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Gavin D.J. Harper descends upon the National Biodiesel conference and talks with the people at Pacific Biodiesel, 25x25, and Daryl Hannah.

(EcoGeek Intro plays)

Hank: In this, the very first edition of anything video to do with EcoGeek, we are bringing you exclusive coverage of famous people, like Daryl Hannah, who was once a mermaid, and Annie Nelson, who is married to the red-headed stranger, and we are bringing you footage of them talking about biodiesel.  In a rare and exclusive glimpse into the world of biodiesel conferences, our champion investigative team has penetrated the walls of the National Biodiesel Conference & Expo.  

Gavin David James Harper is our British correspondent who happened to be in Texas that month.  He interviews people from the 25x25 initiative, and then talks a bit with Daryl Hannah about her views on sustainability, biodiesel, and genetically modified foods, before moving on to talk to Kelly King and Annie Nelson about Pacific biodiesel and the future of American fuel.  Without further ado, Gavin Harper for

Gavin: Hello, I'm Gavin Harper from EcoGeek, and I'm here talking to Michael Bowman, who's going to tell us about the 25x25 initiative. 

Michael: 25x25 is an agricultural-led initiative in the United States calling for 25% of the total energy consumed in the United States to come from America's working land by the year 2025 while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and reliable food, feed, and fiber.  We have over 400 endorsements nationally for our initiative, we have 22 governors of the 50 governors of the United States who endorse us, and four state legislatures.  We also have current resolutions in the House and the Senate in Washington DC calling for 25x25 to be the renewable energy strategy of the United States.

Gavin: And what sort of innovative technologies do you believe can we deliver in this change by the year 2025?  

Michael: We probably don't know what we don't know.  We're seeing some very exciting technology coming from biodiesel from algae, transitioning from monoculture to polyculture as we watch grasses and perennial grasses not only begin to provide an enhanced wildlife habitat, but also then provide significant resources to transform themselves into cellulosic ethanols.  

Gavin: Thank you very much.  

Michael: Thank you.


Michael: Very nice meeting you.

Gavin: I'm Gavin Harper from EcoGeek, and I'm here today talking to Daryl Hannah about the future of biodiesel.  It's very early days for the biodiesel industry, what do you think is the future trajectory and what do you think that we need to watch out for at this stage?

Daryl: Well, we're at a serious crossroads right now.  It has, in the last four years, grown so crazily fast.  This convention itself used to just be a tiny little convention with a few hundred farmers sittin' in a motel and now, it's in a huge convention center and there are thousands of people jumping into the game, people are smelling money and that, you know, obviously gets things moving in a very treacherous direction, so we make it hold up to the promise that it has of being actually a renewable and sustainable fuel. We really have to watch how it develops. Very easily it could kill all the people, very easily it could you know, be more damaging to the environment by monocropping, by GMOs, by, uh, by (?~3:22) and slashing and burning, all those things, and it very well could destroy all of those dreams that biodiesel and presents and really all of us who are leading the charge have been championing for a while.

Gavin: And what do you think about genetically modified organisms in biodiesel?

Daryl: I'm really not a fan of genetically modified organisms in general, not in food or in biodiesel or anything.  Not necessarily genetically engineered to have pesticides in them so that you can spray less pesticides, it's so that you can spray more pesticides and they still won't die, I mean, it's just, it's crazy-thinking, you know, it's just not right.

Gavin: Do you think biodiesel should be done on the small scale or on the big scale, do you think that it should be community angled, corporate-run, what do you think is gonna deliver us into a sustainable future?

Daryl: The most sustainable model really is to, um, to do it on a global scale. Everything (?~4:16) and that includes food production,  that includes fuel production, that's really what sustainability comes down to (?~4:25).

Gavin: Daryl Hannah, thank you very much for

Daryl: Thank you, EcoGeek!

Kelly King: One of the great things about biodiesel for business is that we can actually write a contract for fuel.  You know, I can give one of our customers a 6-month or 12-month contract and the price of that fuel is gonna be the same the whole length of the contract, so they can then turn around and quote somebody else, you know, if you're a paving company or if you're some company that fuel is a large part of your cost and you give a quote to a city or a county or a private company that wants a driveway even, and then during the length of that contract, fuel goes up so high you lose money, because you can't change your quote.  So, you know, part of the beauty of biodiesel is that it does--it has a relatively fixed cost.  We're not relying on the whims of somebody in the Middle East who wakes up one morning and decides his mansion is not big enough, we're looking at the real costs of production, uh, you know, a fair profit above that, and then um, you know, this is what we're gonna sell fuel for.  We've done it in Hawaii, we've kept our price flat, you know, the first eight years before we raised our price.  But what we've done since then is raise our price once a year based on production costs going up and cost of living going up, and then, other than that, you know, we're looking at getting up your profit.  We're not following the petroleum curve, and that's the other area where this industry is starting to go, especially in Texas.  Everybody wants to buy biodiesel based on what the price of oil is in the Middle East, and that's not right.

Annie Nelson: No. 

Kelly: That's not why we--

Annie: No.  I mean, we don't wanna help some obscenely wealthy oil producer here or oil distributor here to, you know, continue to, to make obscene profits at the expense of others--of the common good just to expand his mansion.  He--and that is the point, actually, of keeping a community and creating a situation where monopolies can't exist.

Gavin: Thank you very much on behalf of

Hank: Fascinating stuff.  Thank you, Gavin, and thank you to all of our guests.  My favorite part, I think honestly, was the very end of Daryl's interview where she laughed at our name.  I don't wanna, you know, stretch too far here, but I'm pretty sure Daryl Hannah thinks we're cute.  I'm Hank Green of Technology for the Environment.