San Francisco Green Party Opposes Biodiesel, Arguing It's Not Eco-Friendly

Will the remains of cows like this soon be powering your Land Rover?
A proposal to make large quantities of biodiesel fuel in San Francisco has sparked opposition from the city's Green Party. The Greens assert the fuel -- which is in vogue as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional fossil fuels -- actually harms the environment.

The Examiner reported this morning that a facility that renders bones and fat from slaughtered animals into oil is moving to upgrade its facilities to make biodiesel from animal parts, as well as from used cooking oil from local restaurants. The facility, owned by Darling International, is located in the city's Backlands industrial area.

While the proposal has the backing of officials at the Port of San Francisco, which runs the Backlands, the San Francisco Green Party is loudly opposing the project. The proposed expansion was also targeted by a lawsuit last year filed by the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates.

Eric Brooks, chairman of the Green Party's sustainability working group, told SF Weekly the idea that biodiesel is environmentally superior to traditional fuels is nonsense.

"Biofuel has got this good image, even with a lot of environmentalists," Brooks said. "And biofuel is not good."

Brooks said that while biofuels come from organic sources -- including corn, soybeans, and the odds and ends of animal carcasses -- burning them releases just as much atmosphere-warming carbon dioxide as petroleum-based fuel. He also noted that production of biodiesel spurs over-production of commodity crops, and that the Darling International proposal in San Francisco could support what he called "factory farms."

Said Brooks, "I'm a vegan, and animal-rights person. The first thing that caught my attention was, 'Wow, we're going to make fuel out of animals. That can't be good.'"

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