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Hurricane Katrina, biofuels and the year that was

It was a year ago today that Hurricane Katrina taught us we're a vulnerable nation. As we mark the anniversary, a lot of good timelines have popped up on the web to understand how things happened. Today on AutoblogGreen I wanted to show how the hurricane and biofuels mix in New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf Coast in general. This is not an exhaustive list (please add your own information in the comments), but instead a list to get a feel of how biofuels and green car enthusiasts are still going strong in the region and how they helped in the (ongoing) recovery efforts. One long-term effect Katrina had on biofuels was that everyday folks around the country took a more serious interest in biofuels as gasoline prices increased following the storm. More specific effects include:
  • August 29, 2005. Katrina hits New Orleans.
  • Sept. 2, 2005. Josh Tickell starts supplying groups and individuals in need with biodiesel. He secures a tanker of biodiesel from West Central Soy and uses his Veggie Van to deliver it to groups in areas like Baton Rogue.
  • Sept. 5, 2005. Luke Perry (yes, that Luke Perry) applauds VeggieVan's biodiesel-based relief efforts.
  • Sept. 8, 2005. Ethanol is touted as a the right fuel to help the stricken Gulf Coast.
  • Late September 2005. Former President Clinton says it's a good idea to use biodiesel in hurricane clean-up efforts, and applauds the work of the Veggie Van.
  • Sept. 28, 2005. The DOE recognizes the Veggie Van and other green energy relief efforts.
  • October, 2005. Rebuild Green, a community-based organization in New Orleans, starts efforts to rebuild the city as green as possible, including using renewable energy methods.
  • Nov. 2005. The USDA gives a $7.6 million grant to ease barge congestion on the Mississippi River caused by Hurricane Katrina. This money means grain barges can move easier (making ethanol production more stable) starting in December.
  • May 2006. The Shaw Group announces it will build two new biodiesel plants in Louisiana.
  • July 2006. Louisiana passes a law that requires two percent ethanol blend for all transportation fuel sold in the state.
[Source: VeggieVan, Sierra Club, Iowa State Daily, Ethanol Producer, DOE, Future Energies]

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