Newly-signed Legislation keeps Washington at forefront of aviation biofuels industry

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OLYMPIA – A measure signed by Governor Gregoire today helps to complete the supply chain for Washington’s aviation biofuels industry all the way from research to market. House Bill 2422, sponsored by Rep. Andy Billig(D – Spokane) will help foster job creation and continue the state’s leadership in the development and use of this promising renewable resource.

“We’re already leaders in sustainable aviation biofuel research, we have an abundance of feedstocks and we’re also home to the only U.S. airline actively using aviation biofuel,” Billig said. “Now we’ll also have the infrastructure to support an aviation biofuels refinery, instead of relying on out-of-state sources of fuel.”

Sen. Lisa Brown(D-Spokane) sponsored the Senate companion to HB 2422, and shares Rep. Billig’s vision of a not-too-distant future in which passengers will board Washington-manufactured airplanes powered by biofuels both grown and refined in Washington.

“Not only does today’s action by the governor help to cultivate a regional supply chain for aviation biofuels, but it’s also a step in the right direction towards job creation for our state and for Spokane,” Brown said. “By providing additional tools at the state level to facilitate permitting of biofuel refining and distribution infrastructure, this legislation sends a signal that the state will be a partner in helping this emerging industry establish a home here in the Pacific Northwest.”

The state has long been positioned to offer the best environment for a thriving aviation biofuels industry. It is already recognized for its innovative research at world-class institutions such as Washington State University and the University of Washington, as well as at private research and technology firms. Washington’s agricultural industry produces multiple and viable crops for potential aviation biofuel use, and there is ample aircraft fuel demand from the state’s commercial airports and military bases. However, bringing in refined biofuels from out-of-state created a gap in the supply chain that put a damper on in-state growth of the industry. Now that gap is being filled.

“We applaud the leadership exhibited by Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and Representative Andy Billig in sponsoring and securing the passage of this bill,” said Lawrence J. Krauter, CEO of Spokane International Airport. “There are few issues that have such tremendous and far-reaching economic, political, societal, and environmental benefits for our state and nation, and to commercial and military aviation in particular, than the creation of production-scale aviation biofuels.”

HB 2422 also directs Innovate Washington to convene a workgroup of aviation biofuel stakeholders twice a year to keep open lines of communication and work through potential challenges in this emerging industry.

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