Canola Conundrum

We’ve previously discussed that growing canola in Eastern Oregon is potentially a viable source of seed oil for biodiesel production.

But apparently it’s not a slam dunk as far as the Legislative E-board (the body that hands out funds between legislative sessions) is concerned (“A dust-up crops up over biofuel study”).

There are concerns that canola mono-culture could harbor destructive pests and that canola could cross-pollinate with other brassicas (cabbage, etc.) to the detriment of the other crops.

“This is dangerous,” said Sen. Kurt Schrader, D-Canby. “There’s no reason on God’s green earth to introduce a known weed and carrier of pests.”

But Rep. Susan Morgan, R-Myrtle Creek, countered that people are just as passionate on the other side about biodiesel and biofuels.

“This is information that would very much enrich the policy discussions the Legislature will have around biofuels,” she said.

Ultimately the E-board voted 10-7 to approve $235,000 for a pilot program.

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