuels are at risk due to this negative ruling from the Water Board.
I am writing you, as my elected representative to request that you take action to level the playing field. Make provisions to allow for the storage B99.9 and B100 biodiesel in underground tanks with the same variance as B20. This action will allow thousands of California biodiesel consumers to access the fuel, which will help to clean California´s air, shrink our carbon footprint and reduce our dependence on non-sustainable fuel resources.
Name and Address
Another example letter -
June 30, 2009
Re: California State Water Board ruling regarding storage of biodiesel in underground storage tanks
Dear Ms. Adams
I drive a 1998 Mercedes Benz 300 diesel and power it with bio-diesel. I have been driving a biodiesel car for the past 5 years. Ever since the California State Water Board ruling regarding storage of biodiesel in underground storage tanks the service stations I had been accustomed to purchase my fuel at have stopped selling it and have reverted to selling petroleum diesel. I am not alone. As a member of the bio-diesel co-op, all our membership has been affected as have countless others that have relied on this environmentally friendly alternative fuel.
I am not a scientist. But from all that I have read about the “hazards” of bio-diesel, the Boards ruling appears to be misinformed. The Material Safety Data Sheet for biodiesel clearly states that this product contains no hazardous materials. But the water suggests it is because it can be mixed with hazardous materials. What can’t be mixed with hazardous materials?
The Board is allowing for B5 and B20 to be sold but not the pure biodiesel. Distributors and retailers rely on the underground storage of B99 for the purposes of both mixing and selling the more pure product. This ruling not only shuts down the opportunity for our citizenry to use a more environmentally friendly product, but it also curtails the opportunity to grow green jobs in our community.
Please help by making the necessary provisions allowing underground storage of the more pure B99 biodiesel. This will help our clear our air, allow for competitive use of our natural and sustainable resources, create jobs, and reduce our dependence on petroleum and funding the nations that don’t have our best interests at heart.
Even another sample letter -
I am a California resident. I drive a 1998 Mercedes Benz diesel engine car. My vehicle is usually powered by 100% biodiesel. My choice in transportation was to reduce my emissions, clean the environment and to eliminate my reliance on non-sustainable petroleum fuels.
I am distressed to learn of the recent ruling by the State Water Board regarding the storage of Biodiesel in underground storage tanks.
Local stations that have been carrying 99.9% biodiesel are no longer carrying it. Many drivers throughout the State of California have lost access to biodiesel. My local service stations no longer carry it. I continue to regard this alternative fuel as one of many interim solutions to solving our present day dependence on petroleum fuel that carries very costly environmental and political consequences.
The Material Safety Data Sheet for Biodiesel states that biodiesels carries no hazardous materials yet the staff at the water board decided that they would declare any biodiesel stored in underground tanks to be a hazardous material, because it could be mixed with hazardous materials.
The irony of the process is that the water board has now allowed for the Underground storage of a B-5 blend of 5% biodiesel and 95% petroleum diesel is now allowed. I understand that rules allowing for a 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel mix are also being developed. Why not the purer blends? Biodiesel, especially that made by large producers is non hazardous.
It makes no sense to allow the underground storage of blends containing up to 95% petroleum while condemning the storage of pure or virtually pure non-hazardous biodiesel. I would like to understand what science this was based on. Biodiesel and alternative fuels are being heralded at the highest level of government, yet here in California we have created an environment that retards rather than fosters the progressive growth of this viable alternative fuel.
Please make provisions allowing for the storage B99.9 and B100 biodiesel in underground tanks with the same variance as B20. This will allow thousands of Californians the opportunity to have a viable choice and we can work together to reduce emissions and clean our air.
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