SPARKS FORMS CENTER FOR ALTERNATIVE FUELS
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks announced the formation of the Center for Alternative Fuels Thursday.
The Center will initially consist of department employees, and will focus on the creation and development of opportunities for the production, usage, and promotion of alternative fuels in Alabama.
"We are facing some serious challenges in this country regarding energy consumption, and it seems to me that the only viable alternative is changing the way we make and use our fuel," said Sparks.
"As citizens, the most patriotic action we can take is to develop and use alternative sources of fuel to lessen our dependence on foreign oil," he said. "Agriculture must be a big part of the solution. In fact, this could be the biggest revolution for agriculture in this country since farms were mechanized."
The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has the responsibility of inspecting gas and diesel pumps to insure that consumers get what they are paying for -- both in quality and quantity.
Commissioner Sparks has also been an integral part of promoting the use of alternative fuels. Sparks hosted his first seminar on bio-energy just after taking office nearly four years ago and has continued to push for the development of alternative fuels programs since then. The department is a strong supporter of the establishment of the Alabama Biodiesel Corporation's facility in Moundville.
"Hardly a week goes by that we don't get calls to provide guidance to interested parties on how to build biodiesel or ethanol plants, or where to purchase alternative fuels," said Sparks. "They want to know about licenses, permits, and various rules and regulations. I get requests from various sectors of agriculture wanting to know what crops should be planted for use in bio-fuel production.
"The Center will be a kind of one-stop-shop for information on what it takes to get into the business, where consumers can find it, and how Alabama farmers can support it with crops. In addition, the Center will serve as an economic development resource for recruiting producers of alternative fuel."