Diary

Save the earth... by idling your vehicles overnight

Promoted by Jeff.

The freshly bankrupt Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: Biodiesel fuel woes close Bloomington schools

All schools in the Bloomington School District will be closed today after state-required biodiesel fuel clogged in school buses Thursday morning and left dozens of students stranded in frigid weather, the district said late Thursday.

Rick Kaufman, the district’s spokesman, said elements in the biodiesel fuel that turn into a gel-like substance at temperatures below 10 degrees clogged about a dozen district buses Thursday morning. Some buses weren’t able to operate at all and others experienced problems while picking up students, he said.

Well, now shouldn’t anyone have considered that before Minnesota passed a huge increase to the state biodiesel mandate? If the school districts are going to have to cancel classes due to a 2-5% biodiesel mix, what is going to happen in 2015 when the mandate is 20% and their fuel turns to slush at 20-30 degrees above zero?

Well, nobody could have foreseen this problem, right? I guess there was this warning back when they first implemented a 2% mandate. But apparently it didn’t concern the state legislature or Governor Pawlenty enough to back off their 20% biodiesel mandate.

There is one way around this problem:

Bloomington staffers tried to get a waiver to bypass the state requirement and use pure diesel fuel, but they weren’t able to do so in enough time, Kaufman said.

Well, that’s quite the work around. So if the government’s own rules are causing problems for units of government, they just look for an exemption. It’s unacceptable that the school district can’t get their buses to run, but it’s just fine and dandy that citizens of the state of Minnesota can’t keep their trucks or other diesel powered equipment running? Where do the taxpayers go for their waiver?

Until the school district’s waiver comes through, at least they got a backup plan:

Kaufman said that some school districts keep their buses in temperature-controlled garages, and that the First Student bus service, which contracts with several metro-area school districts, keeps its buses in garages or idles them through the night.

It’s a small price to pay for saving the earth.